kurtmyers hero

October 2017

Checking in  with the chair — Kurt Myers

 Kurt Myers, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Driver and Vehicle Services, officially became AAMVA Chair in August 2017 at the 2017 Annual International Conference, but his involvement in AAMVA and in the motor vehicle administration community goes back decades. We caught up with him during his visit to AAMVA headquarters in advance of the Combined Standing Committees meeting to ask him a few questions about his background and what he’s looking forward to during his tenure as Chair.

How did you get involved in motor vehicle administration?

Well, it’s a story that really goes back over 40 years. I actually started in the private sector in the automotive after-market. I spent 20 years in the automotive after-market selling automotive parts. I had the opportunity to be President and CEO of a corporation that distributed auto parts throughout the east coast and as far west as North Dakota. After that career, I had the opportunity to enter into state government, and interestingly, my first job in state government was director of the bureau of motor vehicles which had responsibility for the emissions program in Pennsylvania as well as the safety inspection program. From my experience, I had been on the other side of those programs, and as such I had a strong background – obviously a different perspective coming into state government, but it was something I really enjoyed and now I’ve been with the Department of Transportation in Pennsylvania for 20 years.

How did you get involved in AAMVA?

What first brought me to the AAMVA Community was my involvement in IRP. I joined the board of IRP in 1999 and at that time IRP was part of AAMVA. And I was on the board at IRP for 10 years, serving as Chair for two of those years. Because of serving on the IRP board and it being part of AAMVA at the time, there was a lot of interaction between the two organizations. I became very involved with the AAMVA community at the end of my career with IRP, and started with responsibilities associated with Region 1, and then getting on the International Board and, of course, now being Chair.

What advice have previous Chairs of the AAMVA Board given to you?

I’ve gotten a lot of advice – some I’ve taken some I haven’t.  We’re a very fortunate community in the sense that there are a number of previous Chairs who are actively involved in the AAMVA Community, one of which is a former Chair from Pennsylvania, Betty Serian. She and I have known each other for years and I have a very good working relationship with her as well as with Rick Holcomb and Jean Shiomoto. Those are individuals who I have a great deal of respect for, and I enjoy listening to what they have to say with regard to what to expect. So far, first month, I’ve survived, but I look forward to the next 11 months.

What issues or initiatives would you like to focus on in the coming year?

I think certainly one of the areas we want to take a look at is the strategic plan for AAMVA. As many may know we did the strategic plan approximately four years ago. We spent a great deal of time as a Board of Directors along with the AAMVA staff looking at where we believe we need to be into the future. And, quite frankly, I think it’s a very, very solid document – as solid today as it was when it was first put together. So, I’ve asked Rhonda Lahm, who is the Vice Chair of the AAMVA Board, to work with other Board members on a committee that we put together to review the current strategic plan to see where we might be able to update it, addressing some of the things that have changed, but not carte blanche changing it and throwing it out and saying we have to start at square one. She’ll be reporting to us in the January board meeting what the committee’s thoughts are after their review. Again, we feel very strongly that the strategic plan is something that can be built on, not that it has to be changed from the bottom up. We’re confident of that. So, I’m very interested to see what Rhonda and her committee have to report out in the January board meeting.

What are you most excited about in the coming year?

I think for me the most important thing is getting an opportunity to see not only what other Regions are focused on, what their priorities are, but also how they just, in general, do things. I know that obviously there are differences between the regions and the way they interact with member jurisdictions, and I think it’s really, really important to understand that – to understand the regional differences, the regional needs. I think that’s one of the things I’m most excited about looking at the next year.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, my favorite pastime, when I have time to do it, is a sport called sporting clays. Some describe it as golf with a shotgun. It’s a hybrid of skeet and trap, and it came from England. What it basically does is recreate game shooting, but with clay targets.