Skiver joined Sen. Tom Carper (third from right) and SEPTA CEO Joe Casey (far right) for the delivery of SEPTA’s new railcars.
CEO, Delaware Transit Corp.
Not many people can say they’ve been able to achieve their goals. Lauren Skiver achieved hers when she was tapped as the CEO for the Delaware Transit Corp. (DTC), operating the DART First State statewide transit system, a mid-size property with 500 revenue vehicles, which also runs contracted commuter rail through SEPTA.
Long before her career in public transportation, Skiver lived and grew up in San Diego where her father was stationed in the Navy. She took community college courses in computer science and science, but decided to give the military a try and joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps. After two years, she reenlisted as an intelligence specialist where she did imagery analysis, working with photographs, satellite and radar. She loved the work so much she stayed in the position for the remainder of her nearly 10-year military career. The job afforded her many opportunities, including living and traveling overseas.
“It was a good fit for me, because I like to move around,” she says.
Skiver, whose husband is in the military, left the Army so she could create a more stable home life for their daughter. It was when she was putting down roots in the U.S. that she found work as a secretary at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit in Tampa, Fla. She looked at it as a temporary position until she decided what she wanted to do. It was there that she decided her goal was to someday be a transit CEO. Within a year, she was selected to enter the agency’s manager internship program.
“The GM at the time [Sharon Dent] was really progressive, she really believed in mentoring her staff to take over the organization,” Skiver says.
During her internship, she worked in all departments, including finance, operations and risk, where the managers of each department were responsible for giving the interns tasks and exposing them to management level experiences. When a position for the Director of Paratransit Operations and Customer Service opened up in 2000, she took it.
Because she knew she came into the industry later than most, she had to move when opportunities arose, which led to her post as director, paratransit for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). With her experience, Skiver flourished at this post managing the 450-vehicle fleet and was promoted to deputy chief operating officer of core services.
Here she added commuter rail and rail services to her experience. During her MTA tenure, some of her accomplishments included working to improve the paratransit system by helping create a taxi program and helping to develop a point system for operators to create a safer system through intervention and training.
Then in 2012, she reached her goal by becoming CEO of DTC, where she says her responsibility is service quality, effectiveness and cost-efficiency for the statewide transit system.
“More importantly, I think I’m responsible for developing and encouraging a team that wants to work for DTC and feels rewarded for doing that,” she adds.
Skiver says the most challenging aspect of her job is “setting priorities in an ever-changing funding climate” and meeting the needs of riders with fewer resources.
Despite these challenges, one of the most rewarding parts of the business she says is “creating independence for people who can’t drive, for whatever reason.”
Being tenacious and high energy are some of her greatest attributes, Skiver adds.
“I am passionate about transit and my employees,” she says.
Improving the paratransit service in Maryland and working to make DTC in Delaware a more dynamic organization, while meeting the needs of riders, are some of her proudest accomplishments. When asked what her overall goal for the agency is, Skiver says, “setting the course for the agency to reinvent itself through service delivery and performance.”
In addition to enjoying time with her family, Skiver is a kickboxing instructor.
“It keeps me fit and it plays to my personality, because I’m like a drill instructor sometimes,” she says.
Skiver is also an avid equestrian and rides frequently.