For Gatekeeper’s Abdul Azim, nearly every day is filled with new and urgent challenges as the Operations Manager responsible for The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
SEPTA is the sixth-largest public transit system in the United States, with a fleet of over 3600 vehicles and serves 1.3 million customers every day.
In his role, Azim oversees shipping and receiving, as well as a team of 15 technicians who support SEPTA.
With such an important position, Azim keeps himself and his team ready for anything. “Anytime I get a call from SEPTA, that’s the most important thing of the minute,” he said.
Azim said that shouldering that much responsibility has been rewarding, but it’s also had some unintended side effects.
“Before I started working here, I did not have all this gray hair,” he said.
For Azim, having a bit more gray is just part of the job. “Me and my wife joke about it all the time, and I tell her I wouldn’t want to be in any other position,” he said.
Azim started working for Gatekeeper as a field technician nearly 4 years ago and quickly started moving up. He had previously been a Fleet Operations Manager for a different company and sought out a position with Gatekeeper knowing he had the ideal skill set to help grow their Transit division.
Azim was promoted to his current role of Operations Manager within two months of being hired and has since played a key role in growing his department.
Seeing his division thrive has been personally satisfying, but Azim said he also takes pride in the role he has in helping keep the people of Philadelphia safe.
When incidents happen in Philadelphia, in transit vehicles and on the street, one of the first people the police call is Azim. “The reason being is because SEPTA vehicles have multiple cameras. Some facing the street, some facing the curb, some forward-facing interior cameras that catch exterior views,” he said. “It’s been ingrained in me that anytime I hear something going on in the city, my first thought is okay, video better be there.”
The video captured by Azim’s department has helped with multiple cases, and it’s that sense of accountability to the people of Philadelphia that he instills in his team.
“We have to take care and leave the job with some pride in our performance knowing that when it’s called into duty, that the video is there,” he said.
Outside of work, Azim enjoys staying active and walks five miles every day after work.
“That’s every day rain or shine, I know that’s what I’m doing after work,” he said.
He also loves riding his motorcycle, but his greatest joy is his family. “I’m a family man. Big. Above all else,” he said.
He might have more grays in his beard now, and an added level of stress when watching the nightly news, but Azim said he’s right where he wants to be.
“I love what I do. I love the responsibility that I have, and I wouldn’t want to be in any other position.”