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MBTA Employees Featured in United States of Technologists Campaign Highlighting Diversity in The Public Sector

Posted on June 22, 2021

CTD Product Manager for Bus Technology Ashli Molina and Transit Equity Programs Specialist Katie Kalugin were featured this month in a storytelling campaign featuring technology specialists working on critical public sector challenges.

The MBTA is pleased to announce that two MBTA staffers – Bus Technology Product Manager Ashli Molina within the T’s Customer Technology Department and Transit Equity Programs Specialist Katie Kalugin within the T’s Commercial Strategies and Programs Department – were featured in the United States of Technologists’s (USofTech) video storytelling campaign in June 2021, highlighting diverse public sector employees solving technology challenges in government. 

“We’re proud to see these talented, creative, and innovative members of the MBTA team recognized for their important contributions,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Ashli’s bus technology work and Katie’s equity expertise are the kinds of behind-the-scenes positions that help keep our buses and trains running efficiently for all riders, and we applaud the recognition they’ve received from USofTech.”

With these videos both available on and as part of a wider social media campaign on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram, Molina and Kalugin were each chosen to be interviewed for their unique perspectives in working with technology for government.

With a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude in Journalism from Boston University and a Master of Arts in Urban Studies and Public Policy Cum Laude from Sciences Po, Molina joined the MBTA in June 2019 working on real-time bus data projects, first as a Transit Tech Assistant before being promoted to an Associate Project Manager. In March 2021, Molina was again promoted to Bus Technology Product Manager, working primarily on Skate, the T’s bus dispatching tool available on mobile, tablet, and desktop. Skate currently offers on-the-ground officials bus tracking and operator information that helps to manage and monitor buses in real time, allowing officials to focus on service and make quick decisions in the event a bus is out of service or stuck in traffic. As Bus Technology Product Manager for Skate, Molina leads a tech team aimed at expanding Skate to also support bus dispatchers at the Bus Operations Control Center with features for dispatchers anticipated to be launched this summer 2021. Molina’s full USofTech video is available to watch on YouTube.

“Often people think of buses and trains when they think of transit agencies, but behind that are a lot of people making the T run. Working with so many talented and caring people helped humanize the agency,” said Molina. “Skate has a direct impact on people’s jobs within bus operations, and often they come to our team with feedback, which feels meaningful. We love working with the people who manage and care about bus service to build a tool for them that empowers them to do their job well. It’s important to have technologists in government in order to keep up with the fast-paced technical changes spurred by the private industry, which has made it harder to meet riders’/the public’s expectations, as well as the expectations of our own employees. Technologists—and anyone can become technical—have the will and expertise, and we owe it to riders and T employees to improve their experience.”

With a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Women’s and Gender Studies from Willamette University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, and Social Change from Northeastern University, Kalugin joined the MBTA in 2019 as the T’s Transit Equity Programs Specialist. Kalugin leads, manages, and streamlines work focused on increasing access and awareness of the T’s reduced fare programs for students, seniors, people with disabilities, and youth with low-income, including utilizing technology to make it easier for eligible riders to apply. Kalugin proactively collaborates with the T’s community partners and MBTA staff to work through barriers in program participation. Kalugin’s full USofTech video is available to watch on YouTube.

“With a desire to be a part of something larger than myself, working at the T offers the potential to have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives. I try my best to take a collaborative and equitable approach to the design and implementation of services and policies,” said Kalugin. “I want to counter the narrative of government as behind the times when in reality, government is full of people who are mission-driven and focused on reliable and effective services with the resources available to them. While technology doesn’t eliminate all barriers to access, it can be malleable and empower people with self-service options like submitting and viewing the status of an application online and at their own convenience.”

The United States of Technologists is a collective effort to empower 10,000 technologists to enter the public sector across local, state, and federal government. This non-partisan, not-for-profit initiative and its resources are supported by and Tech Talent Project. USofTech’s video impact stories feature diverse, technologically-minded individuals who have worked or currently work in government.

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