Advice

How to Make the Most of Your Commute, According to Philly CEOs

Whether they get around by train, bike, car or moped, Philly executives tell us how they stay productive (and take time to relax) on their way to work.


Michael Penn | Getty Images

Unless you’re part of the country’s growing legion of remote workers, commuting is part of the gig no matter what industry you’re in. In Philly, whether you take the Schuylkill Expressway, the Broad Street Line, Regional Rail, or some random combination of them all, your commute can be anywhere from ten minutes, for those of us who are lucky, to two hours for those of us who aren’t so lucky. The commute can prove to be an added stressor, but not if you are deliberate about how you use that time. We asked local executives how they use their commute time to stay on top of their mountain of responsibilities. Some of these executives bike to work, while others drive. Here’s how they stay focused on the go.

Kenneth Fulmer, president and CEO, Urban Engineers

I drive to my firm’s headquarters in Old City from my house in Collegeville. The ride can take an hour on a good day, but typically hangs around an hour and a half.

Coming from a firm that works in infrastructure, I look at my commute as a way to witness firsthand the challenges facing the city when it comes to roads, highways and congestion. We work with local and state agencies to provide design and construction support solutions, so I look at my commute as my chance to get back in the field as a user of our streets.

Brandi Baldwin, CEO, Millennial Ventures

I drive into Center City for work and it takes me about 40 minutes to get there.

There are three things I do during my commute to stay productive. First, I make phone calls. Instead of sitting at my desk making phone calls, I have a series of 15-20 minute calls each day during my commute, which gives me more time to work at the office. Next, I listen to podcasts. I love the EntreLeadership podcast, the Secrets to Success podcast, and TedTalks. Lastly, I listen to music. Upbeat music takes me from feeling stressed to feeling blessed. I blast the music in my car and sing my favorite songs to de-stress, loosen up and get ready for the day ahead.

Mac Frederick, founder and CEO, Momentum Digital

In colder months I walk to our Northern Liberties location or take the Market-Frankford line to our Center City office. In the warmer months I usually drive my moped.

When walking or driving my moped, I listen to motivational music on Spotify or an Audiobook on Audible. When commuting downtown to Center City, I do the same while checking email and Slack.

Jami Wintz McKeon, Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

When I am in Philadelphia, it takes me about 40 minutes to commute each way. I spend most of that time on conference calls or listening to the occasional book on tape!

Stephen Collins, CEO, Monetate

As often as possible, I ride my bike from Center City to Conshohocken. When conditions are not conducive to riding, I take the Norristown Line. Both take about 45 minutes.

If I do need to take the train instead of ride my bike I take the time to catch up on my emails so I can hit the ground running when I arrive at the office. However, my goal is not to be productive in commuting to work. If I am on my bike, I focus on that experience so I can take the opportunity to stay healthy, and to enjoy a great start and great finish to each day.