June 30, 2017 | Spotlight

First two cohorts complete Institute’s new SRTA Management Academy

First two cohorts complete Institute’s new SRTA Management Academy

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Selected personnel enrolled in the inaugural State Road and Tollway Authority Management Academy were recognized recently for successfully completing the professional development program that the Institute of Government established this year.

Nearly two dozen authority leaders who enrolled in the SRTA Management Academy’s first two cohorts were honored at graduation ceremonies June 28 and 29. SRTA managers and senior staff completed 16 weeks of intensive training in teamwork, motivation, problem-solving and other critical management skills to earn academy certificates.

Participants were introduced to the Management Academy curriculum Feb. 22 at an orientation session led by SRTA Executive Director Christopher Tomlinson and Institute faculty member Mike Hourihan. Hourihan served as course instructor, delivering eight daylong sessions designed to enhance collaboration among supervisors and strengthen management and supervisory skills.

Tomlinson saw the need for a professional development program to help integrate personnel as SRTA and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority merged this year, according to Hourihan. “Chris Tomlinson, SRTA Human Resources Director Craig Southern and I discussed what programs we could offer, and they selected eight topics for the academy,” Hourihan said.

The curriculum includes courses in communication, situational leadership, motivation, conflict management, customer service and more—knowledge that class members say they are already applying in their day-to-day work, according to graduates like Teri-Anne Freinkel.

“For me, the best part of the academy has been the applicability of the lessons. I find that I generally use the skills I learned either that week or the next week,” said Freinkel, an SRTA legal associate.

Procurement Manager and Legal Associate Leanna Pierre found the customer service course provided skills she finds valuable in her work. “People tend to think of customer service as an outward-facing activity, but you also have internal customers and your goal should be to please them just as you try to please your external customers,” Pierre said.

The SRTA Management Academy’s third cohort is expected begin training this fall, though no starting date has been set, Hourihan said.