May 6, 2014

Transit Executive Profile: KCATA GM, Mark Huffer

What is your greatest challenge on a day-to-day basis? It is a daily balancing act between dealing with unplanned issues and identifying and articulating longer term strategic priorities. I am fortunate to have an incredible staff that has great vision and dedication.

Growing up, what career path did you see yourself following? I thought I was going to go to seminary and become a Lutheran minister. Public transit wasn’t on the radar when I was growing up.

What pivotal moments in your life got you where you are? I couldn’t be here without the support of my wife Denise. We have lived in six cities in five states as I advanced my career in transit. If she didn’t have a sense of adventure, I am not sure where I would be now.

What smartphone apps have you found to be helpful for your work? I use a couple of real-time apps when riding the bus.

Which person and/or system in the transit industry inspires you and why? I worked with Jack Leary in St. Louis and learned a great deal from him. He had a great knack for mentoring younger people. I don’t think I ever saw myself becoming, or even had much interest in becoming, a CEO until I worked with him.

Best piece of advice? Stay grounded. You are never as important as you think you are.

If you weren’t in transit... Since my golf game won’t get me on the PGA Tour, I would be a high school teacher and a coach.

What do you like to do for fun outside of work? I enjoy playing golf and riding motorcycles in the summer. In the winter I like to take a ski trip or two to Colorado, and I coach volleyball.

Favorite book or movie? My tastes are very eclectic and I read a variety of books from fiction to history to biographies. As a Cleveland Indians fan, I am sure I have seen “Major League II” more than any other movie.

RELATED: APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy profile

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