For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
June 30, 2004

ODOT Office of Transit 2003 Awards

Nine awards were presented at the Awards Luncheon during the annual Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show in Columbus on June 3. Below is a listing of the award with press release information for each of the categories.

Employee of the Year | Best Marketing Campaign on a Shoestring | Leonard Ronis Excellence in Transit | Friends of Transit  | Driver of the Year for Ohio's Small Urban Transit Systems | Driver of the Year for Rural Transit Systems | Driver of the Year for Large Urban Transit Systems


HARRIS NAMED TRANSIT EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor recently presented Brett Harris of Dublin with the ODOT Office of Transit Employee of the Year award for 2003.

Bretts commitment in meeting new challenges and his enthusiasm for his work are examples of why recognizing him with this award is a fitting tribute, said Proctor.  I am proud of Bretts efforts and his contributions to improve the quality of life for Ohioans.

Harris has been a project manager overseeing multiple transportation projects for many years.  He has recently taken on the responsibility of overseeing funding for the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project (ECTP) in Cleveland.  The ECTP is the largest funded transit project to date.

I am honored to receive this recognition, said Harris. However, Im not the only one deserving the award; it could easily be given to several of the capable people I work with.

This was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3.  The Office of Transit Employee of the Year award is given by Director Proctor after nominations by coworkers have been evaluated.  Individuals are chosen based on a commitment to excellence as well an ability to do their job in a way that exceeds expectations. 

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AKRON METRO WINS BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN AWARD

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor recently presented the Akron METRO transit system an award for developing the Best Marketing Campaign on a Shoestring for 2003.

METROs effort to creatively promote their services during this tough economic time is commendable, said Proctor. This award recognizes METROS work to improve transit services for the Akron area.

Molly Becker, director of communications and marketing for Akron METRO, realized their transit system had a small budget to work with, and when money is low the first thing to cuts is advertising.

Becker used an old radio jingle, and along with help from her intern, DLareg Lee, they created a new voiceover to promote METROS services. The new radio advertisement only cost $1,000 because most of the production was developed in-house. Becker also included her family in her innovative marketing approach by using her husband, a graphic artist, to design the print advertisement at no cost.

I am very excited to win this award because Im a staff of one, said Becker.

This was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3. The Best Marketing Campaign on a Shoestring award is recognizes transit systems that develop low cost advertising that effectively promotes transit services.

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SENECA COUNTY AGENCY RECEIVES EXCELLENCE IN TRANSIT AWARD

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor announced today the Seneca County Agency Transportation (SCAT) has received the Leonard Ronis Excellence in Transit award for 2003.

SCAT has maintained an outstanding on-time performance record in the midst of providing a significant increase in the number of number of trips provided, said Proctor. It takes a strong team and good leaders to maintain that kind of quality and this award recognizes their efforts.

According to ODOT transit officials, SCAT achieves their high level of quality by effectively communicating among their staff, board of directors, volunteers and local officials. ODOT officials said the agencys teamwork and attention to customer service has made the Rural Public Transportation program successful.

Our philosophy is simple; our team feels we are making a great impact on our community by providing a quality transportation service that enhances the value of life for all people in Seneca County and Metro Fostoria, said Linda Good, the executive director of SCAT.

Even while funding is being cut, we continue to grow and become stronger as a transit system, said Good. It isnt only about the trip from point A to point B, its about the people -- who they are and what we can do for them personally that counts.

The award is named for Leonard Ronis, a former general manager of the Greater Cleveland RTA and president of the American Public Transit Association. It is a tribute to his many years of service and dedication to public transit around the country and especially within Ohio.

This was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3. The Leonard Ronis Excellence in Transit award is given to a transit system or individual who goes above and beyond the normal call of duty in providing or advocating for public transit in Ohio.

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SHELBY COUNTY OFFICIALS NAMED FRIENDS OF TRANSIT

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor recently announced Sidney City Councilman Mark Copeland and Shelby County Commissioner Larry Kleinhans have been named the Friends of Transit for 2003.

Because of the effort put forth by these two men, the city of Sidney Dial-A-Ride Transit System and the Shelby County Area Transportation System (SCATS) consolidated the two independent systems into a single countywide transit system. Kleinhans and Copeland used their vision to create a new government that would better achieve their transit goals as well as make better use of government funding.

Creating a single transit system was an efficient way to stretch the areas resources and provide better service to the community, said Proctor. This award recognizes the work of Mark and Larry, to provide Shelby County residents with an improved transportation system.

Sidney Public Transit is the new name for the Shelby County transit system and the city and county systems have already managed to combine their management teams as well as blend the service delivery areas for customers convenience. While the project has not yet been fully implemented, the efforts of Commissioner Kleinhans and Councilman Copeland provided the base for the consolidation of services.

We knew we could be more efficient by operating only one transit system throughout the county, said Kleinhans. We can serve the public better and we can be more efficient with the taxpayers money.

The Friend of Transit Award was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3. The Friend of Transit award honors an outstanding advocate for public transportation who has made a difference in their local community by helping to provide residents with safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

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CARPENTER NAMED DRIVER OF THE YEAR

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor has named Steve Carpenter of the Newark-Heath Taxi Token Program Driver of the Year for Ohio's Small Urban Transit Systems for 2003.

"Steves willingness to expand his knowledge base and seek new opportunities are outstanding traits and valuable to those that use the service, said Proctor. This award is a fitting tribute to him and his efforts in going above and beyond what is required.

Carpenter has been with the service provider for the Newark-Heath Taxi Token Program for four years and has a spotless safety record. He has continued to take driving courses to improve his already exceptional driving skills even though they are not required. Additionally, he regularly takes on extra routes when other drivers are unable to complete them.

Carpenter knows his passengers by name and takes the time to speak with each of them every day he drives. His manager, Jane Wilson, said, "He has a way with people - he just loves people."

Carpenter is highly involved with his community, and he said his "ability to get along with people and bring something to the community on a daily basis" has allowed him to win this award.

This was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the in Columbus on June 3. The Driver of the Year for Small Urban Transit Systems award is given to a driver for their ability to go above and beyond their regular duties. This includes taking on extra responsibilities when necessary and being an advocate for the public transit in their community.

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MARQUEZ NAMED DRIVER OF THE YEAR

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor recently named Ephraim "Joe" Marquez, who works for the Chillicothe Transit System, as the Driver of the Year for Rural Transit Systems for 2003.

"This award recognizes Joe for his dedication to his work and to his customers," said Proctor.  Joe goes above and beyond for his customers in addition to his spotless driving record.

Marquez has had 23 years of accident-free driving, and he has placed in the Ohio Public Transit driving competitions several times.

In addition to his reputation as an excellent driver, Marquez is known as a friendly, caring person.  On days off he has been known to assist customers with their shopping and ensure they have necessary medications.  He has built three wheelchair ramps for customers and helped one customer move into a more independent living situation.     
 
"I treat these passengers like they are my family," said Marquez.  "Anyone who comes on my bus can expect it to feel like home."
 
This award was one of nine presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3.  Each award recognizes the service transit systems and their employees provide to the public.  The Driver of the Year award is presented based on driving skills, values, dedication to the system's ridership, and leadership to other employees and residents of the county.

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SYMONS NAMED DRIVER OF THE YEAR

COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor recently named Sheryl Symons, of the Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority, the Driver of the Year for Large Urban Transit Systems for 2003.

Sheryls attention to detail and strong work ethic makes her a valuable part of the METRO system, said Proctor. This award is a fitting tribute to her and her efforts in going above and beyond what is required.

Symons has served METRO since 1976, and she is known as a thoughtful bus driver. She accommodates the needs of her passengers by doing things like decorating her bus for the holidays and getting to know her passengers on a more personal level.

When one of her passengers was hurt badly in an accident and required an extensive hospital stay, Symons bought a card and got all the other passengers who normally rode with him to sign it. This is just one example of her kindness and passion for her profession.

"Maybe I'm crazy, but I love my job," said Symons.

Symons was even chosen to drive at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, a great honor for every transit driver.

This was one of nine awards presented at the Ohio Public Transit Conference and Trade Show at the Awards Luncheon in Columbus on June 3. The Driver of the Year for Large Urban Transit Systems is an award that recognizes a drivers commitment to their passengers, their timeliness on the route, and going above and beyond their normal duties.

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