2022 40 Under 40: Gary R. Scott, Jr., MPA,

Aug. 23, 2022
Gary R. Scott, Jr., MPA, Senior Project Manager, Paratransit Services, Pace Suburban Bus

One word to describe yourself: Reliable

Alma Mater: MPA, DePaul University; Bachelor of Arts, Michigan State University

Fun fact about yourself: At the age of 12, I took an interest in learning my family history and within two years, reconnected at multiple family reunions nearly all of the descendants of my great grandfather, Jacob Peter Robling, a train conductor for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad from 1887 to 1932.

Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): I enjoy the Quincy Station because it is one of the oldest ‘L’ stations in the city.

Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): I enjoy riding the Brown Line every day and watching how people interact with the train, both in the Loop and in the Chicago neighborhoods.

Gary R. Scott, Jr., is a senior project manager for paratransit services at Pace Suburban Bus where he specializes in managing paratransit contracts. The author of his nomination commended Scott for working to meet agency goals with multiple departments on common projects with planning and operations. He further works to integrate planning and operations through his involvement with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). 

Scott started with Pace in its Quality Assurance area for the Paratransit division, where he worked to maintain customer satisfaction. In his current role, he utilizes hard work, problem solving and partnerships to make positive change. Scott manages the contracts and performance for paratransit operations in three suburban counties and the North Mobility Management Call Center. This includes three coordinated countywide projects, two of which, MCRide and Ride Lake County, he has helped transition from traditional dial-a-rides to countywide coordinated services.

Scott is credited with a passion for paratransit service that elevates it as an example of transit performance and function. Scott is part of an innovation team that focuses on projects, such as incorporating TNCs (transport network companies) to improve access to mobility and operations regionwide. He is also a part of a cross-departmental team that is developing a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) pilot for the agency. 

Scott’s ability to forge connections extends beyond his job. Scott was the youngest Chapter representative elected to the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Board; he served CNU Illinois for three years as Chairperson and co-led a merger with CNU Midwest to create a CNU Chicago subchapter. Scott has also attended Transportation Camp, an organization that uses new formats and technology to attract entry level professionals into the transportation industry and continues his relationship with DePaul University and the Chaddick Institute by returning to critique master’s level capstone projects. Additionally, he is a co-founder of the Emerging New Urbanists and now serves as an advisor to the group. 

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

When studying at DePaul University and through the Chaddick Scholars program, I grew to love learning about urban planning and public transportation’s role. As a part of my graduate school studies, I did a study aboard in Curitiba, Brazil, where I learned and experienced the Bus Rapid Transit.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I especially enjoy being a part of teams, within the Paratransit division and across departments, which work to improve the agency and enhance the rider’s experience regionwide.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

In a fast-paced work environment, it can be easy to lose track of priorities, so it is especially important to remain focused and stay organized. Each day requires different skill sets.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

Working with local DOTs to enhance their coordinated projects. I have been lucky to be integrally involved in the expansion of two countywide coordination efforts to increase mobility options for underserved communities, individuals with disabilities and seniors.

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

Public transportation is a system, there are constant moving parts that act like a puzzle, so always keep learning about each aspect and how you can be more efficient and effective. Show up every day to listen and learn from everyone who you encounter, especially the passengers you serve, and do your best to get to the core of the issue at hand.

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