Women in TransitTech: Patricia Kiewiz.• 2 min read
In honor of International Women’s Day and throughout the month of March, Via is proud to profile a number of changemakers driving real innovation in their communities. Enjoy the story below, and then check out the rest of the series.
Challenging the status quo takes diligence, determination, and vision — especially when it comes to an industry that hasn’t seen a seismic shift since the automobile was invented. And, as it turns out, it’s often women who choose to challenge these norms. In honor of International Women’s Day and throughout the month of March, Via is proud to profile a number of changemakers driving real innovation in their communities and inspiring their peers. Enjoy the story below, and then check out the rest of the series here.
Patricia (Patty) Kiewiz is the Transit Director for Green Bay Metro in Wisconsin. She’s a lifelong resident of Green Bay and wife and mother to two children and three puppies. When she’s not working, Patty enjoys spending time with her family while camping and traveling.
What did 10-year-old Patty want to be when she grew up? How did you evolve from there to your current position in transportation?
As a young girl, I wanted to be a beautician. I wanted to make people look and feel beautiful. As I grew older, I realized there were many ways to accomplish my dreams. I went to school for accounting. I enjoyed working with numbers and money, but I wanted to work with people more. That led me to start in the Customer Service/Dispatch office at Green Bay Metro. From there, I grew into several other positions within the agency, such as Finance, Paratransit, Operations Manager, Assistant Director and, finally, Transit Director.
What do you think are the most important qualities in a leader? Are there any leaders in particular you look up to?
The qualities of a good leader in my mind are being open, a good listener, and being consistent and compassionate, while also innovative.
What are the big transit challenges in your community that your team is solving with innovative mobility projects?
Our largest challenge is providing quality and frequent service. With funding levels basically static, it’s difficult to increase services. Looking at additional transportation options allows us to provide cost-efficient and reliable options.
In your view, what’s the biggest challenge the transportation industry as a whole will have to tackle in the next 2-5 years?
How do we, as an industry, continue to meet the needs of the public with diminishing or no additional funds. The ability to provide an efficient ride at a cost-effective price.
Tell us about a defining moment in your professional life that has helped guide you on your path.
Working in several positions at Metro over my 17 years has given me operational and institutional knowledge to do what I do today. Becoming Director in July of 2014 was my turning point. I realized the level of success of this department was dependent upon my guidance and leadership.
And finally, what drives you? (Pun intended!)
Not just thinking outside of the box — being nowhere in sight of the box! Being an innovator in the industry by using cutting-edge technology to provide safe and reliable transportation. I always welcome change and doing what others haven’t done yet.