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December 2016

Q&A with the winner of the 2016 Chair's Award of Excellence

How did your career in transportation begin?

I began my PennDOT career as an intern and temporary employee in public information/community relations. I was blessed with great mentors along the way and the freedom to change locations, which eventually led to a 26-year career in varying positions in the agency.

Could you tell me about your work as deputy secretary for safety administration at PennDOT?

The team of talented folks I worked with transformed the way motor vehicle and driver license services were delivered and, in turn, the customer opinion of the PA DMV. While challenging, the best part of the work was being able to get up every morning and know that we could impact the lives of the people of Pennsylvania. Being a public servant was very fulfilling. In my new role consulting with the private sector, I still have the ability to work with clients who are innovative and committed to positive change. They want to do great work.

Can you tell me about your AAMVA career?

My familiarity with AAMVA began when I was director of customer relations for PennDOT and was asked to speak at a Region I meeting. When I became the DMV administrator in 1995, I knew the value of association involvement and could not wait to jump in and be involved with AAMVA. I knew the impact it could have on helping my team and me to implement change.

I have worked with AAMVA for nearly 25 years and have had the opportunity to be involved in many areas, working with competent and caring AAMVA staff and jurisdictional colleagues. I served as a board member and president of Region I, and as an international board member for many years. In addition, I served on the executive committee and had the incredible honor of being Chair of the Board in 2002–2003. I also had the opportunity to serve as Chair of AAMVA’s Special Task Force on Identification Security in 2001 following 9/11.

What is the best part about being involved in the AAMVA community?

Getting to work with the talented people who volunteered to help AAMVA and its members in addition to their “regular” jobs. Also, the staff understood that serving members was the No. 1 job. Being a part of a community of people who pursue goals larger than themselves for the benefit of citizens—security, safety and service—was and continues to be a great experience.

Having worn many hats over my 30-year transportation career, it’s important to recognize that DMVs, AAMVA and industry can and should collaborate to meet common goals and prepare for the future. The power of strong partnerships, mutual trust, and listening and learning can result in services that will exceed today’s customer expectations and help DMVs be even better in the future.

You recently were honored with the 2016 Chair’s Award of Excellence—what does that mean to you?

I was so honored, humbled and surprised. It’s actually an award that I created in 2002, and all these years later Rick Holcomb decided to give it to me. It’s kind of funny that it came full circle. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

What were key issues AAMVA was working on in 1996, when MOVE magazine was just beginning?

It was a pivotal time in making DMVs more customer focused—customer expectations for convenience and access were key drivers. The internet was beginning to bud and electronic initiatives were just starting. More secure driver’s licenses began to replace outdated credentials. Overall, it was a very different time, with technology just starting to take off.

What are some key issues in the transportation industry today?

The autonomous vehicle arena is exploding, and how transportation is funded with mileage-based user fees (MBUFs) opens up new roles and responsibilities for DMVs and their industry partners. Mobile and digital solutions that rely on DMV information for verification are proving to be critical. Issues of fraud also present new challenges in the digital and mobile environment. DMVs have recognized the need to be multi-service centers, and they are even rethinking how they’re communicating services to customers. It’s an exciting and challenging time, and it’s great that the DMVs recognize the value industry partners can bring in meeting these challenges.