Longtime City of Boston Transportation Commissioner credits Suffolk with making him a better manager
Whether it’s replacing a fallen road sign or redesigning a main thoroughfare, when it comes to transportation in Boston, the buck stops with Thomas Tinlin. As Commissioner of Boston’s Department of Transportation, Tinlin is responsible for ensuring Boston residents can move around the city’s infamous “cow paths” safely and efficiently – by foot, car and bike. He manages a small army of employees spread out across Boston fixing potholes, cleaning the streets, replacing streetlights, and enforcing parking restrictions, a responsibility he takes seriously but thoroughly loves.
“I have a moment almost daily were I am excited to do what I do,” says Tinlin, who lives in South Boston. “Every day I am given a gift to touch someone’s life and hopefully make it a little better. It can be something small like fixing a sign outside someone’s home or something huge like Rutherford Ave. The gift of public service which Mayor Menino has given me is amazing.”
Already a seasoned professional, Tinlin went back to Suffolk for his Master’s of Public Administration in order to hone his management skills. As a student, he worked with a team researching and writing about the high-profile and controversial Cape Wind farm project that has been in the works for many years. Tinlin also says a class trip to Washington D.C. with Professor Linda Melconian opened his eyes to the ways in which what happens – or doesn’t happen – there affects ordinary Americans’ lives. On a daily basis, though, the Commissioner says he applies techniques and principles he gleaned from his professors and fellow students while at Suffolk.
“I find that I am able to team build better, and take into account all sides of an issue before I make a decision,” he says, adding that he seeks a wider array of views now than he did before starting his master’s work.
“I would say my degree and the experience prepared me for an ever changing world. I think education when you are mid-career is a great opportunity, for the world is much different than when I started my career.”