2021 40 Under 40: Berkay Tascioglu

Nov. 23, 2021
Berkay Tascioglu, Manager, Project Control, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro)
  • One word to describe yourself: Inquisitive
  • Alma Mater: METU/Michigan State University
  • Fun fact about yourself: I am a PADI certified open water scuba diver. I also have a YouTube channel where I share my hiking/travel experiences and give study tips to students who are interested in applying for MS/MBA programs in the USA.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent: My favorite station is Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. It is the major transit hub envisioned in a period where the connectivity was not even a known concept.

At L.A. Metro, Berkay Tascioglu serves as a project control manager, assisting executive officers with the medium- to long-term forecasting of capital projects and preparation of fiscal year reports by performing periodical financial and variance analysis. He strategizes the planning and fund application process for the timely approval of federal and state grants.

Moreover, he supports L.A. Metro’s digital transformation of internal and external reporting framework through processes analysis and customized solutions in budgeting, forecasting and management reporting, reducing review and approval period by more than 50 percent. He advises on capital projects in L.A. Metro’s Regional Rail and Sustainability Departments for the funding and financing of the new programs with alternative delivery methods such as CM/GC and Design Build. He also supports L.A. Metro’s Program Management Team on Metro Center Street, Rosecrans/Marquardt and Division 20 Portal Widening Turnback projects with the contract development, payment strategies and performance indicators.

In addition to his daily tasks, he has mentored team members at the staff and intern levels; initiated and hosted skills development training; and helped with improving the team resources library. Not only is Tascioglu committed to his peer’s development, but also his own professional development, having been certified as a project management professional and an envision sustainability professional.

He is currently a third year MBA student at UCLA Anderson, focusing on management consulting and technology. He has been involved with professional organizations such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to stay up-to-date and to mentor younger members. He served as treasurer and secretary at ASCE SSJV Branch for the Younger Members Forum Executive Board and chaired the Emerging Professionals National Committee Strategic Initiatives at USGBC. He also actively participates in AACE and CMAA conferences.

Outside of work, he has helped two local non-profit organizations in a Social Impact Consulting Challenge through UCLA Anderson by contributing his technical expertise in management and finance. For instance, in one of the departments that he supported as a consultant, the former process often required processing invoices and contract modifications three to four weeks. The current approval process he developed has reduced this to one to two weeks. With this efficient processing road map, he was able to track actual costs against contract values for more than 100 climate action projects, conducted variance analysis and prepared weekly department financial status reports, accelerating average contract execution period. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I take pride in the social impact that my current role at LA Metro has by creating alternative transportation options to Angelenos and changing our car culture to a faster and more sustainable commuting experience. I also feel privileged to serve my community in a transit agency that leads the industry. In addition, I am blessed to have tremendous support from my peers and senior management, especially Julie Owen who provides mentorship as well as professional guidance.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

One challenge, not just for me personally but also for some of my colleagues in the transit industry, is the pace of digital transformation needed in the A/E/C fields. Current technology focused classes that I am taking at UCLA Anderson and my role in leading PMIS efforts at LA Metro allow me to turn this challenge into an opportunity for myself and our project controls team.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. As I look ahead to 2021 and beyond, the experiences of this past 18 months give me hope to build a better future and create new opportunities. It is the same dream that once brought me here as an international student eleven years ago. 2021 is very special for me as I became a U.S. Citizen a few months ago. I am very proud that following the hard work and dedication over the last decade, my American dream finally became a reality. Contributing to the growth of my industry together with my continued personal and professional development makes this dream even more special.

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

Get to know your customers! As a millennial, I realize that my generation will be the information bridge between the Gen X and Gen Z. All the transit projects that are being designed and built today will serve the future generations. From the customer’s point of view, understanding needs and meeting expectations is the new KPI for transit agencies. If you can empathize with your customers, you will be able to acknowledge the importance of the customer experience and understand their current pain points. The commuter centric transportation should drive the planning of new corridors and improve the operation of existing transit lines. I am conscious that in addition to corporate and technological changes, this is the only way to attract people of all ages to public transit.