Then and Now
MTD employees gather annually to celebrate each other’s commitment to service and safety. This year’s ceremony was on Sunday, June 1 and celebrated the accomplishments of 2013. The first awards presentation took place in 1978.
Back then, MTD was seven years old and annual ridership was just over 2.5 million. All operations, from bus maintenance and dispatch, to administration and phone answering, were accomplished out of one building located at 801 East University Avenue in Urbana.
Today, MTD is 43 years old and ridership for fiscal year 2014 was over 13 million. The 350+ District employees are spread across three locations: Administration and Operations Building, Maintenance Facility, and Illinois Terminal.
The award categories include service, safety, outstanding operator, outstanding retired part-time, outstanding special services, outstanding Illinois Terminal, outstanding Maintenance, and acknowledgement of multi-year outstanding statuses in each. Members of MTD’s Board of Trustees helped present the awards alongside MTD’s Managing Director Bill Volk and Assistant Managing Director Tom Costello.
The requirements to meet “outstanding” in an employment category are lengthy. From our press release on June 12, “Operator Safety Awards were presented for having zero preventable accidents in the previous calendar year. Criteria also include excellence in customer service, performance, and attendance.”
“Luis Fonseca was presented a 40-year Service Award; Dennis Harper, Dave Jackson, Barry Sloniger, and Morrie Trees were presented 35-year Service Awards; Tim Stephens a 30-Year Service Award, and Fred Buttitta, Tim Emery, Larry Fredrick, Mark Gendreau, Steve Heater, Ray Thomas, and Gervaise Williams 20-Year Service Awards.
“Multi-year Outstanding Operator Awards were given to Doug Weaver and Charles Wilson (25 years), John Bedient and Brad Neumann (20 years), Vern Chavez, Sam Steenbergen, Paul Taylor, and Gervaise Williams (15 years), Kevin Brown and Merle Colclasure (10 Years), and Jeremy Blunier, Steve Freeman, Steve Mutch, Tom Thiel, Nancy Wehling, and Robin Welch (5 years). Multi-year Outstanding Maintenance awards were presented to Steve Ellis, Trai Nguyen, Mike Chubb, and Charles Lutz.
“Operations Service Recognition awards for Outstanding service were presented to 78 employees. Outstanding MTD Maintenance Service and Illinois Terminal Recognition awards were presented to 21 employees, and five Special Services Operators were recognized for outstanding performance.”
Bill Volk’s Last Presentation
This year’s awards presentation marked the final year with Bill Volk as the District’s Managing Director, a position he has held for 40 years. Volk is retiring on June 30, 2014. He has presented MTD employees with awards since the tradition began. Volk addressed employees at the end of the event, thanking everyone for their commitment to service excellence. Volk encouraged employees to always remember, “You’re in the people business. We’re here to serve.”