Q&A with Whitney Brewster
Incoming AAMVA Chair of the Board shares her objectives for the future of the association
You’ve had a long career in leadership. What is the secret to your continued success or your leadership philosophy?
Adaptability is imperative in today’s changing environment. It’s important to have an end goal or vision, but the path to get there can’t always be set in stone. Being able to deal with change, particularly through difficult times, has allowed me to be successful throughout my career.
What are your top priorities as incoming Chair of the Board?
Finding opportunities to engage all facets of our community is a key goal. The strength of AAMVA lies in the engagement of its membership.
Data security and privacy are also at the top of the list. Customers entrust us with their data not because they want to, but because they are legally required to do so. It is imperative that we, as a community, share ideas and develop best practices around how to comprehensively protect the valuable data we are entrusted with.
What are your current goals for AAMVA?
With Hurricane Harvey still very fresh and as we head into another storm season, sharing information on emergency preparedness and responsiveness with colleagues is a top priority. Helping other jurisdictions develop processes to prepare themselves for a disaster—whether it be forest fires or floods—before they are in the eye of the storm is crucial.
Another primary goal is engaging our community in conversations around how we can all better leverage technology as we deal with increased demands and fewer resources to serve our customers.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Hands down, my children.
How do you inspire your staff?
I believe in them. I hire members of my team based on their skill set, but also—more importantly—their vision for success in their areas of expertise. Oftentimes, the best thing I can do is help them achieve that vision for success by providing resources, removing obstacles and staying out of their way. I am extremely grateful for the dedicated and talented team at the TxDMV.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Any hobbies?
I enjoy playing golf, traveling and time on the lake with family and friends.
What transportation issue are you most passionate about, and why?
We as an AAMVA community have the incredible potential to help save lives. Whether it’s evaluating the road-worthiness of vehicles, evaluating drivers’ ability behind the wheel or credentialing motor carriers, safety must be paramount in everything we do. AAMVA’s vision absolutely hits the mark: safe drivers, safe vehicles, secure identities, saving lives!
The cover story for this issue is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and how they are changing the way we evaluate drivers. How do you see these new technologies affecting the safety of motorists in the future?
As we all know, most road crashes occur due to human error. Huge technological strides have been made to reduce that human error through Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. As we see a greater increase in the number of modern vehicles with ADAS, and as ADAS technology is further advanced, we will see fewer roadway fatalities. There were 3,641 traffic deaths statewide in Texas in 2018, and the last day without a death on a Texas road was November 7, 2000. Advancements in ADAS, along with improvement in road engineering and driver responsibility, will bring us closer to realizing the ultimate goal of zero deaths on our roadways.
Any other advice or comments for the AAMVA community?
The strength of AAMVA lies in the engagement of its membership. I encourage industry, federal partners and jurisdictions to stay engaged.
Featured image: Director Brewster with TxDMV employees Mimi Williams and Brandye McGuire.