Posted on 1/8/2016
Chesapeake Alum Makes Maryland MTA Model of Efficiency
In celebration of Chesapeake College’s 50th anniversary, we’re pleased to launch “Peake Proud,” a weekly column showcasing our alumni each Friday.
WYE MILLS - Chesapeake College alumni Paul Comfort (Class of 1985) is literally one of Maryland’s biggest ‘movers and shakers.’ As the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) CEO, Comfort oversees a 3,300-person agency responsible for moving 400,000 people safely and efficiently to work or school every day through bus, rail and mobility systems.
An Eastern Shore native, Paul was a Chesapeake scholar/athlete (second base, baseball) who started his career in public service as an elected member of the Student Advisory Board/SGA. He also worked on campus 10 hours a week before graduating with honors and an A.A. degree in Humanities and Social Sciences. Comfort went on to receive his B.A. from University of Maryland Baltimore County (1987) and J.D. from the University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Law (1996).
A seasoned transportation executive who previously served as top administrator for Charles and Queen Anne’s counties, Comfort was an elected official when chosen by Governor Hogan to be MTA’s CEO in May 2015. Learn why this respected executive credits his place at the pinnacle of transportation and government to his time at Chesapeake College.
Peake Proud: 5 Questions for MTA CEO Paul Comfort
Q: In 30 words or less, what was your standout Chesapeake experience?
A: Being elected President of the SAB and helping to lead student involvement with the college leadership and develop great student activities was a highlight of my college career.
Q: Did you have a favorite instructor?
A: Dr. Conway Gregory was my favorite instructor. I took history, government and political science classes with him all four semesters. His direct, interesting teaching style and subject matter knowledge influenced my choices to earn a Bachelor’s degree in history and pursue a career in government and politics. He was a larger than life personality who took an interest in me and we shared many philosophical discussions.
Q: What advice would you give your 20-year old self?
A: Study what you love (I did) and pursue a career where your passion and abilities intersect (ditto). That is your destiny.
Q: What technologies do you regularly rely on in your job that didn’t exist when you attended Chesapeake?
A: Considering I graduated 30 years ago, the better question would be what technologies existed during my Chesapeake tenure that ARE still used today! While technological advances have fundamentally changed the nature of business and our daily lives, the foundation of a great educational experience is having a clear mind and focused intent to learn. If you love what you are studying, you will want to learn it.
Q: Last question is a ‘fill in the blank.’ Because of my time at Chesapeake, I am ___:
A: I am passionate about community colleges and the value of education they provide. I also was able to graduate without any student debt. Finally, Chesapeake helped stoke my interest in politics and government, setting a life and career path that has brought me to the pinnacle of my chosen professions.