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Scott Sauer: Leading Safety Initiatives at SEPTA and Nationwide

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Information Manager

Scott Sauer has always maintained a commitment to safety throughout his 23-year SEPTA career. When he joined the Authority as a trolley operator in 1990, Sauer had to ensure the safe operation of his vehicle. Today, as SEPTA's director of System Safety and Risk Management, he not only leads SEPTA's safety initiatives, he is also helping to shape national programs as a newly appointed member of the Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) Board of Directors.

OLI uses a national network of trained volunteers to offer free presentations on rail safety that are geared toward preventing accidents, injuries and deaths at rail crossings and along railroad rights of way. Sauer has been an authorized OLI volunteer since 2006 and previously served on the board of directors of the organization's Pennsylvania chapter.

"Operation Lifesaver has historically been a freight rail focused organization," said Sauer. "I'm excited to bring my transit background to Operation Lifesaver and share the programs we have implemented at SEPTA on a national level."

"We have made great advancements into the rail transit community and we want to go further," said OLI President and CEO Joyce Rose. "Scott's appointment helps us do that."

OLI approached SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey about the Board opening earlier this year. There was no question that Sauer was the only choice for the position. "Scott has been committed to expanding our safety education programs since joining his division, not only as an Operation Lifesaver presenter, but also through his efforts to increase the number of safety blitzes and community programs our safety officers offer," said Casey. "Most recently, Scott spearheaded system-wide Safety Day, when 500 employee volunteers were stationed at 160 SEPTA locations to educate our customers and the public about transit safety. This will become an annual event."

Sauer is a second-generation SEPTA employee - his father was a trolley operator and Market-Frankford Line cashier from 1965-95. At SEPTA, Sauer has served as a trolley, bus and Market-Frankford Line operator and a transportation manager - gaining invaluable rail and bus operations and managerial experience for his positions as a safety officer, Operational Safety manager and System Safety and Risk Management director - a role he assumed this year.

"In my first four years in System Safety, I totally engrossed myself in the job and learned everything I could," said Sauer. "I am fortunate to have had Jim Fox [now SEPTA's Chief Control Center Officer] as my mentor. He gave me the opportunity to do what I needed to advance in my job."

Sauer received his master's degree in environmental protection and safety management from St. Joseph's University and earned a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation ("the crowning moment" for building his career). He joined System Safety at a time when Fox was building up the department's outreach efforts. Sauer volunteered to lead SEPTA's efforts to have the Authority's safety officers trained as OLI presenters and took responsibility for increasing the number of safety blitz education programs at stations, transportation centers, schools and community events.

"SEPTA's leadership has pushed safety to the forefront and has been extremely supportive in our efforts to teach our riders and members of the community how to be safe around our vehicles and facilities," said Sauer. "We are creating a culture of safety for our customers, the public and our employees. I am looking forward to sharing our initiatives and successes on a national platform."

Sauer's tenure on the OLI board began this month. For more information on OLI, click here.


SEPTA Director of System Safety and Risk Management Scott Sauer started his career as a trolley operator in 1990.



Sauer addressed the media at a location along the West Trenton Regional Rail Line during the Authority's first Safety Day, May 1, 2013.



Sauer joined Philadephia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers to place the first of this year's Fire Prevention Week car cards in one of the Authority's buses.



As an Operation Lifesaver volunteer, Sauer makes presentations across SEPTA's service region at schools and to community groups.