NFTA Transporter

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet the new boss

By unanimous decision of the NFTA’s Board of Commissioners Kimberley A. Minkel became Executive Director this past December. After half a year in the new position, the Transporter decided to check in with her and see how things were going.

Have there been any surprises in your new job?
I started here in 2002 as director of health, safety and environmental quality. After nine years, I had a pretty good idea what to expect. So while I haven’t been surprised, I have been delighted.

What’s been your favorite part so far?
The round table discussions we set up. I’ve met with 200 employees to date, in small groups. I’m going to continue doing them across the company. Prior the meetings I asked each person to consider what the Authority was doing well and where they thought we could use some improvement. The feedback has been great.

Does that mean the discussions have turned into initiatives?

Yes. One of the techniques I brought with me to this job is SWOT analysis, a way of looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It helps to reorient an organization. Our employees, through the round table discussions, filled in the blanks.

From our analysis, we developed five key areas on which to focus: people, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, quality integration and community partnering. That led directly into cross-functional teams. We composed groups from different parts of the NFTA and assigned them one of these topics. Every group came back with ideas to address the related concerns. Actionable, cost-saving ideas. It has been very rewarding.

What challenges do you see ahead?
Safety has always been, and always will be, our number one concern. I look at the injury reports everyday and not just because they are costly¬ which they are–but because they so frequently involved real pain and hardship for employees and their families. We are going through a lot of changes at the NFTA, but we are not going to lose sight of safety.

Or the environment. After 20 years in the business, this will always be one of my chief interests. As it should be. It relates to everything we do and community we serve. One of the nice things about so many company-wide changes is that we have the opportunity to make more advancements in this area. It is always tough to change the behavior of any large organization. You have to make baby steps. Now we’ve got the chance to make more of them.

I look forward to building on what we’ve already been able to accomplish these last six months. There are more round table discussions scheduled and several projects underway stemming from what we learned from the first set of groups. It is going to exciting.