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Assistant Superintendent of Organizational Development and Training King County Metro Transit
— by Julie Sneider, senior associate editor
The economic impact of railroading is not lost on Amanda Nightingale. She's well aware of what it's like to launch a new rail service and do her part to keep it going and growing.
Nightingale is assistant superintendent of organizational development and training in King County Metro's rail section, which serves residents of King County, Wash.
Her first job in the transit-rail industry was as a cashier for the Seattle Monorail system. Built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the monorail travels from the Seattle Space Needle to the city’s downtown center.
After college, Nightingale was recruited to Alaska, where she managed seasonal employees who worked on a passenger-rail tourist service operated by Alaska Railroad for a cruise line. Two years later, in July 2008, she was back in Seattle to join King County's startup team for Sound Transit's Central Link light-rail system, which was scheduled to launch service in July 2009. As an operations chief, she was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of the system's government documents and training programs, says her supervisor Michael Avery, who nominated her for a Rising Star award.
Since then, Nightingale has managed the light-rail training department, including the creation and development of training programs for rail operators and supervisors, vehicle maintenance electro-mechanics, the operations control center and roadway worker protection.
"The effectiveness of these programs directly contributed to KCM's strong safety record and low employee turnover," Avery wrote on her nomination form.
Today, Nightingale oversees all training for Seattle's light-rail system. Among her latest projects: employee training for the University Link and Angle light-rail extensions, which are slated to open in 2016, as well as integrating all aspects of King County Metro rail and the creation of employee development departments, according to Avery.
Nightingale points to being involved in the startup of a new rail system as the most exciting — and important — aspect of her career thus far.
"It's a challenge, but also a really good opportunity," she says.
She also believes her work to foster and reinforce a "good safety culture and positive work environment" has been a vital contribution to King County Metro, as well.
Nightingale attributes her career success to teamwork.
"You're only as successful as your team is," she says. "I've been lucky to have had great mentors along the way, people who have supported my learning as I’ve grown in this industry. I try to do the same for my team by supporting them."
Other notes of interest: • She earned a degree in communications studies at Seattle University. "It's not directly related to transit, but it absolutely benefitted me because a lot of what I do is communicate with our employees and make sure we are as clear and accurate as possible about the rules and policies for what employees are expected to do."
• Her advice to younger people new to the rail industry: "What we do has a very real, positive impact on our communities. It supports a wide variety of people, and allows for economic growth."
• When she's not at work, Nightingale enjoys travel and Tahitian dance.
Rising Stars 2015 Award Winners:
Francois Belanger, CN
Todd Blaylock, HNTB Corp.
Jonathan Chastek, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co.
Oliver Dolder, Railtech Welding & Equipment
John Riley Edwards, RailTEC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Stefan Loeb, Watco Cos. LLC
Jessica Moore, Union Pacific Railroad
Amanda Nightingale, King County Metro Transit
Celia Ann Pfleckl, Amtrak
Charles Rennick, Providence & Worcester Railroad Co.
Kaleigh Reyes, GE Transportation
Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, Federal Railroad Administration
Bruno Riendeau, VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Curtis Shogren, CSX Transportation
Alanna Strohecker, AECOM
Keith Tarkalson, Stacy & Witbeck
Brett Urquhart, Rocla Concrete Tie Inc.
Tara Vesey, Dakota Gasification Co.
Lexie Walker, Metra
Adam Weiskittel, BNSF Railway Co.