A well-recognized transit professional, Lauren Cochran Scoville has been through it all.
Cochran Scoville currently serves as VP, North American sales, at Proterra Inc., but her career in transit spans back to 2009. After completing her master’s in Public Administration in Los Angeles, Cochran Scoville joined Foothill Transit as a sr. operations analyst.
“I didn’t know anything about public transit, but I was interested in environmental sustainability, and quite frankly – I needed a job,” Cochran Scoville says. “I was hired to help launch Foothill Transit, Proterra, and the public transit industry’s first three battery-electric buses into commercial operation and very quickly became the resident project expert.”
It’s safe to say that Cochran Scoville is a zero-emissions advocate, as she has now helped more than 100 transit agencies develop and implement their electric bus programs.
Not only does Cochran Scoville share her passion for achieving zero-emissions goals, but she also expresses the importance of an equitable work environment for women working in transit.
Cochran Scoville is a Natural
Cochran Scoville’s efforts in the transit industry come from good intentions. She credits her core values as the driving force to help transit agencies.
“I genuinely want to make transportation as environmentally responsible as possible because I want to preserve the beautiful planet we call home,” Cochran Scoville says.
People might be surprised when they hear Cochran Scoville is an avid outdoorswoman, but this is how she grew up.
“I grew up camping, skiing, and exploring protected spaces and these are activities I’ve continued to enjoy in adulthood,” Cochran Scoville adds.
Cochran Scoville was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2022, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying nature the only way she knows how.
“I jumped into a frigid Lake Louise and hiked in Banff National Park bald and in between weekly chemo infusions last year on my birthday,” Cochran Scoville says. “We’re all part of nature, whether we think of ourselves as an environmental advocate or not. I feel deeply rooted to natural spaces and am happiest outside.”
It’s easy to see why Cochran Scoville gravitates to zero-emission transportation.
“Zero-emission transportation is a key lever to reduce emissions from this sector to help the broader fight to protect this incredible planet, our only home,” she says. “Combined with my enthusiasm for public transit, the zero-emission space is a natural fit for me.”
Cochran Scoville’s work in maintenance and vehicle technology at Foothill Transit, director of Innovation at Houston Metro, and VP of transit sales at Proterra led her to be honored by The Rays the Mark Foundation at this year’s APTA TRANSform & EXPO.
She was named the 2023 Annual Honoree, as the foundation “reviews the careers and lives of individuals who have dedicated themselves to serving the greater good.” The honor is awarded to someone who has found themselves in a difficult situation and it is a chance for the transit industry to come together to support them.
Advice for Women in Transit
Cochran Scoville’s advocacy doesn’t end at zero-emission transportation. She has gained valuable perspective working in transit and is now passing along advice to other women working in transit.
The first piece of advice Cochran Scoville offers is to speak up.
“Early in my career, I remember being afraid to share my ideas and opinions because I was new to the industry,” she says. “Now, I realize that a fresh perspective is usually a very positive value add.”
Cochran Scoville also believes it’s OK not to have all the answers.
“You are hired to gather as much information as possible from the smartest people to make a decision and simply put – get things done,” adds Cochran Scoville. “This is the beauty of creating and being on a high-functioning team.”
The final piece of advice Cochran Scoville offers is to “normalize being human.”
“I believe women are afraid to cry, afraid to be ‘too sweet’ or ‘too aggressive’ in emails,” Cochran Scoville says. “My advice is to be yourself, not a robot. It is okay to show emotion, and ultimately, it will make you a more relatable coworker.”