Gregg M. Schildberger

Sept. 18, 2012
MATBUS for the city of Fargo Transit Planner Gregg M. Schildberger.

As a transit planner in a small urban system, Gregg Schildberger's duties are extremely broad, ranging from college liaison to technology specialist, from marketing manager to detour creator.

During Schildberger's tenure, system ridership has increased by 73 percent. He administered a complete marketing rebranding, including the design of a new logo and bus stop sign, adoption of a unified name, implementation of marketing guidelines and consistent branding.

Schildberger creates the annual marketing plans and has forged substantial trade agreements with local television, radio and professional sports teams to place MATBUS marketing front-and-center. In 2011, two of the campaigns he had a part in creating won first place national advertising awards from the American Public Transportation Association.

He has overseen the implementation of the automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, many passenger display kiosks and electronic fareboxes, in addition to serving on the conversion teams for paratransit software and automatic vehicle annunciation (AVA) integrations. He also launched MATBUS social media pages years ago (the first agency in the region to do so).

Serving as the liaison to the city's major university, Schildberger has developed strong ties with administrators, faculty members and student leaders and as a result of all efforts, university ridership has increased by 103 percent during his tenure.

Schildberger has developed a training program/partnership with the local hospital to encourage its employees to use transit and alleviate parking shortages. Membership in the program has increased 400 percent since its inception just a few years ago. He also has developed and administered programs to promote public transportation for low income and/or homeless individuals. He is very dedicated to his community and volunteers at several local civic events.

MATBUS hosted its first national APTA conference in June and, in addition to planning the local events surrounding it, Schildberger was successful at raising $20,000 in private donations to defray all costs for the organization. He also drew upon his many local and regional partnerships to bring experts from various disciplines to speak at the conference.

As a "people person" and a tireless ambassador for the organization, Schildberger develops relationships with businesses and non-profit organizations everywhere he goes, conducting dozens of presentations each year. Gregg loves training the area's youth how to ride the bus. He consistently collaborates with transit agencies in the area, in addition to those colleagues he meets at transit conferences.

Every Day an Adventure

"I sincerely enjoy working with the public and ascertaining ways to better serve our citizens' transportation needs. Every single day in transit is an adventure; I can come into the office in the morning planning to work on a certain project, when something completely different arises and requires my immediate attention; there is never a dull day and I love that.

"I love the variety of the work, the wide array of people you meet along the journey, networking with fellow transit professionals across the nation to share ideas and the fact that our industry genuinely fosters collaboration between its members."

Working with Youth

"I also love working with area youth to promote transit ridership and letting them know just how easy riding MATBUS can be. My time spent as the transit liaison to North Dakota State University, a Division I, land-grant, research institution of almost 15,000, is extremely rewarding and refreshing. Meeting new students and introducing them to a culture of transit, as soon as they step foot onto campus during summer orientations, is so invigorating."

"I would like to see the public transit industry more fully invest in outreach programs and mentoring opportunities to our nation's youth in hopes of encouraging their entry into the public transportation profession. As current transit executives approach the age of retirement, there will be a substantial number of open positions needing to be filled. Our industry — and our individual agencies — will need the innovative, synergetic and technology-fluent young professionals to take us to the next level."

Funding Transit

"Transportation is a vital aspect to every person and public transit is helping to get the job done in the United States. However, public transit continues to be underfunded even though it has been found to have a tremendous return on investment for job creation. The truth is in the numbers and, in a recently published report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, it is shown that investing $1,000,000 in mass transit creates at least 22 jobs (far outpacing the other industries evaluated)."

"In the future, it is my sincere hope that the value of transit will become even more evident to our nation's political leaders: and that realization translates into more substantial and sustained funding as we set out to build the transportation grid of the future in the United States."

Outside the Office

"In the summer, I serve as the manager of Fan Service Representatives for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks minor league baseball team. The atmosphere is amazing. It's a completely different environment than an office setting, it helps get me out of the office on time for a few days a week, and who doesn't love outdoor baseball?

"I serve as a freelance multimedia consultant in my spare time as well, while also serving as a mentor to area youth."