2020 40 Under 40: Amy Jenks

Aug. 18, 2020
Amy Jenks, Regional Vice President – North America, West, Scheidt & Bachmann USA
  • One word to describe yourself: Intuitive
  • Alma Mater: Loyola University, Chicago
  • Favorite hobby(s): Being outdoors, traveling and finding my perfect golf swing.  And a great dinner with friends.
  • Fun fact about yourself: Even with a client-facing, team-leading role, I am naturally a very quiet and shy person.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): Oxford Circus in London during the Winter holiday season – stand there long enough, you can see the world go by.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): The 147 bus in Chicago – there is nothing more beautiful than the trip up Lake Shore Drive in the Spring or the Fall. 

Amy Jenks’ professional career spans 14 years, three major industrial sectors and has taken her from her hometown of Chicago, Ill., to Phoenix, Ariz. Through it all, she is described as dedicated, engaged, an innovator and a fierce competitor. In the transit industry, she found her niche.

“I love being at the forefront of changing and shaping the future of transit and serving the many incredible cities that rely on us,” said Jenks.

Her transit career started five years ago when she joined Scheidt & Bachmann as a regional account manager and has moved up as the Western Region vice president of North America. She leads all key departments throughout the region including account management/sales, project operations and service, and works to keep client solutions relevant and innovative.

She is the founder of the Scheidt & Bachmann Western Region Innovation & Testing Center of Excellence, which opened in 2019 and is based in Phoenix. The center is designed to respond to the needs of Western Region customers and provide them with technical knowledge.

Another addition credited to Jenks in 2019 is Scheidt & Bachmann’s annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) open house where the DBE community looking to be part of public transit projects for fare collection system improvements is engaged. The DBE open house provides the start of a dialogue between the company, local and regional businesses and transit-related vendors to understand the future work environment and future work opportunities.

Colleagues also describe Jenks as someone involved with her community and the industry outside of normal work responsibilities. Jenks serves as a board member for Arizona Friends of Transit, and is an active member of WTS International and its local Phoenix affiliate, the APTA Fare Collection Systems Committee and the Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions.

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

There are so many experiences I have had throughout my career which have led me to where I am today – and I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time.  My entire career has either directly or indirectly revolved around public transportation – either as a rider, a supplier or provider. That being said, I will always be grateful to my mentors, family, friends and partners who hired me, supported me, promoted me and believed in me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being at the forefront of changing and shaping the future of transit and serving the many incredible cities that rely on us, including the city of Phoenix where I live today. But the most enjoyable part has been learning the rich history of transit, applying the lessons learned and implementing the innovations from how a consumer lives in a “non-transit retail experience” into how our partners and clients do business.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Besides the time-zone challenges that come with working for a global organization – I really miss seeing my partners and clients due to the current circumstances. I can’t wait to see them all again!

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

One of my greatest accomplishments so far has been making the transition from sales and account management to a much broader leadership role in transit, giving me the privilege of leading and growing a region of cross-functional departments alongside my incredible colleagues at Scheidt & Bachmann. . However, I am not done yet.  Growing up in an urban Chicago neighborhood and learning from both my peers and my environment has really shaped who I am, and I learned at an early age the value of collaboration to address complex challenges. Transit is a basic necessity to so many and providing solutions that address real community challenges - whether it be ‘first- or last-mile obstacles’ or everything in between – is something I never lose sight of.

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

Whether it is in how I work with my team or finding solutions that address challenges of getting to the bus or train, I do all I can to bring out the best in myself and those around me and ensure we have looked at all options – but always come to a decision that we collectively agree with and support.

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

We collectively provide an underlying service that provides for and protects the public.  With what I do and with what the other selected candidates do is shared – we get people to where they are needed most.  Our common goal is to provide these solutions with the best value and most localized impact as possible.  Not many industries share that collective goal.  Being part of that brings me a deep sense of pride, knowing that we – for a small moment – are supporting the greater good.