Sal's New Job: A Day in the Life of Trinity Metro's New Government Relations Director

Sal Espino

Sal Espino

Trinity Metro's new government relations director has a big job: helping position the transit agency in an environment long on opportunity for public transit, but short on consensus and money.

6 a.m. Time to start my day! While my 13-year-old son, Daniel, gets ready to go to school, I prepare my first cup of coffee. I review the online versions of the local newspapers (Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Business Press and Dallas Business Journal).

7:15 a.m. Daniel and I head out so I can drop him off at the International Leadership of Texas School.

8 a.m. By now, I’m likely at a breakfast meeting with an elected official or other Trinity Metro stakeholder. If my schedule is clear, I head downtown to our Trinity Metro offices in Burnett Plaza.

8:15 a.m. Review daily updates out of Washington and Austin for any legislative matters affecting Trinity Metro. I also keep an eye on transportation issues in general. Read The Texas Tribune for state issues and Politico for national issues. Peruse national newspapers online like The New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the American Public Transportation Association website for legislative alerts.

8:40 a.m. Review incoming emails and respond to any requests and dive into my day.

9 a.m. Meet with President/CEO Paul Ballard and discuss top priorities and upcoming legislative engagement.

9:30 a.m. In-house meeting on government relation issues.

10:30 a.m. Call or email city council members to coordinate bus or train rides with Trinity Metro. My goal is to have all city council members and county commissioners ride along with me.

11 a.m. Coordinate visits with elected officials at the county, state and federal levels.

Noon. To me, lunchtime is an opportunity to spend time with someone in the community and support our local restaurants. My working lunches tend to be with a Trinity Metro stakeholder – usually an elected official or community leader. If I pick the restaurant, I like to visit my favorites on the Northside.

2 p.m. Afternoon meetings advancing the cause of public transit with community partners or other stakeholders.

3:30 p.m. Depending on the day, I will attend Trinity Metro board meetings, or I might be at a city council committee meeting if public transportation or funding is being discussed.

4:30 p.m. Review my to-do list and determine next steps.

After 5 p.m. Attend events or meetings to facilitate more understanding of Trinity Metro’s Master Plan and to move forward on our local, state and federal legislative priorities. I help spread the word on social media by posting about events I attend or routes I use.

6:30-7 p.m. Back home to enjoy dinner with my family. These are treasured times because I get to hear about school from Daniel and my 17-year-old daughter, Alyssa. And I get to spend time with my high school sweetheart and wife of 30 years, Elizabeth. Sometimes our oldest sons, Sal Jr. and Robert, join us.

7:30 p.m. If my kids need help with homework, I jump in to assist. But sometimes I wonder why everything is taught so differently than when I was in school. Keeps me on my toes!

8:30 p.m. I like to end my day by watching a good history documentary on Netflix or “A Football Life,” a documentary series on the NFL Network.