Getting to Know: Melodi Yanik, Pierce County

Posted: 04/23/2020
Category: Member Spotlight

I became interested in smart transportation during my graduate studies at the University of Oregon (UO).  As someone who likes working closely with people, I also have an interest in working in local government.  In my current position as Commute Trip Reduction Coordinator with Pierce County, WA, I have the opportunity to combine my passion for smart transportation and my interest in working with people.  My team and I work with employers across the County to reduce drive-alone trips via employer transportation programs and marketing campaigns.

What brought you to TDM/how did you get involved in the field?
After my first few weeks at UO, I caved in to the bike culture and purchased a second-hand (at least) Huffy beach cruiser bicycle.  The happiness I experienced from hopping back on a bike was a game-changer.  After a couple of sustainable transportation classes, I was hooked.  I sought local government jobs promoting walking and bicycling.  I’ve held a few positions in the Seattle region and familiarized myself with different communities, their local obstacles and programs to overcome those obstacles.  The effort and passion I see among TDM professionals has been very impressive as many of them have a personal interest in the subject, and I’m happy to be a part of that.

Why did you get involved in ACT? What has been the most memorable moment of your experience in ACT?
I’ve been familiar with ACT for a few years, through their online resources and fellow colleagues who are members.  After a few years in the TDM community I am proud to finally join ACT, my first transportation-related professional membership.  Commute patterns look different in each community, so I find it useful to hear what challenges other TDM groups are dealing with and how they are promoting smart transportation. I look forward to joining chapter and national events in the future.  In the meantime, I am greatly enjoying the webinars and e-newsletters.

Within your work, what do you see as the future opportunities/challenges for TDM?
I am typing this during the COVID-19 pandemic.  When this is all over, there will be a great opportunity for continued teleworking.  I hope employees and managers are taking this time to consider teleworking as a valid alternative to coming into the office.  Whether someone teleworks 3 days a week or 3 days a month, the impact would save time and money for the employee, expands the applicant pool for the employer and reduces congestion for the greater community.

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