Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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He Keeps Things On Track

SEPTA Chief Mechanical Officer Henry Davis turns the light on in his office at 69th Street Terminal before 6 a.m. The 28-year veteran is responsible for approximately 530 City and Suburban rail vehicles, maintaining all phases of SEPTA's light-rail and heavy-rail fleet. From resolving mechanical issues, performing vehicle inspections, insuring the cleanliness and quantity of the fleet, to assigning proper personnel for service, Davis is prepared for a long and productive day.

Recruited out of school as a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist, Davis originally planned to have his own refrigeration business but, he joked, that "cooled off."

"As I grew with the job, it grew with me and I had to abandon that notion," said Davis.

Since then, he has worked in many capacities during his tenure, each fortifying his understanding of the rail fleet. As a manager, foreman and superintendent, he accumulated a wealth of knowledge and skills in vehicle maintenance. He was Chief Officer of the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines before attaining his current position as Chief Mechanical Officer. He knows his job well.

Davis begins his day by communicating with his directors over nine SEPTA districts to assess rail vehicle condition, performance, and other issues; service reports and e-mail are read, and by 7 a.m. "the phones ring off the hook." His daily schedule includes site visits, vehicle inspections, meetings and other required functions.

"It just doesn't stop," said Davis. "I have to get to bed early so I can be refreshed for the next day and try to squeeze in a morning work-out. I guess that's where my multi-tasking begins."

Davis takes his job very seriously and seems to have an endless amount of energy.

"I enjoy getting the job done; to do it you not only need to know how to rectify a problem quickly but also how to manage people," he said.

Guiding a host of over 600 employees including general mechanics, sheet metal workers, electricians, HVAC specialists, rail equipment specialists, welders, cleaners, and other trades, he works to insure that the fleets are properly maintained and on the rails ready to pick up waiting passengers.

"I enjoy working with everyone on my team and I couldn't do it without them," said Davis. "Over the years I have developed close relationships with many of them and that helps us to work that much better together."

Davis attempts to leave the office for the day at 3 p.m. but that's rare. "I often stay late or take work home. It's really not a problem. We have to make sure our vehicles are safe, clean, and reliable daily for our customers. I love this job; I wouldn't want to do anything else."

The next time you find yourself on a subway or trolley platform know that Davis is there to keep things on track.

SEPTA Chief Mechanical Officer Henry Davis

Davis is responsible for the daily maintenance over 530 rail vehicles.

It's not unusual to find Davis performing spot inspections on the rail fleet.

Davis is a multi-tasker.