Tom Fairchild is a connector.
Anyone who knows Mobility Lab’s director has experienced his knack for working a room, his ability to speak to virtually anyone, and his habit of making introductions (and high fives).
The only down side to this is that it can be hard to get Fairchild to leave an event. He loves people that much; they give him energy. There’s always one last person to talk to, one more relationship to nurture.
“Tom has star quality,” Lois DeMeester, CEO and founder of Arlington Transportation Partners and Mobility Lab, told me. That about sums it up.
It’s not surprising, then, that Fairchild, along with several other transportation industry professionals, was recognized at the 28th Annual Dulles Area Transportation Association (DATA) awards ceremony. The swank May 8 event was dubbed “Live More, Commute Less,” which is an idea Mobility Lab and Fairchild can get behind.
The DATA Awards also lauded the late Ronald Kirby. The director of transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), Kirby was posthumously honored with a Career Achievement award for his 26 years of service in shaping the region’s transportation policy and infrastructure.
Chuck Bean, executive director of COG, received the award on Kirby’s behalf. During his speech, he referred to Kirby as the “transportation planner’s transportation planner.” While I never had the pleasure of meeting Kirby, he was clearly beloved by many, and his loss continues to be felt.
After the event, Fairchild, who has been at Mobility Lab since 2010 and prior to that was engaged in a variety of organizations related to Arlington’s stunning Smart Growth journey, such as the Clarendon Alliance, described the award as a win for Mobility Lab itself. True to form for a connector, and (why not say it) a star.
Complete list of DATA Awards speakers and award recipients:
- Charles Kirkpatrick, P.E., commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation – keynote speaker
- Jack Potter, president and CEO, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – Founder’s award
- Ronald F. Kirby (1944-2013), former director of transportation at COG – Career Achievement award
- Ryan DeWeese, Reston Hospital Center – Business Partner award
- Cornerstones, Partner Organization award
- Marcia McAllister, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project – Transportation Professional award
- Betty Hettinger, National Renaissance Office – Special Achievement award
- Beth Amedeo, Local Motion Alexandria – Sustainability Partner award
- Robin Wilson, SPHR, Goodwin House Alexandria – Sustainability Partner award
- Tom Fairchild, Mobility Lab – TDM Partner award
Photo by M.V. Jantzen