Margaret O’Meara fell in love with transit at the start of her career and never looked back. Graduating from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she originally thought she wanted to study law. However, after taking a position at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), O’Meara realized she had already found her career path.
“I was born and raised in Boston and observed and valued how much transit impacts each of us every day,” says O’Meara. “I learned the value and the importance of transportation as an economic engine and a critical element of our country’s quality of life. I liked being a part of making a difference.”
O’Meara worked for more than 20 years for MBTA, first as an office engineer, then as project analyst and project manager. She gained a great deal of field and management experience during this time, but she says the most important lessons she learned — and brought to every job thereafter — were partnering skills, communication and leadership. “Being able to communicate, being a leader that trusts and empowers others, are traits that breed success,” she says.
During her career, O’Meara has worked on many large infrastructure projects that have transformed communities. As assistant area construction manager for the Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) at MassHighway, O’Meara provided guidance and direction for the management and coordination of multiple contracts related to the CA/T project at Logan International Airport. She also served as MassHighway’s District 3 highway director, where she was responsible for meeting the transportation needs of 77 towns and cities. Later, she became assistant commissioner, where she chaired an advisory task force for the Route 3 North Project, Massachusetts’ first horizontal design-build project.
Following her public sector career, O’Meara began working in the private sector, first as VP for a Boston-based engineering consulting firm, where she was responsible for office operations, and now as VP, client services and business development, Northeast Region, at Parsons Brinckerhoff, where she is responsible for client services, strategic planning and business development within the New England region.
She’s currently Parsons Brinckerhoff’s principal-in-charge on the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project, which will replace the bridge over the Merrimack River between Newburyport and Amesbury, Mass., and add two lanes to a section of I-95 in the Newburyport-Salisbury area. She’s also Parsons Brinckerhoff’s principal for the ConRAC project to expand car rental facilities at Logan International Airport.
“I’m taking the larger snapshot and providing influence for the bigger picture,” says O’Meara. “I can work with the project team to resolve issues before they become problems, in anticipation of meeting the client’s goals.”
O’Meara recognizes the importance of giving voice to the transportation industry in the public policy realm. As well, she promotes the advancement of women in transportation through her active leadership with Women’s Transportation Seminar International (WTS). She currently serves on the WTS International Advisory Board and chairs the appointments committee. She previously served as president of WTS Boston and is active in MassGAP, a non-partisan collaboration of women’s groups that work to increase the number of female cabinet positions in Massachusetts. She was recently named WTS’ Woman of the Year for 2012.
Both inside and outside of her office, O’Meara mentors younger employees to help them achieve professional develop-ment.
“It’s important to my company and it’s important to me personally,” says O’Meara. “As a senior person for Parsons Brinckerhoff, I take that on as an important role.”