Meet Our Rail & Transit Engineers — Part 1

Joe Yesbeck, P.E., Vice President, Director of Rail and Transit

What do you enjoy about working at T.Y. Lin International?

I enjoy working at T.Y. Lin International because I get to work with talented colleagues in a collaborative environment, engaged leadership, and with a genuine interest in positioning for industry/business trends.

Why did you choose to become a rail and transit professional?

My strong interest in the rail and transit industry began early in my career with the Florida Department of Transportation. I had an opportunity to become a project manager for the development of a new rail service in Southeast Florida. Despite having no technical experience with rail or transit, I found it fascinating and have continued to pursue career in this industry ever since.

What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on and why?

There is one project that was most memorable for me. I was the project manager for the planning, design and construction of Tri-Rail in the 1980s. The project itself is a commuter rail service in Southeast Florida that began operations in 1989. I oversaw all of the contracts; from station design to locomotive and rail car construction, as well as negotiated contracts with railroads and service providers. It permanently changed the arc of my career.

In the 2000's, I was the project manager for the development of another project, which was a proposed light-rail service in greater Fort Lauderdale, FL. This was a proposed new rail line through many communities, which could permanently change travel behavior in the area. Our extensive outreach energized the business community into sponsoring a referendum for local funding, but unfortunately it failed.

What trends do you see in the rail/transit market or in the industry as a whole?

There are three trends that I have noticed in the industry. For starters, public agencies have been transitioning more into contract management. The reasoning behind this is because they continue to increase their dependence on consultants for technical knowledge. Another trend is the growing focus on safety and security integration into all aspects of daily operations. Lastly, there is continued growth in benchmarking and measuring performance at all levels of operations.

What advice do you have for engineers just starting out in their careers?

I have two recommendations for new entry-level engineers. First, I advise you to spend time developing a foundation of technical knowledge. Once you land a management role, you will depend on that same foundation for understanding technical issues.

Second and lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of relationships. You and your colleagues will become the business leaders in the future.

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