Crissy Ditmore is Senior Sales Executive for Conduent, Maryland. She is passionate about policy and especially appreciates the nonpartisan aspect of most TDM policy initiatives.
1. How did you get involved in public policy?
My first foray into Public Policy was during my time with the ACT Leadership Academy. One of our first classes coincided with the Public Policy Summit, and I got a first-hand look at everything ACT does to shape our industry. After that I was hooked. I love the pace and the challenges associated with building policies that can shape the future of our country.
1a. What connection does it have to your career?
Understanding policy and its implications for how our work is accomplished is part of everyone’s job whether they understand that or not. The more you have a working knowledge of changes at the Federal level, the better you can do your job at the local level. Every job I have had included some level of policy work, and staying engaged has allowed me to help my customers in a richer, more meaningful way. Recent initiatives at Conduent have involved innovative partnerships made possible by ACT’s efforts to influence new programs at the FTA as well as within transportation reauthorization itself.
2. What do you see as posing the most significant opportunity or challenge to TDM on a federal (or state or local) level?
Our leadership in shaping the regulatory environment surrounding the autonomous vehicle movement will be a defining cause for this decade. ACT’s experience with transportation demand mitigation provides concrete data points to be considered. To the extent that we can establish ourselves as the expert in discouraging single occupant behavior, we will have a genuine opportunity to help shape this travel renaissance.
3. What do you see as the future of public policy?
Policy is derived from politics, and that continues to become more polarizing each year. What I enjoy about ACT’s work at the Federal level is that most of the time, our initiatives appeal to both sides of the political spectrum. Ongoing communication and presence at the Capitol becomes crucial as members of Congress change and as each new administration brings new direction within the regulatory environment. We must be part of that dialogue or we will get lost in the shuffle.
4. What is your take on the role of ACT in public policy?
The TDM industry has been ahead of its time for quite a while. The rest of the transportation industry is starting to catch up. Many other major industry associations have started “mobility committees” within their ranks. This shift toward our efforts becoming main stream is satisfying. In order to maintain this lead, the ACT public policy group will become more important as the industry seeks out the specific expertise we have within the committee.
5. Why should ACT members get involved in public policy?
I think that many members misunderstand what their role could be within committee meetings. Participation is very important. Our cross section of members including private and public sectors gives ACT a unique insight into issues that affect all aspects of transportation. When we discuss an issue, having the local perspective on the impact allows those on the committee with lobbying ability to have concrete examples of outcomes. It is incredibly powerful to share specifics with a member of Congress on an issue affecting their voters. Participation is about both absorbing new policies while they are fresh and using content to help our association shape future policy. Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of access?
6. What outside interests do you have? Are there any details about you that might surprise ACT members?
I’ve been in the industry for a long time, so at this point people probably aren’t surprised by anything I might say. But I have always had a love for sustainability in all forms. I have recently started beekeeping and permaculture gardening. As a well-known control freak, I find something terrifying and adventurous in caring for bees. There is very little you can do to change anything when something goes wrong. As hard as you try there may be nothing you can do but wait. You make incremental changes over time to maximize the bees’ chances of success, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sounds a lot like policy; when it all works out the reward is sweet, but a lot of work goes on over a long `time when it looks like nothing is happening. As long as I know the work I’m doing is for the greater good I know it is time well spent.