Metro Magazine

SEP-OCT 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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72 < m ETRO m AGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 Eve Williams Te company started in Milwaukee in 1979, but moved to Texas in 1983 to get involved with light rail systems. In 1991, Dikita became a prime consultant for DART, helping design roughly two miles of its frst 20 miles of rail. Dikita then went on to do program management, quality control, safety, sys- tems integrations and railcar vehicle in- spection for DART as a sub-consultant. However, Dikita's now designing and managing the construction of DART's last two-and-a-half miles of rail, from the tracks to the stations, as a prime. "DART has approximately 90 miles of rail since its start in 1991," Williams says. "We started the frst mile as a prime con- sultant, and now, we're ending the last mile as a joint-ventured prime. Being a fairly small company with 48 employ- ees, people are always amazed at what we can deliver." Despite her success, Williams says be- ing a woman in transportation is often the most challenging part of her job. "Aside from being a non-engineer in the engineering business, I'm also an Af- rican American female in a male-domi- nated industry," Williams says. "My intel- lect and confdence is often tested, so as females, I believe we have to think smart- er and have moxie." Williams is actively involved in her community on initiatives like local boards, city politics and the Chamber of Com- merce. She's also chair of APTA's Business Member Small Business Committee. "That might be one of the most grati- fying things I do," Williams says. "I help mentor other small businesses. I'm not afraid of creating competitors; I fgure I'm fostering future partners." Outside of work Williams is an avid supporter of the arts for today's youth. She contributes regularly to organiza- tions like Dallas/Fort Worth's Te Black Academy of Arts and Letters as well as school foundations. — Brittni Rubin A strong background in business and computers is what makes Eve Williams, CEO/president of civil engineering frm Dikita Enterprises, an irreplaceable part of her team. Williams, who holds an MBA in ac- c ou nt i ng a n d i n f o r mat i o n sy st e m s, brought the frst computer to Dikita. She computerized its financials in 1986 and went on to spearhead a ridership data col- lection initiative, which has become one of the company's most marketable ser- vice oferings. When it comes to engineering, plan- ning and project management, Dikita promotes itself on a local level, working with notable transit authorities including Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). How- ever, the company's ridership data collec- tion has grown as a national service. "It's sort of like a census," Williams says. "If a municipality receives federal funds, they have to know certain information about their ridership. We collect that data, analyze it and pass it along. Transit agen- cies are then able to see how well they are serving their community. You can mea- sure compliance, redesign routes or in- crease transit." Williams came up with the idea and software application in the early '80s when her father, Dikita's founder Lucious Williams, was busy monitoring engineer- ing projects. At the time, she was still in college and known as the "queen" of com- puter programming. "Back then, we used a handheld com- puter the size of a cigarette carton — I was instrumental in programming it and in- fluencing DART to use it," she says. "Of course, the handheld devices are now cell phones, PDAs and tablets." When she saw passenger counting be- coming automated, Dikita started incor- porating origin-destination passenger interviews into their data collection ofer- ings. Te company collects real-time geo- graphical information without the use of the Internet. This personalized compo- nent is now a key selling point. Within the company, Williams has moved from VP, fnance to chief fnancial ofcer to CEO. "It's a good thing I studied business," Williams says. "When I see people man- aging an engineering company with only technical skills, I know they strug- gle. I absorbed management, marketing and accounting, and that's helped me keep an edge for understanding what makes money and what doesn't…and my computer skills help me use tech- nology to analyze that quicker than ev- erybody else." WOMEN IN TRANSPORTATION Williams is actively involved in her community on initiatives like local boards and city politics. She's also chair of APTA's Business Member Small Business Committee. CEO/President TITLE Dikita Enterprises ORGANIZATION Dallas, Texas CITY

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