2019 40 Under 40: Lauren Cochran Scoville

Sept. 13, 2019
Lauren Cochran Scoville, Director of Southwest Sales, Proterra
  • One word to describe yourself: Fearless
  • Alma Mater: University of Texas at San Antonio and University of Southern California
  • Favorite book: “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
  • Favorite TV show: “Friends” & “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Favorite movie: “Top Gun”
  • Favorite hobby(s): Running, triathlon, cooking, camping
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): Paddington Station, London – I love the hustle and bustle of the station and the accents!
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): The gondola in Telluride. It is a fare free transit system with frequent service and beautiful views.

Lauren Cochran Scoville has been working in public transportation for more than a decade and has had a career centered on transit innovation across roles at mass transit agencies, strategic research agencies and technology manufacturing companies such as her current employer, Proterra. 

Cochran Scoville points to her work at Foothill Transit to deploy the world’s first full-size, battery electric bus into commercial operation as one of her crowning achievements thus far. She worked with diverse stakeholders across agency and industry and her leadership and stewardship was key in the establishment of the battery-electric vehicle category in North American mass transit.

She built on her experience with mass transit and electric vehicles when she returned to her home state of Texas in 2013 to work as a researcher with the Texas Transportation Institute. As part of the Transit Mobility research team, she partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation to launch the first automated and connected vehicle proving ground transportation for public transit, located at Texas A&M university.

Cochran Scoville was recruited by Houston METRO in 2015 to serve as director where she was responsible for the agency’s contracted operations and then moved into the director of innovation role where she opened the Office of Innovation.

Helping transit agencies embrace innovation has been a running theme in her career and her passion for innovation is grounded in her values to make transportation as environmentally and economically efficient as possible because she believes it provides an invaluable service to local communities. Technology can also improve accessibility in transit. In 2015, Cochran Scoville led research for USDOT to identify new technologies to help people with disabilities navigate public transit systems. And at Houston METRO, she managed paratransit contractors and piloted a Bluetooth smart phone app that alerted blind passengers about bus stop locations. Cochran Scoville’s passion for accessibility also extends beyond transit. She is a volunteer with CATAPULT, a Houston-based nonprofit that aims to catapult physically challenged individuals over adversity and into the world of endurance sports. With CATAPULT, she serves as a guide to visually impaired and adaptive runners.

At Proterra, Cochran Scoville’s passion for innovation has continued to flourish. She is co-leading the company strategy on automation applications for customer EV fleets. The company explains that her strength is her customer engagement and she uses customer feedback to help the Proterra team identify that best automation features based on customer interest and needs.  

Beyond her job responsibilities, Cochran Scoville is an active member in the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which includes participation on the APTA Sustainability Committee since 2010 and the APTA Clean Propulsion Committee. She was also recently appointed as secretary for the newly formed APTA Connected and Automated Vehicle Committee. Cochran Scoville was selected to join the APTA Leadership Class of 2019, a program to identify, develop and support experienced managers and leaders aspiring to hold executive and senior leadership positions in APTA, their organizations and the public transportation industry. She has also served as the board chair for the Young Professional in Transportation, Houston Chapter.

“[I enjoy] the sense of fulfilment that comes from working towards total zero emission transit, a goal so much bigger than my career and critical to the future of the planet that I love.”