Everyone who’s worked with National RTAP has probably worked with Senior Technical Director Rob Tassinari at some point. Maybe you’ve attended one of his conference or webinar presentations, or met him at the National RTAP booth at a conference. Or perhaps Rob has provided technical assistance to your agency or helped you with difficult procurement questions. Rob has been with National RTAP since 2008 and will be retiring in June 2019. Here’s a look back at Rob’s recollections of what it was like to be a part of such a tremendous and successful undertaking.
Rob Tassinari had been working at Massport starting a Transportation Management Association (TMA) for Logan International Airport before accepting a position at a Waltham, Massachusetts transportation company named Transaction Associates, Inc. in 1998 as Project Manager of the Access to Jobs Program. The program was the transportation piece of the State of Massachusetts Welfare to Work effort. Rob later became Vice President of TransAction Associates. When the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the management of National RTAP in 2007 Rob, along with Cindy Frené, Frank Condon and Michele Brooks, submitted a proposal for the Neponset Valley TMA to administer the program. The joint effort worked, and FTA was particularly impressed by the technology advances that this team could bring to the table.
After the proposal was accepted, the next few months were a flurry of activity. Rob remembers the transition period as a whirlwind of welcoming a new National RTAP executive director, navigating stormy seas setting the stage for the future with an inherited review board, frequent trips and daily phone calls to Washington, DC to meet with FTA, and development of a whole new website.
Rob delved into technical assistance right away. He recalled one of his early TA requests – a tribe in Alaska needed help deciding how to best utilize a transit vehicle that was going to be delivered in a few months. He also started working on the National Transit Database right away, making it available in a more user-friendly spreadsheet format. This project transitioned to the Rural iNTD, which Rob continued to manage with the Florida International University and the Florida Transit Information System (FTIS).
ProcurementPRO was Rob’s first big project and one of his favorites. In 2009 Rob, Cindy Frené, Frank Condon, and a number of Review Board members envisioned a “Turbo Tax-like” online system where transit agencies could input their procurement types, budget, and method and would receive all the necessary Federal clauses and certifications for a procurement. An RFP was released, and Main Street Connections was chosen to develop the application along with Frank Condon National RTAP’s Director of Technology. The most exciting part of the project for Rob was creating “one-stop-shopping” for rural and tribal procurement. Eight years later, ProcurementPRO is still going strong, releasing version 2.0 in 2019.
Although Rob Tassinari will be missed greatly by his colleagues and collaborators, retirement should have some fun times in store for this active bicyclist who likes to bike to work and throughout the world. Rob also surfs (not the web – an actual surfboard), including the waves of Hawaii and the Island of Wales, so more water adventures are planned for his future. This hiker who has scaled Mount Washington in the winter probably also has many new peaks to climb. Other plans include building a new house at the beach, working in his new garden and doing volunteer work.
Thank you for 10 wonderful years with National RTAP Rob!