People has its annual “50 Most Intriguing People.” Sports Illustrated has its annual swimsuit issue. And Forbes has its “World’s Richest People.” It was only a matter of time before the transit industry spawned its own sensational must-read event: METRO’s “25 Interesting People in Transit.”
Don’t laugh. I’m going to get serious here in a minute. I think we’ve got, as the generally addled youth of America say, “something going on.” If you don’t believe me, try hard, really hard, not to read any of the 25 profiles. Bet you can’t do it. Even if you’ve never met any of our lineup of “interesting people,” you’re going to look at the photos and at least skim some of their stories.
Better than the competition
In many ways, I think our special feature is superior to the others. Not as shallow as People’s, not as sandy as SI’s and not as musty as Forbes’. Think about it. Would you rather gather some unearthed nuggets about the personal and professional lives of your friends in transit or read another sniping profile of Bill Gates describing in excruciating detail his bad haircuts and net worth?
We created this new feature not to compete with the listmania of other publications, but to recognize some of the talented, hard-working and dedicated people in the transit industry. With such a large industry, we had a difficult time narrowing down the selections to 25.
Many of the nominations were submitted through our Website (www.metro-magazine.com) and via the two-page nomination form that appeared in recent issues, but we also used our prerogative as the ultimate arbiter of who’s interesting to choose people who were not nominated, either by themselves or admiring friends.
It’s no surprise that many of the selections are high-profile figures in the industry. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the right answer. We didn’t shy away from recognizing key figures at large transit properties and national organizations, but we also didn’t overlook some of the lesser lights who are making a difference on a smaller stage.
Yes, we missed a couple
I’m sure we’ll get more letters about the people we left off this list than the ones who made it. That’s fully understandable. Our intent was not to create the top 25 Interesting People, but a list of people who are among the top in the industry. So, yes, send your complaints if you must, but observe that we were not trying to put together the ultimate list. After all, depending on your response, we may reprise this feature article next year.
You may notice that the crop of selections does not include any of our friends in the supplier community. That’s because we wanted to keep the focus on the operators, at least in this initial effort. It’s certainly possible, however, that a future article could recognize some of the interesting personalities in the transit business community.
We’re proud of the efforts that went into researching and writing this special section. And we’d like to thank those who allowed themselves to be hoisted up on the pedestal. For the record, some of them (and you’ll never know who) were reluctant to be profiled and only agreed after some friendly arm-twisting.
Maybe we can’t compete in popularity with People’s 50 Most Intriguing People, but I’ll bet our profile subjects know how to move people, literally, better than Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and the cast of Friends.