Top 40 Under 40 2013: Nicholas Perfili

Nick Perfili has worked in the transportation industry since working with the Michigan Department of Transportation in 2002. He joined the Fairfax County Department of Transportation in 2007. While at FCDOT, Perfili has served in various positions, from customer service manager as part of Fairfax Connector bus operations team and led transportation planning efforts for base realignment and closure (BRAC) actions in the county. In 2011 Perfili was promoted to a position in FCDOT’s Special Projects Division representing the department on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (DCMP) or Silver Line, a 23-mile, $5.9 billion extension of the Washington, D.C., Metrorail system.

Some of Perfili’s most noteworthy accomplishments include starting coordination efforts among local transit service providers serving future Silver Line stations, leading the effort to name Fairfax County’s Silver Line Metrorail stations and developing a comprehensive communication and public involvement program to seek community input on the Silver Line’s second phase, which included input from and coordination with staff from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), local elected officials, other Fairfax County staff, the public, and other project stakeholders.

Perfili was also one of the founding publishers of Fairfax Connector’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and was able to provide Fairfax County with its first case study in operational usage of social media during a declared snow emergency. He also regularly participates as a subject matter expert in Ask Fairfax! online chats regarding the Silver Line.

Other transit-related tasks include the design and implementation of new BRAC bus service as part of the Fairfax Connector planning team and serving as the FCDOT lead for Metro’s analysis of transit service impacts of the 2005 BRAC recommendations in the National Capital Region. In addition, Perfili was active in the field engaging the community and Fairfax County’s transit users while serving as Fairfax Connector’s customer service manager. As part of the operations and planning teams, his duties ranged from discussing patron concerns and interacting with bus operators and road supervisors, to responding to elected officials’ transit service inquiries. Perfili’s support to the Fairfax Connector operations includes 278 buses serving 72 routes and more than 10 million passengers per year was exemplary and set a new standard in the county for customer service.

Outside of the office, Perfili is a member of the Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT), a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation promoting professional development, networking and fellowship to those working or interested in the transportation profession. With YPT, he served as chair of the board of directors during the 2011-2012 board term and held finance and communications positions on the YPT board prior to serving as chair.

“I am fortunate in that many days on the job feel like I am going to my hobby vs. going to work. I have worked in positions in highway and transit policy, planning and operations and have been interested in transportation since I was a child.

“Interacting with the public and project stakeholders is probably the aspect of my job I enjoy most. In 2012 we sought to inform the public about phase 2 of the Silver Line, which at the time was not an official project. Being able to work with the public and provide information on a project of this magnitude is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Another aspect of transit I enjoy from the bus side is working with those on the front line — the bus operators and road supervisors who have their eyes on the operation on a daily basis. I found that many front line staff are more than willing to provide input and ideas to improve service.

“Moving from Michigan to the Washington area allowed me to experience transit on an almost daily basis. While I have always been interested in transit, using Metro and the Fairfax Connector bus systems to commute between work and home exposed me to operations and the user experience at a much closer level.

“A former FCDOT colleague of mine, now retired, encouraged me to become involved in transit at the customer service level. From there I was able to experience a range of transit-related activities including route planning and bus operations as my experience grew.

“I enjoy the operational aspect of the industry most. While working as a Silver Line project planner has provided me with invaluable experience, I still sometimes miss the day-to-day action that is bus operations and working with a team to ensure a safe and continuous operation of the Fairfax Connector system. In the future I hope to once again be able to blend my planning and operations experience in the field.”