Generral Manaager’s Awwards 2009
Diane Gooodwin, project communication manager
Diane and her team ffinesse a maassive and evver-changingg workload, which mustt often turn oon a
dime to aaccommodate urgent, laast minute reequests for meetings, mmaterials andd tours for
stakeholdders from arround the reegion, the coountry and inndeed the wworld. Despitte an alreadyy
dauntingg workload, sshe has cheeerfully takenn on additionnal responsibbilities with the stimuluss
projects package andd the producction of two major rail oopenings, Fammily Day andd countless
smaller eevents withinn one year. DDiane is alsoo an effectivee and efficieent managerr and inspire s a
high leveel of confidennce and con nection withhin her teamm. In short, DDiane makess us all look ggood.
Steve Kautz, service programs mmanager
Steve is aan excellent all-around ccommunicattor. He is orgganized, cleaar and tactfuul, and alwayys
keeps thee big picturee in mind. Hiis General MManager’s awward recogniizes a speciaal assignmennt
that invoolved much mmore listeninng than speaaking. Steve managed a significant sshare of the
public ouutreach for the recent seervice changges includingg acting as thhe hearings oofficer wherre he
was gracious, kind, ddignified andd unflappablee. He was tr uly remarkable to watchh and he
represennted the age ncy’s values to our public during a tough periodd.
Juli Natioons, dispatchher
Juli starteed as a mini run operatoor in 2001 annd became aa dispatcher in 2007. Whhen new
operatorrs visit Ruby Junction to see how Disspatch workss, they oftenn ask to meeet Juli—because
they’ve aalready noticced her professional andd positive tone, on the raadio and thee BDS. Juli is
calm in eemergency s ituations and is there when neededd. She makess sacrifices too ensure shifts
are covered. Her cowworkers say sshe’s an insppiration to eeveryone aroound her.
Dave Terrtadian, engineer V
Most reccently Dave sserved as th e Resident EEngineer for the CM/GC contract forr WES. WES was
faced witth a much-exxtended devvelopment pperiod and an extraordinnary numberr of late desiign
changes. Dave rose tto these challenges. Throoughout thee whole consstruction perriod,
he held ttogether his field team: TTriMet staff,, key jurisdicctional reps, railroad ins pectors and
contractoors, all of whhom were eaager to buildd, but faced numerous ddesign changges. It requirred
extraordinary communication skkills to hold tthe project ttogether.
Customer Service Awards
Bethany Berson, on street assistant
Bethany has worked in the on-street customer service program since March 2007. Whether
during planned or unplanned service disruptions, Bethany demonstrates the highest level of
dedication and professionalism. She’s made several improvements to the scheduling and
inventory control systems for the special events and Ride Guide program. She partners with
Operations to gain valuable feedback on disruptions to then make improvements for the next
time. Bethany also brings a sense of fun to her work, which many of us witnessed last fall when
she wore her finest cowgirl outfit to the Rodeo.
Kurtis McCoy, maintenance systems analyst
Kurtis, as the analyst assigned to Bus and Rail Maintenance, is always responsive to his internal
customers. He provides quality analysis in a very timely manner to more effectively monitor
current maintenance programs or develop new strategies. He is always looking for new ways to
support bus maintenance through his analytical skills.
Catherine McLendon, mini-run Operator
Catherine has a steady stream of commendations, including a customer earlier this year who
rides Catherine’s 5:30 a.m. Line 92. The customer wrote, “myself and my fellow passengers
think the world of Catherine, our driver. She is kind, caring and a bright spot on cold dark
mornings. She is also a wonderful driver: Very smooth and a really good temper.” Catherine
also has a real knack for dealing with difficult situations. One customer wrote last year, “I was
on the bus and there were 4 kids who were loud, bothering other passengers. The driver did
everything she could to take control of the situation. When those kids got off the bus, we all
Chris Tucker, customer service manager
Last November, TriMet introduced a new style of ticket that is larger, easier to read, less likely
to jam the farebox and harder to counterfeit. Launching the universal ticket required extensive
communication with our ticket printing vendor as well as with internal partners in Marketing,
Creative Services, Accounting, Operations, Procurement and the TVM group. Chris was
instrumental in developing a communication plan and matrix for internal partners so all could
track the timeline and key assignments of the project. And Chris’s work was crucial in the recent
effort to identify more effective ways to use customer feedback.
Payroll Team: Linda Elliott, Shawna Huffman, Lonnie Jones, Young Sheibani, James Yazzolino
All of us are grateful customers of the Payroll Team. This small group keeps an essential
organizational function moving smoothly, and they prevent problems before they start. In some
organizations, contacting Payroll might mean subjecting yourself to rigidity and bureaucratic
delays. But here at TriMet, you know that you will get a response that is prompt, friendly and
reliable. This award celebrates Linda, Shawna, Lonnie, Young and James for setting a high
standard for internal customer service.
Partnership Development Awards
Jared Anderson, administration coordinator
A year ago October 8, Jared stepped in to a position held by a Government Affairs veteran.
Since then, he has established his own excellent working relationships with people throughout
TriMet as well as stakeholders from our many government partners. Jared’s skill and dedication
resulted in a smooth transition from one administration coordinator to another. Specifically,
this award recognizes Jared’s work with our regional partners to produce the JPACT
Authorization and Appropriations materials. These are used by our federal elected officials in
their discussions of the transportation priorities identified by the region. Thanks to Jared, these
important resources are in tip-top shape.
Tom Strader, marketing analyst
Tom has been called upon to provide staff support for two major projects this year– the
Portland Public Schools pass program and the changes to Fareless Square. In both cases, Tom
has exceeded expectations in performing analysis, working with partners, writing papers and
filing applications. His work is always excellent. In addition he continued his outstanding work
on other projects including changes to the Lloyd District pass program, updates to the Universal
Pass Program, implementation of the PGE Park fare program and fare policy.
Promoting Diversity Award
Angela Faison, mini-run operator
As she approaches her second anniversary at TriMet, Angela has already made a name for
herself as an all-around strong employee and specifically for her dedication to serving
Spanish-speaking customers with limited English proficiency. She has taught herself enough
Spanish to provide basic customer information, especially stop announcements, in that
language. One customer recently said, “Besides being friendly & very accommodating of her
passengers, she calls out all the stops in both English & Spanish which I think is awesome.
Don't let this one get away.”
Productivity Improvement Awards
Steve Berge , bus mechanic
Steve is both steadfast and innovative. He has a wide knowledge base that serves him well and
allows him to fill in as an assistant supervisor when needed. As his manager says, “He’s the
man.” Today we are honoring Steve for his work as the leader of a PIP group that has found a
way to reduce the cost of transmission maintenance. After two years of testing, the group
determined that a different kind of pressure plates and friction disks could be used in our Voith
transmissions. A contract was recently awarded for these parts, which are made in the U.S. This
change is expected to save TriMet about $130,000 in the first year.
Craig Catalda, LRV mechanic
Craig started at TriMet as a helper in 1998 and is now an LRV mechanic. His manager says, “If
you look around Ruby and see all of the things that have gotten more organized and more
efficient, Craig is the go-to guy for that. He’s the backbone of Ruby. If we had 20 guys like him,
we’d never have a broken car around here.” Craig’s record shows that being organized helps in
emergencies, as well as day-to-day in the shop. A couple of years ago, Craig and a coworker
were able to coordinate with the police and fire to get the train lifted in about three minutes
from a woman who was trapped under it. His quick thinking and instinct to get things done was
invaluable in this emergency situation.
Jeremy Ferguson, IDP coordinator
For his leadership of the IDP team in implementing: nine consecutive service changes prior to
the actual date; a plan to reduce schedule outlets by half along with the reduction of printed
schedules on trains/buses, resulting in nearly a $30,000 savings in printed materials; efficiencies
in the customer info process to reduce time and cost of installing shelter info displays; creating
practical approach to communicating service changes to customers during planned
Fred Polsky, software systems engineer
Fred created the Green Line alignment and controls in the Rail Central Control System. In the
past, all new additions were created by a contractor. Fred’s work on this saved the project
$250,000, despite long and odd hours required to implement the changes. Fred was uniquely
qualified for this project, and he embraced its unique requirements. He tested and installed
software during the brief window of time, extremely early in the morning, when there’s no
movement on the alignment. Last month, The Oregonian published a human-interest story
about Fred Polsky. The reporter said, “His wry, self-deprecating, geek-like manner notwithstanding,
the design and maintenance of MAX master control is a matter of life and death.”
Air Conditioning Team: Scott Doggett, Steve Lyons and Paul Schlichting
This past year, these three employees identified and solved a problem with a component in the
bus air conditioning systems. The lines that the factory provides for the AC system are rigid and
tend to crack. This team came up with the idea of making the lines out of a flexible hose. The
Cost savings: $300 each for parts and labor, instead of $900 for parts alone.
Durability: These hoses should last the life of the bus, which saves money, time and the
environment (because cracked lines vent Freon)
Indirect benefits: The new hoses solved a vibration problem with the 2600s at Center,
saving another $33,000.
Meghan Oldfield, engineer IV
As the resident engineer on the I-205 segment of the South Corridor Project, Meghan was
instrumental in the development and implementation of dozens of initiatives that lessened the
project’s impact on the environment, both during construction and throughout the life of the
project. For example, boulders excavated during construction were donated to Portland Parks
and Recreation for use in building a skate park. Wood used to frame the structures was
donated to Rowe Middle School’s Building Trades Department. Meghan was a tireless advocate
for all things green.
GENERAL MANAGER’S SUSTAINED MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Kim Akimoto, records analyst
Kim has been at TriMet since 2000 and has served in her current position since 2006. She
keeps our records management program in great shape and helps our designated records
coordinators do their jobs. Kim’s approach is proof that being a stickler for the rules doesn’t
mean you can’t give great customer service. She is active in the Association of Records
Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and we’re proud that she was named the 2009 Oregon
ARMA member of the year.
Mike Carter, rail supervisor
Mike started as a bus operator in 1976, and still approaches his work with fresh energy every
day. When he’s working a platform, you know that employees and the public alike will get good
customer service. He’s visible, empathic and quick to respond.
Jana Flores, operations specialist
For the past four years, Jana has kept the transportation training department organized. When
there were hundreds of new operators, Jana scheduled new operator training. When the hiring
freeze went into effect, she focused on the Back to the Mall training. Throughout, she is
cheerful and professional and a delight to all who have the opportunity to work with her.
Vern Goudy, streetcar operator
Vern has been with TriMet since 1992. He started with bus, moved into rail, and is now happily
operating streetcar. A manager calls him, "A perfect example of an excellent, reliable employee.
I wish I could clone him.” Vern is known for his loyalty, willingness to come in as a “flex
operator,” and great customer service skills.
Mike Grove, maintenance manager
Mike has worked for 38 years in TriMet bus maintenance. For the first eight years he worked on
the floor. Since then, he has served as a systems manager and as the manager of Center Street
and Powell. He is dedicated to the department and to making it the best it can be by assuring
that sound maintenance practices are developed, implemented and followed. Mike
communicates well with his peers and his employees. He is known for his tenacity with vendors,
pushing to get the best product possible, whether it’s an operator seat or an overhead sign; a
wheelchair restraint or an electric wiper. Mike has announced his plans to retire this fall, and
this award provides an opportunity to salute him for 38 years of sustained excellence.
Grant Hein, field outreach and community relations representative
Grant has worked at TriMet for three years this month, and we are lucky to have him as part of
our frontline on-street customer service team. Grant always puts the customer first. He is
known for providing excellent after-action reports that help us debrief and make changes for
future events. Whether he’s on a MAX platform using a bullhorn to work with a crowd of Blazer
fans, or sitting next to a customer on a bus that’s about to undergo a service change, Grant
listens to the customer, does his best to meet their needs on the spot, and passes along what
Willie Montgomery, bus operator
Willie came to TriMet 28 years ago this month. A Grand Master Operator, he's earned 21 safe
driver awards and 23 superior performance awards (16 of them in a row). He has very good
attendance, and is currently headed for his 12th year of perfect attendance. Willie is known for
his very professional attire: always a hat and a tie, and jacket when the weather allows. Willie
generally signs heavy-traffic lines such as the 72, and is proof that you can have a low-key
personality and successfully drive a line like that.
A.K. Rucker, bus operator
We’ve honored AK before for his extraordinary accomplishments with the First Step program,
which increased its enrollment this summer thanks to stimulus funding. AK has been with
TriMet since 1981, and today we honor his day-in, day-out performance as an operator. Anyone
who’s ridden with AK knows he’s known for letting people know “the bus is moving.” This
summer, a customer said, “I ride the bus every day and on many routes and have never
encountered such a courteous driver.” He is a model to us all in how he demonstrates the
agency’s values every day.
Remedio Susi, bus operator
Remedio was hired in 2001 and is known as a “go-to guy” who’s always available. His
commendations say he’s friendly, on time, and good at calling stops. This past July, a customer
said of Remedio, “The driver is consistently very pleasant and helpful. He lowers the bus for
people even without disabilities if they are short, like me. It makes getting on the bus much
easier. Not all the drivers do that automatically." It’s these small things every day that add up to
Lee Wells, spotter
Lee was hired in 1983 and has worked for many years as the signout person on the graveyard
shift. That means he’s the one who works with maintenance and transportation personnel alike
to get all the buses where they belong in the middle of the night, so we can have a successful
a.m. pullout. His manager says Lee is “Steady as a rock.”