U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Works: Careers in Motion
FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Tom White
Full Name: Tom White
Title: Social Media Coordinator
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
What is your current position and how long have you been in this role?
I am the Social Media Coordinator for the Agency. I have been in this position since January of 2011.
What is your typical workday like?
I have a dream job. I manage all of FHWA's social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Flickr.
Each day I upload content from our social media calendar while keeping an eye on the news feeds and the social media accounts of the Transportation Department, Secretary Foxx, and other DOT modes. About 70% of our posts and tweets are scheduled in advance, but this doesn’t account for news events or press releases that may pop up throughout the day. For the first 2 years, I managed the sites myself, but now we have expanded to a cohesive team of four. Although much of our content comes from different program offices, our social media team writes at least half of the weekly posts and tweets. We also pull weekly metrics, and monitor trends. As a result, our growth has been tremendous over the last 5 years. We’ve gone from several hundred followers in the first year, to more than 47,000 combined followers across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In 5 years, visitors to our YouTube channel have viewed our videos more than 485,000 times watching an astounding 2.2 million minutes of video.
What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Launching LinkedIn! It’s always an accomplishment to add to our Agency’s social media channels; and LinkedIn has been proven to be quite an effective recruitment tool for the Agency. Our job postings on LinkedIn usually get more response than on Facebook or Twitter. But LinkedIn isn’t just a recruitment tool. It’s a great medium for sharing new ideas. Another great accomplishment was creating the "FHWA Works" videos. FHWA Works is a series of four videos promoting the Agency, produced entirely in-house on a zero-dollar budget. But the videos have the look and feel of large-scale productions. You can view the FHWA Works video series here: http://bit.ly/1U6N0lK
Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
It's hard to narrow down. I've had a couple real interesting jobs prior to coming on to FHWA. One was working as Audio Engineer with a production company based out of Baltimore, MD. I mostly worked on TV and radio commercials, and worked with some high-profile clients including ESPN and the Washington Wizards.
The job I've had the most fun at was playing keyboards in a full-time jam band right after college. Based out of Wheeling, WV, we toured the Ohio Valley, from Pittsburgh, PA, to Morgantown, WV, to Columbus, OH. I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame (more like 15 seconds) opening for some big name acts including The Allman Brothers Band, The Jerry Garcia Band, and Kansas. We played the college circuit in mostly mid-size music clubs, but also played in a few larger venues including Pittsburgh’s Star Lake Pavilion, Pittsburgh’s IC Light Amphitheater, and a ribs and beer festival in Three Rivers Stadium, former home to the Steelers.
What are your hobbies in your spare time?
Along with music, I am passionate about classic arcade gaming. Anyone can play on a video game console. I wanted to replicate the arcade experience, so I custom built a combination arcade cabinet/virtual pinball machine/jukebox in my den and loaded it up with more than 1,000 classic arcade games and virtual pinball machines.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
It helps to keep up with your training, and to embrace technology as it evolves. When I started in FHWA in 2003, there was no such thing as social media. Thirteen years later, social media is the fastest-growing and farthest-reaching marketing platform in history. Rather than be complacent, I followed technological trends and took a lot of courses to keep up with the changes. As a result of these efforts, opportunity chased me. I was actually approached and asked if I wanted to oversee the launch of FHWA's social media presence. (Of course I said "Yes!")
Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
Transportation runs in my family. My father was the Federal Railroad Administration's Associate Administrator for Policy in the 1990s, serving during the tenure of former Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater.
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Page last modified on June 15, 2016.