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Blue Devil of the Week: Keeping Campus on the Go

Patricia Medley manages the flow of Duke’s transit

Patricia Medley by a bus
Duke Parking & Transportation Services' Patricia Medley helps oversee the bus traffic on Duke's campus. Photo by Stephen Schramm.

Name: Patricia Medley

Position: Assistant Transportation Supervisor, Duke Parking & Transportation Services

Years at Duke: 2

What she does: After joining the Parking & Transportation Services team as a driver in 2021, Medley moved into her current role as assistant transportation supervisor last fall. While she occasionally drives a bus route, most of her time is spent coordinating driver schedules, passing along advice on safety and customer service, helping oversee transportation needs of special events, and relaying maintenance information from the drivers to the team in the bus garage.

Patrica Medley behind the wheel of a bus. With around 38 drivers handing roughly 30 buses and vans, her plate is usually full.

“It takes a lot to provide safe transportation to many different groups of people,” Medley said. “We come in contact with hundreds of people a day, so I think that’s rewarding. But people don’t always realize how much work goes into safety when you’re maneuvering on campus, where there’s all sorts of traffic and pedestrians. You’re trying to maintain a schedule, be safe and get people where they need to go in a timely situation.”

What she values about working at Duke: Whether it’s the colleagues she’s gotten to know or the students, staff and faculty members she’s met while driving routes around campus, Medley said the people she’s met at Duke are a delight.

Working alongside upbeat and interesting people is something that leaves her happy to come to work each day.

“I love the fact that you can come into contact with people from all across the world,” Medley said. “You meet curious people, people that have questions and want to know just as much about you as you would want to know about them. Nearly everyone I’ve met at Duke has been warm and welcoming and exactly the kind of people I want to come to work with.”

A Duke Bus Something people may not know: Medley had long become comfortable behind the wheel of big machines before she began driving Duke’s buses. Starting her career in transportation and logistics in her mid-20s, she’s driven city buses, charter buses, delivery trucks and even dump trucks and cement trucks for crews paving area roads.

“I like to see results before and after you work,” she said. “There’s nothing like tearing a street up and then putting it back and making it look better.”

She said it often comes as a surprise when she tells people that she didn’t get her drivers’ license until she was 23. Growing up in New Jersey, she relied on public transportation. So when she moved to North Carolina as a senior in high school, she rarely felt the need to drive.

Finally, family and friends pressured her into learning to drive, inadvertently leading her to the career path she’s still rolling down.

Is there a colleague at Duke who has an intriguing job or goes above and beyond to make a difference? Nominate that person for Blue Devil of the Week.