Lora A. Mallory

Sept. 18, 2012
First Transit Inc. Director of Operations, North West Region Lora A. Mallory.

Lora Mallory has been a valuable part of providing safe and reliable transit service since 1997 when she began her transit career with Ryder/ATE as a customer service liaison. Her skills at solving problems and seeing a tough job effectively and efficiently through to the end have been evident throughout her career. Because of her talent, Mallory was promoted to operations specialist. In this capacity, she went to locations throughout the Midwest providing operational assistance and transforming herself into a system turnaround expert.

In less than three years, Mallory became the general manager for the Dumbarton Express, the provider of commuter service for the southernmost highway bridge crossing the San Francisco Bay. Mallory transformed this system by focusing on safety and customer service, bringing a "customer first" approach that improved the overall safety, increased ridership and enhanced the client satisfaction.

In 2002, Mallory became the general manager of Kern Regional Transit, in Kern County, Calif. She managed the system in the third largest county in the contiguous United States, which is an accomplishment in itself. During her five years there, Mallory oversaw a 33 percent increase in fleet size and a 59 percent increase in ridership while managing three different locations in the county.

Mallory took on the responsibility of running an audit team for First Transit in 2007, as director of Quality Standards and Review. In this capacity, she traveled throughout the United States evaluating First Transit operations to ensure compliance with federal, company and local standards. She was instrumental in updating the locations to the First Transit best practices.

The quality work that Mallory did managing a national compliance team led to the opportunity she currently holds as director of operations for the Northwest Region. In this role Mallory mentors managers and runs new business opportunities for the region. When a new contract is won, Mallory is responsible for setting up the location and ensuring compliance with First Transit standards. Our successes in transitioning contracts with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno, Nev.), Santa Maria Area Transit, Redwood Coast Transit (Crescent City, Calif.) Kern Regional Transit and TriMet LIFT (Portland, Ore., ADA paratransit) point to Lora as the fulcrum of the start to quality ongoing service. Throughout the term of the contract, Mallory continually monitors the contract and personnel to maintain the continued adherence to best practices.

Every Day is Different

"A truism of transit is that every day is different. I thrive on the variety and excitement of knowing that I will be working new solutions whenever I begin a day. I absolutely love the operation's side of the industry. Being the director of operations for First Transit allows me to travel to many of our locations. I think it is important to get out and talk to the people that get the buses on the road every day. Being able to visit the operations, talk to the people and help them with what they need is the best part of my job. The people keep the job both interesting and fun.

"When I began in Bakersfield for Kern Regional Transit, I knew it would be a big challenge because of the service mix and service area. I managed a system that has local fixed route, dial-a-ride and express service. We operated from three different locations and I needed to know how to manage staff who were miles away from my office. Although this was not my first management job, it had the greatest variety and I was able to learn a broad range of transit service in one setting. Without that challenge and growth in what I already knew, I would not be able to help our folks at the locations as well as I can today."

Working Together Helping People

"I like the public transit industry because I enjoy that we are helping people to get where they need to be, whether they ride out of choice or necessity. The ever changing environment of the industry provides a career platform that is both dynamic and motivating.

"I think that it is important for the private sector and the public sector to recognize that our strength is in working together to create a cohesive mass transit system that is respected by all stakeholders — including the portion of the general public who seldom ride public transit. The stronger our relationship, the better we will be at convincing policy makers that mass transit deserves the highest level of support and respect."