The premier organization for TDM professionals

Executive Spotlight: Rich Schmelzer

Posted: 03/23/2022
Category: Member Spotlight

What is your elevator pitch about your organization? Commutifi is a data-powered commuter platform that supports decision-makers in creating more inclusive, efficient, and cost-effective commuting programs. Our industry-leading core data platform simplifies the creation, management, analysis, and reporting of your commuter programs. Whether you're an employer, CRE manager, municipality, TMA, or individual, Commutifi will help you achieve your commuting goals.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve? Visibility of commuter data. With commuter data, whether you're an employer, CRE manager, municipality, TMA, or individual, data will help you achieve your commuting goals through data-driven insights. Commutifi hopes to become the most trusted commuter data source in the industry.

How did you get to where you are today? My team. No matter what the idea is, or industry I am in, it's always the quality of the team that makes all the ends meet.

How have you seen the TDM industry change? In the last 5 years, we have seen a shift towards data-driven TDM programs that consider the time, cost, and especially carbon efficiency of the commuter. We have also seen a trend towards multiple payment sources for a single payment event through a single payment source like our Commutifi Mobility Card. For example, an employee may pay $5.00 for a single transit pass, but in the background based on the employer’s program rules, 33% of that fare may come from the employer, 33% from the employee, and the other 34% through a subsidy or other service provider. We think behavioral driven subsidies and split payments will be a big trend in the future.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years? Successful TDM programs will be data-driven, flexible, equitable, and sustainably-driven with all trips connected to an anonymized central data repository that can be used to model new TDM programs at any scale.

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT? Haha, well I used to feel a little like an alien when I would talk to folks about how commuter data will change the world, so when I went to my first ACT conference in California a few years ago, it was great to have folks talk back to me and agree instead of nod and walk away ;-).

What keeps you motivated? I like to solve big problems. I think there are massive inefficiencies in commuting and transportation today and, until these problems are solved, I jump out of bed everyday to help.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career? Besides having a happy team, I guess the most fulfilling moment for any entrepreneur is to look back and see how many people are using your products and that they've made some kind of positive impact on people's lives. I have been fortunate enough to have created products in my career that have touched 100s of millions of people around the globe that make them just a little happier or excited…so I am pretty happy with that.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use? When it comes to starting a new company or launching an idea, “Stop talking about it, just go out and do it!”. I believe if you talk to enough people, investors, colleagues, and friends, you can probably talk yourself out of starting a new business. I am not saying you shouldn't listen to good thoughtful advice, I am just saying that sometimes you know in your gut that there is a market need for your idea so “just go do it.” 

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