2023 40 Under 40: Rumpa Dey, PE, PTOE

Aug. 22, 2023
Rumpa Dey, PE, PTOE, Arizona Emerging Technology Leader/ Group Manager, AECOM

One word to describe yourself: A proud mom and a successful business leader

Alma Mater: Masters – Arizona State University, Bachelors – Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology

Fast fact about yourself: [I work to] leverage the potential of cutting-edge technologies to connect people with places to work, shop, eat and recreation.

What’s your best experience on transit and what made it memorable? 

New York City Subway System, I didn’t need to rent a car because the subway system is well connected with the destinations we planned for our family vacation. Plus, it runs 24/7, which is super convenient and it’s so integrated with the city’s vibe.

Rumpa Dey is an accomplished professional in the field of transportation engineering, serving as AECOM’s Arizona and Utah emerging technology leader and group manager in the Phoenix office. She has spent her 15-year career dedicated to enhancing accessibility, mobility and safety through innovative technologies. 

Dey’s passion for public transportation is rooted in her upbringing in Bangladesh, where her family relied on public transit due to financial constraints. Determined to make a difference, Dey secured a scholarship from Japan Nippon Foundation to pursue her bachelor's degree in transportation engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. This marked the beginning of her commitment to improving transportation systems and positively impacting people's lives.

Dey worked as a research fellow while pursuing her master’s degree from Arizona State University. She conducted a study on public awareness and consideration of transit services in the Charlotte and Chicago areas. Applying advanced statistical methods to extensive surveys, Dey identified latent user traits, further fueling her dedication to transit improvement.

Dey’s professional development journey includes completion of the Leadership in Engineering Administration Program by the American Council of Engineering Companies, as well as AECOM's 'Global Manager Development' and 'Elevate' programs. She holds professional engineering licenses in multiple states and has been instrumental in designing and implementing emerging technologies to enhance transit efficiency, safety and security.

Dey and her team’s contributions to significant transit projects include the Valley Metro's South Central Extension Light Rail, CapEx Light Rail project, Phoenix's 35th Avenue Bus Rapid Transit, Houston's MetroRapid University Corridor BRT and Denver's Colfax BRT. Her team's designs, such as transit integrated traffic signals and corridor lighting, prioritize safety and eliminate confusion among various modes of transportation. 

Beyond her technical expertise, Dey is dedicated to fostering the next generation of transportation professionals. Her leadership skills shine as she grew her team from one to eight employees in four years. Additionally, she actively supports students and young engineers, collaborating with organizations like the Intelligent Transportation Society to promote mobility and equity. 

Dey’s commitment to sustainability and her role in initiatives like "Great-Place-to-Work" underscore her holistic approach to engineering. Her exceptional contributions have not gone unnoticed, as she received the "Business Leader of the Year" award as part of the "2023 Champions of Change" by Arizona Big Media and was recognized among the "2023 Top Young Professionals" by Engineering News-Record Southwest.

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

Being born in a [developing nation] with limited opportunity and my willingness to work hard to fulfill the aspirations for a safe and better life helped me to reach where I am today.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

[I enjoy the] flexibility and freedom to grow.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

My happy and healthy family.

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

Be nice and kind, treat people the way you want to be treated and then success will come automatically.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.