Interview with Dorinda McCombs
Dorinda McCombs' 97
Senior Director of Capital Programming,
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Tell us about your decision to get your MBA at CSUSM?
It was an easy decision! At the time CSUSM’s MBA program was newly formed and I was working in the Executive Vice President’s Office. After completing my undergraduate degree at CSUSM in Accounting, I decided to pursue the MBA instead of my CPA because I believed the MBA would provide more flexibility as my career progressed. It was definitely the best decision! The MBA Program at CSUSM provided more of a personal experience with my professors and my classmates became life-long friends. Our group meetings and interactions were more like a family and CSUSM created a safe environment to express ourselves and our opinions.
Where has you career path taken you since graduating?
Immediately after graduating, I was offered a position with one of the top consulting firms in the world, Booz, Allen, Hamilton Consulting (Booz Allen). It was an amazing opportunity and lead me to travel all over the United States and to Germany. I worked on a variety of projects ranging from Business Process Improvement, Data warehousing, Financial Systems Integration and within the Department of Defense. Years later, I worked as a Deputy Commissioner and Director of Management Services for the City of Atlanta where I was responsible for Budgeting and Oracle Financial Systems implementation. Currently, I am working with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).
Tell us about your current organization?
MARTA is one of the top 10 Transportation Agencies in the country. We serve over 1.7 million Atlanta residents and we provide bus, rail and mobility services.
Tell us about your role?
My current role is Senior Director of Capital Programming under the Department of Capital Programs, Expansion and Innovation. I am responsible for execution of the ten-year $3.5 Billion Capital Improvement Program.
Recently, the residents of the City of Atlanta and Clayton County both approved an additional sales tax referendum to permit funding for expansion. These two referendums provided an additional $3.6 Billion over the next ten years. This is our “MoreMARTA” expansion program and will include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail (LRT) transit modes into additional counties in Metro Atlanta.
What is your favorite part of your job?
It is different every day! This is an exciting time for MARTA because we are embarking on a new and innovative time in our history. Expansion and growth provide new opportunities to think outside of the box and work closely with our communities and constituents.
Important lessons you have learned in management/leadership roles?
Be the change that you seek. It is important to have a solid strategy and to build flexibility into it and seek input from others. You are not an island. If you are flexible, then you can weather any storm.
Have you recently been recognized by the business community?
I was honored to receive recognition as one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Georgia” from Engineering Georgia Magazine in February 2020!
Any advice for students or alumni?
Have a technical skill that is complimentary to your industry. Pivot tables in MS Excel and Visio diagrams are used across all industries. Become an expert in them no matter what your major is at CSUSM.
What is your favorite memory from CSUSM MBA?
Working with the Associated Students! They are creative and always challenging the status quo. It is necessary for innovation. The Associated Students are the heart of the university. They bring a voice to the future of industry. Listen to them.