Blacksburg's Bike/Bus Boss: Mackenzie Jarvis
Working at Virginia Tech since June 1, 2015
Mackenzie Jarvis started working with the Alternative Transportation program as an intern during her senior year at Virginia Tech. Today, Jarvis is the manager of Virginia Tech’s Alternative Transportation program, which is housed in the Office of Parking and Transportation.
The Alternative Transportation program oversees initiatives that encourage students, employees, and the community to find ways to get to, from, and around campus without being the single occupant of a vehicle. She’s played an integral role in building the program over the last few years and is known by her colleagues as someone who “walks the walk” (or perhaps more accurately, “bikes the bike”). Jarvis rides a bike to and from campus every day, rain or shine.
Q: What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
A: I work with alternative transportation on campus, meaning I’m involved with any transportation that is not one person alone in one car. I work with programs and infrastructure for things like bikes, pedestrians, bus transit, and even skateboards, scooters and mopeds.
Q: How did you come to work here?
A: I did both my bachelor’s and master’s at Virginia Tech. I was born in North Carolina and my family is military, so we moved often. I fell in love with Virginia Tech the first time I came to campus, so now I call it home. It’s also where I’ve lived the longest.
I have been captivated by transportation since I was a little girl. When my family lived in Belgium, I made a game of naming all the cars on the Autobahn by the shape of their headlights. Years later, when I was studying at Virginia Tech I found the field of urban planning, which suited my skills and provided challenges and discovered that one specialization in the field is transportation. It was a perfect fit! I dove head on into transportation planning and began to appreciate how critical it is to have a diversified transportation plan, to ensure long-term sustainability.
That first year I applied to 90 internships and finally ended up gratefully working 40 hours per week, unpaid as a bicycle and pedestrian programs intern. This helped me to earn my next position as an intern for the Office of Alternative Transportation in my senior year of college, and was thrilled to return as bicycle and communications coordinator as I finished graduate school.
It is my honor to have these opportunities (first as an intern, then bicycle and communications coordinator and now, as alternative transportation manager) to work towards my personal and professional goal of furthering mass and active transportation options, for the place I now call home and alma mater, Virginia Tech.
I have a long history with Virginia Tech Alternative Transportation and I love it very much, so I'm excited to be here.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like bikes, and I bike to work every day. On top of that, I go home for lunch, so I take the trip four times a day so that I can get some more miles in. I'm trying to get into more recreational riding, too. I also really love to cook and do yoga, and I paint.
I love country, pop, electronica and classics like Frank Sinatra.
Written by Steve Barnett, a 2015 multimedia journalism graduate currently studying public relations.
First published: March 21, 2017