The EnoMAX Program – Building Future Transit Agency Leaders
October 4, 2019|David Schulze, Chief of Staff, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
In the transit industry, as well as in the business world at large, there is a lot of discussion about leadership. What makes a good leader? Where can we find a “natural leader?” The question we should ask ourselves is how do we identify the future agency leaders that are already here, and what skills or experiences can we provide to make those leaders great?
The concept of developing future leaders isn’t new, but where the EnoMAX (Multi-Agency Exchange) Program sets itself apart is a focus on collaborative leadership development across transit agencies. By working together, and sharing best-practices, participants gain insight into the broader transit industry, while building relationships and skills that will continue to serve them as future agency leaders.
At DART, we’ve already begun to see the transformational benefits of the MAX Program in action. Since 2011, our participants have shared their positive experiences with the program and how its shaped their goals and focus on personal and professional growth.
Opportunity and innovation are essential for the success of any business, and an agency’s culture can be a strong factor in driving that innovation. A culture that ensures that future leaders can fully appreciate all aspects of their agency, not just their current department, that encourages employees to look beyond their day-to-day routine, builds leaders with a big-picture view of the business.
“One of the biggest things I learned during the program was to be open, honest, and not to be afraid to move around and learn new areas,” said Ralph Parker, Senior Manager, DART Transit Center Services. “I also learned how to challenge the way we do things and to always remember who we are here to serve – the customers.”
Learning From Each Other
“I learned about other transportation agencies within the MAX Program, their best practices, and what could benefit our agency going forward,” explained Dempsey Cluff, Transit Supervisor, DART Bus Operations.
The ability to build a peer-network with other transit agencies and share best practices is one of the defining goals of the MAX Program. Understanding that we all have the same challenges gives us the ability to work together on some of the largest issues facing the transit industry.
“I also learned to look closer at our own process to see where we could improve and become a better agency.” Said Cluff. “It really expanded my knowledge of transportation and helped me begin thinking and seeing things from a management perspective.”
Understanding the Larger Transit World
We’ve heard time and time again, that a deeper understanding of the transit industry, its history and its future, gives participants a solid grounding for where they fit in the larger goals of their agency. “The MAX Program gave me a broader perspective on transit, said Katy Galindo, AVP Controller, DART Finance. “I had an opportunity to see the commonalities that we share with different agencies, as well as the unique challenges we all face.”
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