Reflections and Expectations: The System Works


Bringing back old traditions, getting back into the swing of things and being more proactive in the business are just some of the ways to describe the month of August.

Let’s look back at the month that was and look ahead to the start of the fall season in the latest Reflections and Expectations.


Train House – On Aug. 1, I met up with my railfan friends in my old stomping grounds in Orange County for this annual get-together. This is the fourth year I attended Train House since 2011 as I was unable to attend last year. Each year, we gather to watch videos some of our friends put together of their rail-related excursions. It’s one of several annual occasions I always look forward to attending, even after relocating away from the area a few times over the years.

Grad school – Back into the swing of things with the MSTM program at San Jose State University Aug. 4. I’m currently taking a course that deals with transportation policy and regulation — one of many important areas transportation professionals should be well-versed in as future managers in the field. It’s worth noting this is my penultimate semester in the program with four courses (including the current one) left to go before I graduate next June. Yes, time really has flown by relatively fast.

Live-tweeting a ribbon-cutting ceremony – Profiling one of my work-related endeavors at Mark Thomas & Company (MTCo), I attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 7 for the completion of the I-280 / I-880 / Stevens Creek Boulevard interchange project near the Valley Fair shopping center along the San Jose / Santa Clara city line. MTCo teamed up with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Caltrans — both clients of MTCo — for this $62-million project to provide congestion relief and enhance safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

For my part, my contact at VTA invited me to attend along with several members of our staff. As this was a public event with the local news media and elected officials present, I coordinated with my counterpart at VTA to live-tweet from our respective organizations’ Twitter accounts and share each other’s posts to maximize attention for the completion of this major public works project. It certainly worked for the both of us in respectable ways as individuals ranging from local community leaders to the Mayor of San Jose and a Santa Clara County Board Supervisor to the Caltrans executive director shared our tweets from their own accounts. (Tweets can be found under the #I280I680SCB and #I280I880SCB hashtags. We misidentified one of the freeways and didn’t catch the mistake until toward the end of the event. The latter is correct.)

I’ve certainly had many experiences live-tweeting in years past and it’s always fun, especially if it is one that involves a major infrastructure project or a public figure of great interest. I look forward to doing something like this again.

IMG_4408Chris Hardwick – The host of Comedy Central’s @midnight performed at the California Theatre in San Jose Aug. 15. This marked the third time I attended a stand-up comedy performance in the Bay Area after John Mulaney in January and Chris D’Elia in June.

Terrific performance, as expected. What’s more is that he hosted a Q&A session after he finished performing, which is atypical for most stand-up performances. Although I did not ask any questions myself, I appreciated the audience engagement and personable touch to Hardwick’s style of comedy.


  • Boston – Nearly two years to the day since my first trip to the city, I’m going back there this weekend. It also marks my first visit to the East Coast since I moved back to California from Philadelphia in November 2013. As for this upcoming holiday weekend getaway, I see it as a continuation of my original 2013 trip. Mike’s Pastry, anyone?
  • Yoga – I should mention I’ve successfully made yoga a weekly thing for a full month now as of this past Wednesday. I still plan on going back every Wednesday night with eventual plans to incorporate some home practice on other days of the week as time progresses. I really enjoy yoga for its benefits to the mind, body and soul.

How did your summer go? What are you looking forward to as the fall season is just around the corner? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.