Interview with Moe Bouji – Our Computer Engineering Expert
Moe Bouji, PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) has been at Genfare for over 4 years. At Genfare, he is a Product Manager who focuses on Genfare Link and Mobile Link. He attended Marquette University and earned a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Read more about how Moe’s work impacts transit agencies in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.
How did you get your start in technology?
Well, I had a nag and desire to know how things work and especially the things that are more interesting are the electronics. I opened up a couple of radios to use them and then screw them up.
When did you start getting into it? What kind of motivated everything?
Actually, it’s the curiosity to know how things work. The electronics were the things that you can’t really figure out when you open them up, because like, if it’s a mechanical toy you kind of know what’s going on, but if it’s an electrical toy, you see nothing. Nothing makes sense to you like at a younger age. So that’s what got me into technology and electronics and it evolved from that.
How long have you been working with technology?
I would say since 1998.
Did you always want to start working with technology?
Yeah. I always knew [I wanted to]. It did intrigue me because like, you know, when I open up a toy, if it’s mechanical I can figure it out, but if it’s electronics, I couldn’t and that’s what got me interested in it.
What brought you over to Genfare then?
I just needed to change the field right, go into an industry. I do like the fact that Genfare is in public transportation. So, to me it’s satisfying with technology and public service kind of. You feel like at the end you made a difference with public service.
I hated actually in Chicago. [Here, in the suburbs,] there’s not a public transportation that you can rely on or can get you to where you go. In fact, if we had that I wouldn’t be driving.
If you could attribute that passion to one thing, what would you say it is? Your passion for technology and everything.
It’s curiosity. Absolutely.
What kind of products you work with here Genfare? Like what do you kind of focus on more?
It’s the cloud-based system.
So like Genfare Link and everything?
And then the mobile as well.
How has the career you have now changed over the years with technology and electronics?
Well, it has to evolve and it evolved actually with the technology evolving, right? So, when I started there was no Cloud, when I started there was no Mobile Labs, and there was no web hosting. You have actually to evolve with the technology and technology evolves really, really fast. So, we have to keep up with that. Also like the Internet of Things—you have to keep up with the technology to use the technology to your advantage and you cannot stay behind.
How would you say that that the public transit agencies are benefiting from using the Cloud-based technology and the products we use?
Reduced IT costs since the transit agencies do not have to have physical servers on the premises, nor supporting them. So, that’s a great saving. It’s a shared system where the agency, the multiple agency can get it. They can get a lower price because it’s one system for multiple agencies—that’s kind of like sharing, you know.
Then you know the same thing is used by other agencies so they can like shoulder and can make the cost lower. Also, the technology, the cost of paper and plastic media paper—paper and smart card media cannot reduce because now the system allows the use of virtual wallet on your phone, right? So instead of, you know, getting a ticket—a paper ticket—every time and killing trees, now you can have it on your phone.
It’s environmentally friendly too.
It’s environmentally friendly too, it’s cost effective because the agency does not have to use paper. [The paper passes] cost actually like 20 cents and it’ll add up. They go through millions of these.
See? Working here saves the environment!
To me, you always need to be mindful of what your daily work impacts. I mean, one thing is that they shouldn’t impact the world negatively, of course. Otherwise, you’re in the wrong business. I wouldn’t mind being in a business that has zero bad impact than an industry that has no good impacts. I think that that’s a double sense—you get the money and a paycheck, right? Then, you get the satisfaction of doing something for the community. That’s kind of helps you wake up in the morning and go to work. I have to do it for your paycheck, you know? It helps if you’re doing it for something else.
What would you recommend for people in this specific profession?
To use the technology and its advancement to do good things.
How would you educate yourself on modern technology and apply it here at Genfare?
You have to be up to date with technology. Mostly it’s reading on new technology and researching new technology and try to apply it to the business. It’s a cool thing.
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