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I’ve been in transportation consulting for 31 years. That’s my entire career.
What keeps me inspired is the fact that transportation impacts everyone almost every day. You can’t go long without catching a bus or a
As we make improvements to the transportation system, as we make it safer and more efficient, we really are having an impact on the daily lives of people all over the United States.
Chris Hill leads Booz Allen's surface transportation and aviation business, supporting clients at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Amtrak, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the U.S. Postal Service.
He has more than 30 years of experience as a transportation consultant. His current focus is on research, planning, and policy development within the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) industry.
His work supported federal, state, and local government agencies as well as private-sector clients. Chris' technical experience ranges broadly, to include connected vehicles, traffic management, traveler information, disaster management, public transportation, toll collection, and commercial vehicle applications.
Before he joined Booz Allen, Chris founded Mixon Hill, Inc. and served as a president
He has a master’s in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in transportation systems from the University of Nottingham, U.K.
Tell me about your job at Booz Allen. What do you do and what does it look like from day to day? My job is to lead the federal transportation business—essentially all the work that we do for Federal Aviation Administration and the various surface transportation modes at U.S. Department of Transportation, plus Amtrak and the Transportation Research Board, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences.
What was your very first job? My stepdad ran an auto dealership. When I was 14 I had double duty there, cleaning up service bays and pumping gas.
Why do you have the career you have? It was a little bit by accident. As I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree a professor asked if I would join him at the small applied research company he ran.
Once I started working I discovered that it was all about transportation. We did a lot of cutting-edge technology development work that I found very interesting and I just stuck with it.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment so far? Professionally, I’m proudest of having worked on some early requirements for influential technologies. If you have an EZ Pass toll tag in your car, I led the team that developed the core requirements for that technology.
What are the biggest opportunities in transportation today? Though they will take some time to deploy, new technologies like vehicle automation really will revolutionize transportation. Self-driving cars and sharing services like Lyft will lead to a new model for vehicle ownership or lack thereof. With aviation, there are enormously exciting new technologies that, once integrated into air traffic control, will enable efficiencies that reduce airport congestion, particularly at major hubs.
What advice would you give a new boss? Invest in the people who work for you. You can never spend too much time getting to know them and understanding their aspirations, what they want out of their careers, what their dream jobs look like. Help them develop to their full potential. Do that above anything else. If the people on your team are inspired by you and ready to follow you, they will succeed and so will you.
What are your keys to successfully managing and motivating people? There’s great value in being a motivational leader. There will always be challenges, but a colleague of mine recently noted that you have to be like a duck on the water—paddling frantically beneath the waves, perhaps, but gliding merrily along the surface to any onlookers. Acknowledge challenges, but don’t allow them to affect your attitude. Remain focused on the positive. Communicate your belief that you’re going to succeed.
What’s your ideal retirement? I’m a huge book person, so I would love to have a used bookstore, not to make money from it because that might be impossible these days, but just to be surrounded by books and book people.
What’s something that not many people know about you? I’m arguably one of the world’s largest collectors of Doctor Who merchandise from the 1960s and 70s. It’s a British sci-fi TV show. If you’ve been in my house you know that because you can’t miss it, but it’s not something I generally boast about.