The goal of enhancing service while reducing costs was the central theme at the annual spring conference of the New York State public transit industry, held June 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo, N.Y. The three-day meeting was a gathering of public transportation service providers, private sector manufacturers, state agency officials, and consultants from throughout New York.
Carm Basile, president of the New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA), noted that this year's program focused on the "better, smarter ways industry leaders are working together" to operate most cost effectively, while continuing to meet the needs of their communities. Entitled "Collaborative, Collective, Cost-Cutting," the program featured sessions on best practices, how to improve efficiency, developing partnerships and the innovative use of technology.
A highlight of the conference was the early induction of William W. Millar into the New York Public Transit Industry Hall of Fame. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), where he's served in numerous roles since 1996, was recognized for his distinguished career and the role he has played in dramatically increasing federal investment in public transportation and its infrastructure.
Although the award is traditionally presented during the association's fall conference program in November, NYPTA leaders decided on an early induction to call special attention to Millar's accomplishments and contributions to public transportation. Millar has served the nation's transit industry for over 40 years, including 19 years at the Port Authority of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pa.), where he served as executive director for the last 13 years, and four years with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. During his tenure with the DOT (1973-1977), Millar developed and managed the state's Free Transit Program for Senior Citizens and led the Penn DOT's rural public and community transit efforts.
Speaking of Millar's distinguished career, Basile said: "As an international figure in public transportation, Bill Millar's reach and impact has been great. He has fought long, oftentimes hard, battles in support of public transportation; and have represented and championed our cause. We admire Bill as a leader and one of the very best of our profession."
"It was a great honor to be inducted into the New York Public Transit Industry Hall of Fame," said Millar. "Public transportation has come a long way since I started my career 40 years ago. Remaining constant, though, are the dedicated, competent people in the industry whom I have had the privilege of working with. My achievements would not have been possible if not for the many people in this industry who are always working to advance public transportation."
The other featured speaker at the conference was Kimberly Minkel, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. In addition to her extensive background in compliance management, Kim has over twenty years of experience with environmental and safety regulations.