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Image of general manager Chip Schuneman

Renewed focus on our customers and building best-in-class transit solutions 

To welcome our new GM Chip Schuneman to TransLoc and the Modaxo family, we sat down with him to learn more about him, his leadership style, and his goals for TransLoc—and the transit industry as a whole. We recorded the interview and you can listen to it here. 

In this post, we’ll summarize the discussion, but listen to the conversation to learn some interesting facts about Chip—like how he biked from Mexico to Canada one summer. 

Chip comes to TransLoc with over 30 years of experience running companies around the world in a wide range of industries. While relatively new to public transit, Chip has a passion for finding ways to make transportation more reliable, accessible, and convenient for everyone. Chip sees tremendous talent and expertise within TransLoc that will help him create the next generation of transit solutions for you, our customers. 

Let’s dive into what we learned from Chip during the interview. 

Strong, authentic leadership is essential 

TransLoc’s parent company Modaxo is known for a corporate culture of developing leaders who are more about helping others than helping themselves. People who look at their jobs not to build themselves up, but rather to build up everyone else around them. To help people become the best versions of themselves and grow in their lives and careers. Early in the conversation, Chip said this about his own leadership style: 

It’s just about being an authentic leader. We’re not perfect, none of us are, and it’s just a matter of, coming in, treating people with respect, building your leadership team, making sure that you’ve got the right people in the right seats; building trust, making sure that everybody understands what their role is; and moving the business forward. And if you misstep own up to it, raise your hand, and say, hey, we misstepped, we’re going to fix that next, next month, next quarter, or whatever. 

To Chip, leadership isn’t about being perfect or being right or being the boss, it’s about getting the fundamental parts of business right. Chip uses the analogy of a three-legged stool. A successful business balances: 

  • What’s best for the customer. 
  • What’s best for the company. 
  • What’s best for the team. 

If any of those legs of the stool get out of whack, too much emphasis on the customer, neglecting the team, or not managing the finances of the business well, the stool will tip over. Chip uses these three considerations to inform his own decision making at every business he leads. Is it the right thing for all three legs? Then let’s do it. Often companies get bogged down with decision making and one of Chip’s goals for TransLoc is to speed decision making to make real improvements for all three legs—but especially our customers. 

TransLoc has been through a lot of change in the past five years and Chip is focused on rebuilding trust across the board. It’s essential to Chip for all legs of the stool to be strong, stable, and balanced. 

Fresh perspectives from international experience 

Chip has led companies around the world in healthcare, technology, education, and communications. His perspective from this broad range of industries brings new ideas to our transit world. But Chip isn’t naïve to transit. He looks at public transit today and asks, as someone who wants to use transit more, “Why don’t I take transit? What are the barriers to being a regular transit user?” these fundamental questions turn into ideas and solutions for TransLoc and the rest of Modaxo. 

Outsider perspectives are important to transit right now. Public transit is different than it was a few years ago. Ridership is different, why people ride is different, even where and when people travel is different. To adapt to all of these new challenges, new and fresh perspectives are essential. Chip is taking his decades of customer focus and business acumen to help TransLoc seize new opportunities and meet these challenges head on. 

Focus on smart growth, building on the strong foundation at TransLoc 

Because the entire transit industry is in flux, no agency or company like TransLoc can storm headlong into the fray and expect to be instantly successful. It will take time and concerted effort to win in the end. Chip sees TransLoc’s depth of experience—with some employees having over 13 years experience at TransLoc—as an unstoppable force. You don’t succeed for over 20 years without strong fundamentals, great products, and world-class people. It’s with this strong foundation that Chip is going to build and grow TransLoc into the future. 

To get there, TransLoc isn’t going to just chase the easy fixes. Chip is applying his three-legged stool approach, paired with streamlined decision making, to build smart solutions. TransLoc already has a lead on the market with its app that connects riders with public transit, the next step is building on that so someone can use it to plan an entire trip, regardless of mode. 

Growing TransLoc means connecting customers like cities, healthcare facilities, college campuses, and corporate campuses into more than their own transportation solutions, but the wider transit world. In the past two years we’ve learned that people look at getting from place to place differently, and TransLoc will be there right with them. 

Meeting today and tomorrow’s transit challenges 

Because TransLoc has such deep roots in transit, it can look at the challenges facing today and tomorrow with a unique perspective. This isn’t a stodgy view that things should be done a certain way, it’s the ability to see what’s been done before and say “we have all the pieces here, let’s see if they can fit together in new ways.” 

Chip is leaning on this depth of experience and a newcomer’s viewpoint to see opportunities others might be missing. He is looking at improving transit today by “skating where the puck is going to be” a year, year-and-a-half from now, not just solving the challenges we face now. 

Stay tuned for more insights from Chip and the leadership team 

Chip is thoroughly excited about this new role and challenge. During our half hour interview, there was as much laughter as there was serious discussion about leadership, transit, and TransLoc. You can listen to an excerpted version of the interview with Chip at the top of the post. 

In the future we hope to bring you more discussions with other TransLoc leaders and with customers about how together we are going push public transit to the forefront of transportation.