Commute Solutions, Transportation, Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association
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For 43 years, Astronics AES has been building industry-standard, state-of-the-art electronic systems for aircraft. As one can imagine, this takes a lot of very smart people. Luckily, they put their good brains to use in more ways than one and created an outstanding commute program that eliminates thousands of car trips every year. The drive to put together a successful commute program stemmed from Astronics’ concern about the region’s air quality problems from automobile emissions, their own parking shortages, and the State’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) law.

The key to the success of Astronics’ program are the employees, according to Astronics AES Executive Vice President Mark Peabody. He describes them as “natural problem solvers who have a genuine desire to do the right thing.” In Astronics’ case, doing the right thing means adhering to the company philosophy of “contributing to the community and being a good corporate citizen.” Reducing congestion and pollution by getting employees out of their cars is a large part of this philosophy.

     
   
     

Not only does Astronics have the desire to do the right thing, but they also have a good plan. First, they found that vanpooling worked best at their work site for getting the highest amount of employees to work. Second, Astronics developed a program that transitions people into vanpools by first offering extra cash to those who carpool, and then enticing carpoolers with even more money to make the switch to a vanpool. Personal touches like two company-hosted lunches for potential vanpoolers to link up with those who live near them, and having the ETC hand deliver incentive checks to each employee help to take Astronics’ program a step beyond. Now, a commute-alternative friendly culture is prevalent at Astronics. Their own ETC, John Wiltshire, was a GRTMA “Commute Champion” in 2007 for his outstanding leadership by example, and company bicyclist Alex Brown won a Tour de Redmond award for “Most Miles Commuted.”

 



Looking ahead towards the future, Peabody sees ongoing challenges: “Like many others, some of our employees have the traditional mind set that driving a car to work everyday is a normal and acceptable practice. We are doing our best to change that perception through education and by leadership example.” And that’s the secret for creating better commuting habits: lead by example, personalize it, and, as Peabody adds, “Be diligent - keep pumping the message out... and don’t reinvent the wheel.” Congratulations to Astronics for their great work and leadership!

 

 
 
 
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