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Executive Spotlight: Samuel Patterson, University of Mississippi

Posted: 06/24/2021
Category: Member Spotlight

Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi (UM), affectionately known to alumni, students and friends as Ole Miss, is Mississippi's flagship university. Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics, and business. Oxford, Mississippi, home to Ole Miss, is famously known for writers, musicians, and artists and offering excellent culinary experiences.

The Department of Transportation is a relatively new department at the University separating from the University Police Department in 2012 with a focus on service, innovation and sustainability. As the department intentionally moves to an improved service orientation, practical collaboration is my vision. I look forward to working on transportation, mobility, and service solutions for the University.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

Balance in transportation modes is tremendously important and is what our organization wants to achieve. I want to continue to increase the margins of students cycling, riding Oxford University Transit, and walking through out campus. Some students may be hesitant, but if I can get them to try an e-bike or shuttle route and have them tell me how easy and convenient it is that’s a win for us and the University.

How did you get to where you are today?

I appreciate relationships and when I am kind, fair, listen, and learn that has helped me collaborate with colleagues in my career. I have never been the smartest in the room, but I have been told I have a big heart and that goes a long way.

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

Technology advancements have been enormous and it certainly helps with all the analytics we need to be successful. However, there is something to be said with good conversations, convincing folks, and doing the work to ensure success. Transportation is personal, I want options to be easy and convenient.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?

The pandemic has made us reevaluate our perceptions and planning day to day and that includes transportation. The rise of telecommuting, zoom meetings, and hybrid classes certainly impacts higher education and transportation demand management. A compassionate service mindset regardless of the industry’s future will always be a constant. Going back to the basics with relationships will always be the most important regardless where the industry is in 10 years.

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT?

I have been active on ACT over the last year being on the ACT Professional Development Committee being co-chair of the Mentoring Committee and I wouldn’t have applied for the national committee without the SEACT chapter.  I think it is so much fun! Sabrina Glenn and chapter leadership including Allie, Sylvia, Paul, etc. are incredible. SEACT not only talks the talk but also walks the walk with fun and kindness. In a strange, uncertain, concerning year with the pandemic SEACT made its members feel alive again with their online networking events.

What keeps you motivated?

May sound simplistic, but I look at my current colleagues for motivation. So many of my University, ACT, and transportation colleagues are doing great things. They inspire and encourage me to keep going and continue to do more.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

This is easy for me and not necessarily one moment, but I love the occasional not expected phone call, text, and social media message I get from folks that worked for me! I keep all of them as they may be a handwritten letter or an email. Whenever I need inspiration or need self-compassion I reflect and read these.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

“Set small, achievable goals” - Projects and Process evolve and it’s easy to not recognize success. Be grateful with today and laugh a lot!

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