On the job: University’s Growth Challenges Parking and Transportation Director
Posted: June 23, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
Photo courtesy of Josh Cantor
Arguably one of the most wearisome jobs at Mason belongs to the director of parking and transportation, Josh Cantor. At a time when the university is experiencing immense growth with ever-evolving traffic patterns, Cantor often finds himself directly under a spotlight.
“Altering peoples’ customary commutes isn’t an easy thing to do; we frequently get calls from people … (pause) … expressing their opinions,” Cantor says, carefully choosing his words. “What many people don’t realize is that all of this change and growth is a positive, exciting thing.”
While some people strive for recognition from peers and colleagues for a job well done, Cantor sees it differently. As far as the Office of Parking and Transportation is concerned, not hearing about a job or event is usually a sign that things are going well.
“Our goal is to get people to and from campus without them having to think about issues that may arise due to unforeseen transportation delays,” Cantor says. “[Commuting is] a big part of everyone’s day, so when my office doesn’t hear about it, that usually means things are running smoothly and we’re doing a good job.”
Cantor has been at Mason since 2005. He’s usually busy attending meetings (large and small), updating message boards (urgent and marginal) and sending and receiving e-mails (pleasant and not-so-pleasant). Being associated with nearly every aspect of campus operations is demanding, but that’s what Cantor enjoys most.
“I love being in a position where you have an understanding of so many different areas throughout the university,” Cantor says. “When we’re dealing with one area, we usually know how it might impact another. So often we find ourselves as intermediaries between different areas.”
Before coming to Mason, Cantor worked for more than five years for a congressman in Southern California. The political experience helps as he continually develops and communicates a wide range of messages to the Mason community.
“Working in a congressional office, we were taught to treat every problem as if it came from our own family members,” Cantor explains. “That was our principle then, and I’m trying to apply that now. When people come to us with concerns, we see it as an opportunity to educate them on the situation and focus on the many positives happening to our campuses.”
Though Mason’s transportation program is still in its infancy, a great deal of progress has been made since Cantor’s arrival. A new bicycle program, expanded shuttle services and additional parking options are a few of the many changes.
“We still have a long, long ways to go. It’s really a never-ending process,” Cantor says. “The combination of rising gas prices and Mason’s commitment to sustainability gives us additional opportunities and motivation to continue developing new programs.”
Cantor’s nonstop work schedule is a lot like his family schedule. With three boys, ages 8, 6, and 3 months, Cantor says it’s fair to say the children occupy most of his time outside the office.
His calendar is booked solid with his sons’ baseball, soccer, hockey and Boy Scout activities. But he’s happy to have them take the spotlight.