Alumni Interview: Patrick Preusser, City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services
Name: Patrick Preusser
Current Role: Director of Rapid Transit at City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation
Q. Tell us a bit about your background and how you chose your career path.
A. I rode public transit growing up and I was always interested in multimodal transportation. I started out as a frontline employee on a class one railway (e.g., conductor, locomotive engineer) out of high school. I transitioned to passenger service and grew more and more interested in supervision and management. I pursued post-secondary education as an adult with a family. I was able to rise through the ranks of management to the executive level over the years. The journey was both challenging and rewarding. I am fortunate to have the support of my family.
I am a forward-thinking leader who brings about 26 years of progressively responsible experience in the transportation industry (e.g., bus, paratransit, and rail). My personal vision is to undertake a continuous journey of lifelong learning with meaningful contributions to the transportation industry. My personal mission is to advance innovative and sustainable transportation systems to connect communities. I am an advocate for innovative, efficient, and carbon free transportation systems that enhance access to critical services and improve quality of life.
Q. What do you do in your current role?
A. I lead daily business activities across the department including safety and security, administrative services, complete streets, mobility innovation, transportation technology, transportation engineering, transportation performance and development, and transportation mobility (20 non-union, 155 union). I oversee operations and maintenance including integrated fixed-route bus/paratransit services (105 non-union, 1,946 union, $311M annual budget) and driverless metro services (30 non-union, 140 frontline employees, $85M annual budget) including contracted services. I also oversee operating ($421M annual) and capital ($150M annual) budget development, fiscal performance, and fiscal control for the department.
Q. Are there any current challenges you are addressing, and what steps are you taking to address them?
A. There are plenty of challenges that range from increasing ridership, transitioning to an electric fleet, workforce development, introducing a new mode of transportation, and solving issues related to budget and finance in future years. We are working with federal, state, and local leaders to develop and implement policy, create workforce development programs, complete a comprehensive operational analysis, and pursue grant funding opportunities etc.
Q. How did you come to attend the Transportation and Supply Chain Institute? As an alum of TSCI’s Executive Master’s program, what was your cohort experience like?
A. I am an advocate for innovative and sustainable transportation. I was interested in attending a reputable program that focused on all aspects of and all modes of transportation from leaders within the industry along with opportunities to build a strong network. I truly enjoyed my experience. I learned a lot from the experienced faculty and my cohort peers. I was able to experiment and implement classroom theory in the workplace and continue to add value. The program was so diverse and robust; so, it is difficult to highlight a few select aspects. With that said, the courses on transportation law, the practical modeling exercises, developing a business proposal, and the international trip and associated meetings with transportation leaders was priceless.
Q. Are there any technological advancements or new projects within your company or within the industry that you are excited about?
A. The Internet of things along with autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, on-demand services, and smart city integrations.
Q. What do you enjoy on your free time?
A. I am passionate about family, learning, traveling, and fitness. I practice Muay Thai and enjoy the sport. I’m also a movie buff.
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