2020 40 Under 40: Robert Gil

Aug. 18, 2020
Robert Gil, General Manager, RATP Dev USA
  • One word to describe yourself: Committed
  • Alma Mater: University of Phoenix
  • Favorite hobby(s): Cooking and traveling             
  • Fun fact about yourself: I was once student of the year for my dedication in volunteering at a school district and for mentoring students.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): My favorite station is Grand Central Station. I had always seen this station in movies and when I finally had my chance at visiting this majestic landmark it was remarkable. During my visit to the station, I was fortunate to hear the “hustle and bustle” of NYC’s vibrant culture whistling through its corridors. As impressive as it is, Grand Central Station has motivated my ambitions to carry the torch of American creativity and prosperity.

Robert Gil is credited with revitalizing Tyler Transit to become a model department in the local city arena. His approach to offering comprehensive services has led to a completely new service delivery model, which has enhanced mobility for the citizens of Tyler and the surrounding area.

Some of his accomplishments include mass cost savings for the City of Tyler General Fund; deploying fleet health upgrade programs; increasing pay for all employees through efficiencies; developing an enhanced training program with training aids and equipment; and developing a safety program. He is also credited with the development of a new advertising program and initiated an internship program to involve more young minds in the future of public transit.

Gil is described as having extensive experience in financial management, overseeing regulatory compliance at his agency and establishing a long-range vision for the organization. Gil, who was named to his current position two years ago, has been a leader in actively seeking creative ways to bring service to his community, while protecting his staff during the pandemic, and has worked closely with rural and small urban agencies providing support and assistance.

Outside of his day-to-day responsibilities, Gil has served as a board member for the Texas Transit Association and sits on its Legislative Committee, is vice chair for EasTex Connects (Regional Transit Committee), a member of the Tyler Chamber of Commerce Aviation and Surface Transportation Committees,  a member of the local non-profit ETHNN Transportation Council and is a member of the East Texas Veterans Community Council.

Gil was nominated by several colleagues and friends with one writing, “His leadership in our field is unprecedented in areas of legislative activities, rolling stock and capital procurement, training and education, as well as a great source for peer shadowing. He is always ready to face challenges and strives to find solutions that encompasses all modes of transit leaders and stakeholders.”

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

Yes, I experienced closely working with a private transportation firm’s business development division, which instituted a keen interest in providing transportation services to moving people.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I mostly enjoy working with people and providing access to their everyday needs through dedicated operators and staff. I believe it is important to provide comprehensible and intelligent solutions to today’s wide-scoped transportation challenges.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is to ensure a deep sense of consistency in service delivery to internal and external customers. In today’s transit industry management is tasked with various goals and projects to ensure that service distribution is equal, consistent, prompt, and efficient thus keeping a steady momentum within our work culture is both challenging and rewarding.

Accomplishment you are most proud of and why?

Noting accomplishments that I am most proud of is a very heavy task as I have had the pleasure of working with various talented and able individuals who are ultimately and equally responsible for such a multitude of successes.

To name the top two accomplishments in my career, I would highlight a $300,000 operating budget cost savings in one year due to staff and operator sense of urgency to include effectiveness. Our board of directors was so gracious to invest such operating budget cost savings back into staff and operators to enhance competitive wages and benefits.

Additionally, the second top accomplishment would be my involvement in a comprehensive operational analysis for fixed route delivery of service. Working with the public, staff, agencies, and organizations alike was very beneficial to enhancing service delivery to the community thus providing more access to individuals who needed transportation services for education, work, and other quality of life services. 

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

Fundamentally, ensuring that you take humble approaches to every interaction with people is important and coincides with listening to gain an understanding and create a sincere and sensible approach to resolve challenges.

Secondly, ensure there is a process that is well established to approach tasks at hand with goals for completion, if there are no objectives you cannot make it to the finish line!

Third, be nice, and enjoy life! Ensuring a solid and well-adjusted work life balance is a key to success! 

Why do you like being a part of the public transit industry?

At an early age, I learned that respecting others and to be of service to those in need is important as life is a precious gift. I believe providing public service is one of my strengths and being part of the public transportation industry allows me to continue serving and aiding to minimize challenges in creating enhanced levels of access to communities in today’s culture and rapid growth.  

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May 22, 2018