Tony Byrd, Director of Maintenance, GRTC
The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) has appointed Tony Byrd as Director of Maintenance. He started his new role on August 30, 2020.
Byrd is a classic GRTC achievement, starting in 1989 as a mechanic in training and working his way up both in the maintenance department and in the union department as a shop steward and later vice president.
“For over 30 years Tony has been a vital member of the GRTC family, contributing both to the culture of teamwork and to the advancement of the company,” said GRTC CEO Julie Timm. “I am proud of this internal promotion and I have no doubts that Tony will continue to lead the maintenance team with a dynamic spirit. ”
Byrd says he attributes much of his professional growth over the years to his “family away from home,” the maintenance team. All of the maintenance staff, including those who have since retired, have all provided guidance to help Byrd develop his professional skills and camaraderie.
“I hope to bring unity and positive change to the maintenance department. If we can coexist together and make a difference, there is no limit to what we can all do, ”Byrd said.
The winter 2009 snowstorm that occurred during the maintenance move of the old bus barn from Cary Street to Belt Boulevard is both his biggest challenge at GRTC and the perfect example of how teamwork made the transition possible.
Byrd recalls, “We didn’t miss a day of bus work (in the blizzard). We worked them in the barn, moved them the same day (through the snow) and continued to work.
The success of the team is the foundation of Maintenance, where Byrd has both competed in and supported Roadeo competitions locally and at the state level over the years. GRTC’s maintenance team recently won the award for best maintenance team in 2019 at the Annual State Roadeo in Virginia, once again propelling GRTC’s total score to first place for best overall property in Virginia.
Byrd seemed destined for a successful career in maintenance. From a motivated 13-year-old working on cars to spending two years in high school studying mechanics, he fulfilled his high school yearbook prediction that he would be a mechanic after graduation. His mother, a former GRTC supervisor, encouraged him to apply for the position of training mechanic at GRTC. Family support has always been essential to its development.
“The hardest challenge of my life is to keep my grandparents proud of me. My grandparents raised me and I keep the bar high to make them proud, even after they are gone, ”Byrd said.
While leading the maintenance department, he says his advice to new mechanics is to keep dreaming, aspire to leadership, and take action to achieve personal goals.