Jan 03, 2018 -
Ever wanted to sit down and chat with the president of a multi-million dollar corporation? We got you covered. Meet Matt Cole, President of SD-based Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) – one of the major players fueling some of the world’s largest public transit systems. You might have seen Cubic in recent headlines, after it secured huge contracts with transportation counterparts in New York, Boston and London. We wanted to pick Matt’s brain and learn about the man behind it all and why a company like CTS chose San Diego…and he was kind enough to oblige. See below for part 1 of our interview with him.
Q: Where are you from and why did you come to San Diego?
A: I was born in a town called Crawley, which is just south of London in the United Kingdom, which ultimately led to my taking a position with Cubic in 2003 at the European headquarters in Surrey, U.K.. My career has evolved with Cubic as I’ve taken on roles of increasing responsibility that led to me moving to Australia in early 2009 and then from there to San Diego in late 2011.
Q: What does Cubic do?
A: Cubic Corporation is a born-and-grown San Diego-based technology provider that designs, integrates and operates systems, products and services for our customers in the transportation and defense industries. For the corporation’s transportation business (CTS) – of which I am privileged to be the president, our focus is the delivery and operation of advanced payment and information solutions for transportation agencies and operators that enable them to collect revenue and manage their transportation network, while also enabling travelers to choose the easiest way to plan and pay for their journeys.
Q: What are some of the advantages of Cubic’s location in San Diego?
A: Not to minimize the obvious – including the year-round great weather, beautiful beaches and amazing geography for outdoor activities – but San Diego’s attraction as a market for high-tech companies and talent is a real advantage. We have access to a highly educated workforce for talent recruitment owing to a rich academic base of leading universities here in San Diego, and we have less traffic, lower cost of housing and lower real estate costs than the other major tech cities in California including Los Angeles, San Francisco or the Silicon Valley. These are a few of the advantages.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: I find it a privilege and incredibly rewarding to be the leader of an organization. In my role I have the opportunity to interact with customers and employees every single day and I put as much time into communicating in as many ways as I possibly can. For me there is nothing more fulfilling than taking the time to listen, taking action and then hearing that we made a positive difference.
I’m also very passionate about what we do. Our technology and services improve the journeys of nearly 40 million people every single day. To be at the forefront of payment and information technology and to apply it in a way that makes the world better is something I enjoy very much.
Q: Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it?
A: Yes, I’m an incredibly boring man of routine! When I am home in San Diego I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and turn on the coffee as soon as I am up. I spend the first hour of my day clearing out the emails that came in overnight from our international locations (which are two-thirds of the CTS business) and getting the most important tasks for that day done. I then have a small breakfast (normally just a banana) before getting ready and am on the road to the office most days before 7 a.m. I travel for business roughly 50 percent of my time and when I am traveling I tend to vary my routine to include my workout in the morning (which most days is indoor rowing for eight to ten kilometers) rather than working out in the evening, which is what I do when I am home in San Diego.
Q: What do you like to do on the weekends?
A: Because I travel a lot and work long hours, weekends are for the family and generally include playing with the kids in the backyard or taking them to one of many of San Diego’s great attractions for children. For example, my children love the Model Railroad Museum at Balboa Park – an early love of transportation we will certainly encourage! Both my wife and I enjoy movies and we’ll normally fit at least one into either Friday or Saturday night. We also share a love of English football (although she is Liverpool and I am Arsenal) and I’ve also become keenly interested in American football, so there is often at least one form of football on the TV in the background on weekends.
Stay tuned next week, for part 2 of the Q&A - where Matt gives advice to young professionals and talks about the future of CTS and the transportation industry.