Keeping us Safe in the Air – Justin Taubman ’07

Keeping us Safe in the Air – Justin Taubman ’07

Interviewed by Brooke LePage ’19 on March 5, 2019

BL: What have you done since leaving Trinity?

JT:I was lucky enough to get recruited into an innovation cohort at the Transportation Security Administration. There were six of us, some from graduate schools; some, like me, were straight out of undergrad, mostly from Ivy League schools. The job was to take on special projects from the Assistant Administrator of the TSA – these were jobs that they needed smart, young, and driven individuals. A lot of the projects had to do with the TSA’s “checkpoint of the future”.

We were sent to different airports to talk to people, collect information, perform data analysis. It was really cool. Eventually, I reported directly to the head of the division and my first project was to work with laptop bag manufacturers to develop “checkpoint-friendly” laptop bags. We wanted to enable travelers to keep their laptops in their bags, which we achieved.

After successfully completing that project, I was tasked with working on mobile boarding passes. I worked with the air carriers to develop a barcode schema that we now know as the mobile boarding pass, which is sent to our phones.

After that, I started working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on other international air initiatives that dealt with security. I represented the US government to make sure that our interests were met but also, I to helped air carriers bring new initiatives to their customers and expedite passenger flow.

I developed a mobile application for behavioral detection officers that enabled them to do perform their jobs more effectively. It was the first ever iOS application that was approved by the Department of Homeland Security. I was able to learn a ton about Product Management and how to build and design software.

After about seven years, I got a bit worn out and I decided to go to business school. It has been about three years now. I graduated from the University of Maryland, Smith School of Business and moved to Boston to work for a startup. I have been in Massachusetts ever since.

BL:Are there any skills that you learned at Trinity that have helped you in your career?

JT:I would say refining my communication and writing skills. In terms of knowledge, it was helpful to have read as much as I did and to be pushed to read things that I probably wouldn’t have chosen to read on my own. And also to understand both sides of the political equation as well as the way American politics works. People are very political but they don’t actually know the law.

BL:What is your proudest accomplishment since graduating Trinity?

JT:   Successfully negotiating the barcoded boarding pass. I get to see it every time I fly! I went to meetings in two of the coolest places I’ve ever been – Singapore and Switzerland. To sit at the table – by myself with no backup in terms of others to represent US interests – with 20 to 30 airline executives – at the age of 25!  Later, I was asked to speak at a number of conferences which gave me a lot of personal confidence. That much experience at such a young age gave me confidence in my career.