The transit community is no stranger to “lifers”—people who dedicate the majority of their career to serving the public transportation industry. Phil Gamperl is one of those people. Phil has lived and breathed fare collection for more than three decades—amassing unimaginable knowledge as well as some great stories! Read on to learn more about client-favorite, Phil Gamperl.
Tell us about Phil as a kid.
Since I was a kid, I was always into electronics, and I used to fix my father’s lawn mower and my mother’s electric clocks. I really had an interest in electronics as far back as I can remember—since I was little—and it prospered in high school. I had a great electrical teacher in high school that I had for two years and that really got me into electronics and drafting. It wasn’t computerized back in the good old days—you had a pencil and you had to know what you were doing and you really had a feel for it.
Were there any big lessons or mantras that your teacher instilled in you?
Yeah there is one, one I’ve actually lived by in my personal life as well as in my professional life. He would tell the class, “Never tell anyone how good you are, they’ll know.” I think that was a way of him telling us to work hard and someone will recognize that hard work.
We had a really good work ethic in my family and that came out in my work side—that you just work hard in life. If customers are happy with what you provided, they come back, and Genfare’s hard work has sustained the organization for decades.
What would you say drives you?
I feel like there’s really something being accomplished here at Genfare. I find a real satisfaction with the transit industry and what Genfare has been asked to provide to our customers. It’s really interesting and I believe it’s a necessary product that needs to be implemented in transit systems around the country. The bottom line is I just enjoy it and I think anybody who enjoys their job is going to do a better job.
How long have you been in the transit industry?
It will be 31 years in July of 2019.
How did you get your start here at Genfare?
I was hired as a programmer and the first project I had here was working with the Ticket Vending Machines. I did that for a couple of years and then I moved on—my manager at the time moved me into a Sales Engineer role, and I did that for several years, too. I also became a manager of System Support, and then my current position right now is the Aftermarket Sales Manager. I find my current role really, really challenging and enjoyable at the same time.
What does Aftermarket bring to Genfare?
Aftermarket is about the customers and supporting the customers’ needs. That’s what Aftermarket is all about—supporting the client throughout the entire lifecycle of their fare collection solution. Genfare now offers Software Support Agreements, which are vital in this kind of industry. When clients need assistance whether it’s a software upgrade or adding mobile ticketing to their solution, that is my focus. The clients are a priority, and their success is our success.
What would you say inspires you?
When you’re working in a place for a long time, you’re lucky to have co-workers who have the same drive as you, have the same focus as you, and have the same interests and value of what we do here at Genfare. What we’re providing to our customers really drives me because there’s a lot of good people who work here and spend a lot of time and hours here to perfect this product and to give the customer what they want and what they need. I think it’s the other people here at Genfare who really make the day when you’re trying to work hard and do your job and do the job the best you can.
How has the industry changed in the last 30 years?
The good news is our customers are on the cutting edge. They want the latest technology, they want the latest available equipment and software for their use and their riders.
Overall, the industry itself is becoming more technologically advanced and savvy–things like smart cards, validators, web-based reporting, which are all things that Genfare has done for a while now. However, you can see that each agency has different goals and objectives and they looking for options on how to best accomplish those goals. That’s why we really have a whole cornucopia of product, software and hardware for our customers and I think that is the true direction of the industry and where Genfare is heading.