2022 40 Under 40: Marcellous Grigsby, MBA, PMP, CSP

Aug. 23, 2022
Marcellous Grigsby, MBA, PMP, CSP, Prevention and Mitigation Specialist, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

One word to describe yourself: Ambitious

Alma Mater: Temple University, Saint Joseph's University, and Columbia Southern University

Fun fact about yourself: I played Division 1 football on a full athletic scholarship at Temple University.

Marcellous Grigsby is a prevention and mitigation specialist at WMATA. He leads mitigation efforts to reduce the likelihood and severity of emergency incidents involving rail, bus, paratransit and WMATA facilities. Grigsby facilitates data-driven risk management by leading effective After-Action Reviews (AARs) for incidents and accidents with internal and external stakeholders. He conducts fire life safety facility/equipment inspections to evaluate for hazards impacting customers and staff, including life safety risks and fire hazards related to building and fire codes or internal policy/procedure. Grigsby also developed an interactive dashboard for fire life safety inspection to create reports, analyze data and assign tasks to mitigate inspection findings to resolution. In addition, he periodically serves as a Mission Assurance Coordinator (MAC) in WMATA's Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC), effectively collaborating with essential personnel to improve outcomes during incidents and events and to help continuously improve safety, emergency response and preparedness activities across WMATA's systems.

In addition to excelling within his workplace, Grigsby also strives to excel academically. He has a broad educational background, holding a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Intelligence and Crime Analysis from Saint Joseph's University. In January 2022, he graduated summa cum laude with an MBA in Public Administration from Columbia Southern University. In addition, Grigsby earned several certifications such as a board-Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Transit Safety and Security Program Certification in Bus and Rail and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Prior to his current position, Grigsby served as a WMATA bus operator in 2015 and received a safety award after one year of service for outstanding safety performance. In 2016, Grigsby was promoted as the department safety coordinator for the Office of Bus Transportation at WMATA. This role saw Grigsby take a data-driven, systematic approach to safety. He monitored safety goals, tracked leading and lagging key performance indicators and measured the effectiveness of risk mitigations. He also developed safety initiatives that helped to drive a reduction in preventable collisions. Grigsby was promoted in 2018 to serve as a safety investigator, where he led comprehensive investigations for all transit modes offered by the authority. Grigsby used the results of these investigations to partner with operations and other stakeholders to drive corrective action plans that effectively reduce the risk of incident recurrence. In recognition of Grigsby’s commitment to safety and high level of customer service, he received the distinguished Rising Star award from WMATA in 2019. Not too long after, Grigsby was promoted to his current position of prevention mitigation specialist. While in his current role, Grigsby was recognized as a leader within his organization and amongst a national pool of peers and was one of 35 participants selected from around the country into the American Public Transportation Association Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2023. He recently attended the APTA Emerging Leaders workshops and rail conferences in San Diego, where he was able to network and meet with transit agency leaders from across the country and share industry knowledge and best practices.

Off the job, Grigsby gains extensive fire prevention and safety knowledge assisting his community as a Prince George's County, Md., certified volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. Grigsby has responded to numerous medical emergencies, fire events, performed rescue operations and gained valuable experience as a first responder and the inner workings of the incident command structure.

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

A specific experience that led me to where I am today was my promotion as a department safety coordinator. I started in this robust transportation industry in 2015 as a bus operator at WMATA. Though my degrees were in criminal justice, I knew that WMATA was a great company to work for, and there would be an opportunity for advancement. Within one year of working at the agency as a bus operator, I was fortunate to receive this opportunity for advancement and was promoted to a department safety coordinator. This position focused on using data to drive action and develop and implement safety initiatives to proactively mitigate safety risks. I gained a lot of exposure and was given a platform to perform and show my potential in solving some of the most challenging problems facing workplace safety and operations. The positive feedback and results I was able to deliver made me love working in safety. I felt like I had finally found my niche and was making a difference. Since then, I have been promoted twice within WMATA. Prior to working as a department safety coordinator, I did not know I had a passion for transit safety. The opportunity to work as a department safety coordinator completely altered my career path and led me to the job that I have today.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is knowing that my work positively impacts the safety of our riders and colleagues. I have been a transit rider my whole life and I recognize the value it can bring to the lives within the community. Public transit is about providing sustainable mobility for people, and so many people in the Washington metropolitan area utilize the transit modes offered at WMATA. Therefore, working in a position that directly affects their safety is very impactful. Knowing that what I do, helps ensure that our riders and colleagues are getting home safely to their loved ones is incredibly rewarding.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

An accomplishment that I’m most proud of is obtaining my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. The PMP certification was something I was always inspired by. Many of my colleagues that I looked up to, had this certification. After hearing that this exam had an extremely low pass rate, I was a bit deterred. After a couple of years, I finally decided to stop doubting myself and began studying and take on the challenge. There was a lot of material to study. My company also paid for a training course to help me succeed. I feared that I would let my company and family down and that the long hours spent away from my family to study would all be in vain. Being able to show my company, my family and most importantly, myself that I can do something I once believed was unattainable was an incredible accomplishment for me.

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

The best advice I can share is that building relationships and networks are essential in this robust transportation industry. The bigger your resource network, the less challenges are faced. Over the years, I learned that cultivating relationships in business is important.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro)
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