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Jeff Coppedge, Bringing Innovation Right on Time

As the first African American police officer in Phoenixville, Pa., Jeff Coppedge's father, Richard Coppedge Sr., instilled in his children, a strong work ethic and pride in their African American ancestry.

"My father was a true inspiration in my life. He stood as an example for me to strive to become a strong role model for all African Americans," said Coppedge. "He taught me to strive to raise the bar each time you clear it, to remain steadfast in times of uncertainty, patience through minor setbacks and the value of unwavering support."

A 21-year SEPTA employee, Coppedge recalls his father's words of motivation whenever he encounters personal and career challenges. During Coppedge's first job at the Authority as a Revenue Analyst, his aptitude for numbers and order was utilized each day. He was responsible for analyzing revenue and accounting for all cash receipts.

In his current position, Manager of Capital Planning and Coordination for New Vehicles, Coppedge oversees the purchase of hybrid buses, Silverliner V rail cars, Customized Community Transportation mini-buses, and SEPTA's utility fleet. After a contract has been awarded by the Business Services Division, the Capital Budgeting department provides the funds for Coppedge to manage the production, inspection, acceptance and contract deliverables for the various vehicle contracts.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, his degree in accounting prepared him for his responsibilities in the acquisition of new vehicles for SEPTA. "The process of acquiring new vehicles can be long and detailed. But when a new vehicle come in, a great sense of accomplishment hits home and all the hard work pays off," said Coppedge.

Prior to his career at SEPTA, Coppedge served in the U.S. Army. His appreciation for mass transit and his interest in a career in public transportation were acquired during his military career.   


"While stationed in Germany, I was fortunate to travel throughout the European countries. Witnessing how mass transit was supported by the respective governments encouraged me to seek an opportunity in transportation upon my return to the Philadelphia area," said Coppedge.

As a professional in the transportation industry and former military man, it is no surprise that Coppedge enjoys traveling. The opportunity to travel is an added benefit of his job. "Traveling to Korea while working to acquire the new Silverliner V rail cars and to Minnesota for the hybrid buses have been highlights of my career," said Coppedge. "Meeting with the people who we do business allows me to get a hands on appreciation and understanding of the new vehicles we are looking to purchase." Another rewarding experience for Coppedge was his leadership role in providing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He coordinated the donation of 20 decommissioned SEPTA buses and participated in a successful and much appreciated clothes drive.

In his free time, Coppedge enjoys volunteering and mentoring kids. His most memorable experience was volunteering at a local Philadelphia elementary school. "Helping to mentor kids is most rewarding for the simple fact that you are teaching and guiding kids in some capacity." He takes great pride serving as his niece's mentor as she prepares to graduate from college. 


Coppedge resides in Jeffersonville, Pa., only minutes away from Phoenixville where he was born and raised.  Each time he visits his family, he is greeted by a large mural celebrating the pride of Phoenixville, its steel mill workers.  His aunt and uncle, former mill workers, are among the images featured on the mural.  His family's demonstration of the importance of perseverance and hard work has been the core of his inspiration. His uncle, Donald J. L. Coppedge, started his career in the local steel mill and later founded his own excavating company.  His uncle, Kenneth P. Mitchell, was Executive Director of the Phoenixville area YMCA.

When asked what he would say to a young person to motivate them to follow a path similar to his own, Coppedge said, "To strive to become the best person possible. However, getting there takes time. Stay on course and absorb as much as you can and learn as much as possible from those around you."

Jeff Coppedge

Coppedge looks over a work chart.

Coppedge at his desk.

Coppedge looks at new vehicle books.