2020 40 Under 40: Meg Merritt

Aug. 18, 2020
Meg Merritt, Principal, Nelson\Nygaard
  • One word to describe yourself: Dedicated
  • Alma Mater: University of Texas (undergrad) and University of Pennsylvania (grad)
  • Favorite hobby: No parking on the dance floor
  • Fun fact about yourself: I rode my bike from Austin to Anchorage in 2004 to raise money for cancer research.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent: London’s St. Pancreas is the ultimate multimodal hub.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent: Capital Metro’s 801 MetroRapid bus because it connects me to all the people I love.

Meg Merritt, principal, Nelson\Nygaard, began her career in transportation as a transit-oriented development (TOD) planner and then spent time as a management consultant for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. She also worked for moovel as director of mobility planning.

Merritt co-founded Nelson\Nygaard’s Emerging Mobility practice but focuses most of her client work on Texas transportation efforts such as Capital Metro’s Project Connect and Dallas high-speed rail station area planning. She is most passionate about implementing dedicated transit lanes in urban areas as a means of leveling the mobility playing field.

Merritt is noted for her ability to find common ground among people. She is politically savvy and her work is frictionless. She has the ability to communicate and connect with highly technical staff, as well as an executive audience, which speaks to her communication skills, energy and polish. She has integrity, intelligence and the breadth of experience to be able to walk into a room with developers and immediately command their attention.

Merritt is innovative and able to collaborate, and creatively brainstorm, both individually and in a group setting. Communicating and presenting to diverse audiences and cultivating relationships through diplomacy at regional, state and national levels is just one of her many strengths as a young professional.

“I am most proud of being a working mom in transit. When I lose steam on a project, remembering that our efforts go beyond our careers – they benefit future generations— can keep me going. Being a working parent has also afforded me a deep conviction of why we must improve travel times for transit. For single parents working two or more jobs, shaving minutes off commute times add up to more hours spent with families.”

“The purpose of meetings is to make decisions. Sometimes this means being the person in the room who speaks up. Life is too short and transit is too underfunded to have unproductive meetings.”