2005-2006 Spotlight Archives
To Paul Hubler ’86 Public Service = Satisfaction
Paul Hubler ’86 received a bachelor of arts degree with honors in International Relations at Pitzer College. He participated as an elected student member of the College Council and served as a leader of Pitzer College's Model UN delegation. According to Hubler, “Pitzer taught me to value participation, a lesson I've carried with me ever since.”
Pathway to public service
Community relations project chief keeps transit project on track
By Rodney Tanaka Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Tackling tough transportation issues has taken Paul Hubler from the newsroom to Washington, D.C., to the rail lines that cut through the San Gabriel Valley.
Hubler, associate vice president of Lee Andrews Group, serves as community relations project manager for the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority.
The job appealed to him because he could draw on his experience with transportation legislation and community outreach, Hubler said.
"And it's also a project I think is of tremendous importance to the San Gabriel Valley in terms of congestion relief, safety and improving the air quality of our region," he said.
The Alameda Corridor-East project is a $950million construction program to build 21 grade separations in the San Gabriel Valley along freight lines.
Grade separations eliminate the possibility of often deadly collisions between vehicles and trains, Hubler said. Separations also eliminate traffic congestion at the crossings and emissions from idling vehicles.
Hubler's road to the ACE project took some twists and turns. He worked at a law firm as a paralegal after graduating from Pitzer College in 1986.
But he realized he didn't want to become a lawyer and instead enrolled in a UCLA Extension class in journalism.
He started freelancing at the Burbank Leader newspaper, moving up the ladder from staff writer to city editor to managing editor.
While serving as managing editor, he led a Burbank commission on campaign finance reform.
"We represented very diverse political views and philosophies, yet we were able to come up with a package of reforms acceptable to all parties which was approved by the Burbank City Council," Hubler said. "I got a lot of satisfaction out of that public service."
That experience led him to a major career decision. Instead of accepting a position at another newspaper, he decided to continue his involvement in public service in a more direct way.
"When you're working for a newspaper, you are really expected to be on the outside and not become involved in the topics you cover," Hubler said. "I thought I could play a role in improving my community by becoming more directly involved in issues that affected the community."
He was hired by then-state Sen. Adam Schiff to serve as his press secretary and field deputy.
Schiff, in an e-mail response to questions, said he met Hubler when he was a reporter for the Burbank Leader and was impressed with his grasp of local issues and his strong writing ability.
"I have hired a number of former journalists because they have the analytical skills that are very useful in working on legislative solutions to problems," Schiff stated.
The most important and difficult issues Hubler tackled were in the area of transportation - balancing the competing interests at the Burbank airport and helping overcome opposition to the Gold Line light rail, Schiff said.
Hubler served on Schiff's staff from 1997 to 2002, which included a successful campaign for Congress in 2000.
He moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as Schiff's deputy chief of staff and press secretary.
"Working on Capitol Hill can be one of the most exhilarating jobs one can have," Hubler said.
He returned to the West Coast shortly after the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was living on separate coasts from his wife, Patty Rhee, a situation they found to be too difficult to manage.
Hubler worked in Schiff's Pasadena office until taking a position with Lee Andrews Group, a Los Angeles-based technology, environmental and public affairs consulting firm.
He also returned to school, earning a master's degree in public administration at the University of La Verne in 2004.
His studies at ULV led to collaborations with Jack Meek, professor of public administration at the University of La Verne.
One of the papers they co-authored examined collaborative efforts by San Gabriel Valley leaders to improve the region.
Among the fruits of these collaborations are the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.
"We made the case that these kinds of subregional agreements are really powerful energizers for serving the broader interest of the region," Meek said. "It has to do with connecting individual interests and making them common, and that's not easy to do."
Another project to emerge from these collaborations is the Alameda Corridor-East, which gives Hubler another opportunity to serve the public. "What I truly enjoy is being involved in solving the problems and challenges that face our communities," Hubler said.
This article originally appeared in the July 11, 2006 edition of The Whittier Daily News.