Category Archives: Employee Profile

Omnitrans Hires New Director of Operations Shawn Brophy

Shawn Brophy has joined Omnitrans as Director of Operations, bringing over 25 years of experience in the transit industry.  He fills a vacancy left by his predecessor, Diane Caldera, who retired in September.

Brophy’s career includes time in both the private and public sectors. He was employed by MV Transportation for the last six years, most recently filling the role of Quality Assurance Director at North County Transit District in San Diego County, California.

“We believe Shawn’s strong background, experience and work ethic will bring the leadership skills needed to address the changing demands of our transit system,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham.

At Omnitrans, Brophy will oversee a department of more than 480 employees including over 400 coach operators.  The agency directly operates 30 bus routes which transport over 36,000 passengers on a typical weekday.

“I was attracted to the agency and the direction it is heading in, integrating a multi-modal platform with the forthcoming Arrow rail system,” said Brophy. “Omnitrans is very technologically advanced and is investing in its future. It is a great organization and I am excited about this opportunity.”

Interested in starting a career with Omnitrans? View current job openings online at Omnitrans.org and apply.

Employee of the Quarter Steve Sisneros

When he is not at work, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Steve Sisneros basks in the serenity, calm, and quiet of the great outdoors. It is quite a contrast from the urban backdrop of his career at Omnitrans, the public transit provider in the dense, populous, and ever-growing San Bernardino Valley.

“Being out of the city, away from large crowds, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells in nature, standing underneath a waterfall is a rejuvenating experience that can’t be duplicated,” explains Steve, who developed an appreciation for nature in his childhood years, often camping and hiking with his father.

Disconnecting from the world recharges him to be his best, and it seems to cascade into excellence at work. Earlier this month, Steve was recognized by the Omnitrans Board of Directors as the Employee of the Quarter for April-June 2018 for his contributions to the safety and training operations of the agency.

“We are a large agency, with over 600 people, and the award is given four times a year. I did the math and thought ‘Hey, this is pretty cool!’ says Steve, who was surprised upon learning of his recognition. “It’s the second time our department receives this award in the past two years, so it’s nice and encouraging to see that our work is respected.”

A couple of years ago, Steve attended a Transit Instructor Networking meeting hosted by Long Beach Transit. He noticed high-tech, interactive whiteboards in their training rooms, which made training a much more enriching experience. Thinking proactively, he shared the idea of bringing this technology to Omnitrans with his supervisors and the purchasing process began shortly thereafter.

After a few months of shopping around, the new interactive whiteboards were installed in our training rooms, as well as in other departments throughout the agency. The whiteboards allow you to project your computer onto the screen on the wall, and users can draw, make notes, and highlight items on the screen with just the tip of their finger, similar to what sports broadcasters do on TV. This provides a more visually-stimulating teaching experience that incorporates technology and eliminates paper waste.

Aside from refining the training process in the classroom, Steve also completed the Department of Motor Vehicles Employer Testing program in Sacramento and became certified as an official DMV examiner for Omnitrans, saving the agency $85 per person in testing fees.

Steve, who did not have bus driving experience prior to joining Omnitrans 16 years ago, enjoys having a direct impact in passing down his knowledge to future generations of Coach Operators. Prior to joining the Fleet Safety & Training team four years ago, he was a Coach Operator Instructor for nine of his 13 years as a driver, responsible for guiding new operators behind the wheel and out in our service area.

“Our job is very hands-on, so during the training process we have to figure out how each person will best retain information. Will they learn visually via videos or through a hands-on approach? Someone can do really well in the classroom, then get behind the wheel and freak out,” says Steve.

“Others, don’t do as well in the classroom, but when they get behind the wheel are complete naturals. We have to observe how they are going to retain the knowledge and adapt a style to each individual person.”

(From left to right) Omnitrans Deputy CEO/General Manager Erin Rogers, Omnitrans Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Steve Sisneros, and Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Scott Graham at October’s Board of Directors meeting, where Steve was presented with his Employee of the Quarter award.

Steve’s techniques for effective training include a lot humor and relaying his personal experience as a driver to the trainees. He considers that one the best assets that he brings to the table. Having the experience to back up his words creates trust and credibility between student and instructor. Establishing trust is paramount when many trainees have never driven a 40 foot bus before!

“You have to empower them and let them know that the bus is not going to do anything that you don’t want it to do. Once we can get them past that point, they are able to implement the tools that we have taught them to safely operate the coach,” he says. “When you can relay anecdotes and real stories from your own experience, then it’s just a matter of time before it all falls into place and they gain confidence needed to drive the bus.”

Steve acknowledges that his success would not be possible without the support of his team. He genuinely loves what he does, and looks forward to retiring at Omnitrans when the time comes. To him, the career longevity of many of our drivers’ 25-plus year careers are a testament to the level of satisfaction that this work provides.

“On the days when the going gets tough, realizing that you’re helping that elderly lady get to the grocery store and those kids to get to school is important. Those are motivating factors and a nice reminder of the meaningful work that we’re doing,” says Steve.

Omnitrans Employees Give Back

Omnitrans Coach Operator, Daniel Hernandez.

The Omnitrans community banded together last month to help a mother in need after her son suddenly passed away after suffering a severe asthma attack.

The 11-year-old boy was the best friend of Omnitrans Coach Operator Daniel Hernandez’s granddaughter. Both children graduated from Curtis Elementary School in Rialto a week prior to the incident, and looked forward to commencing sixth grade at their new middle school together.

Daniel shared the tragic news among his colleagues, and word quickly spread around the Omnitrans team. “Without asking for anything, donations started to pour in,” says Daniel. “Of their own will, they volunteered to donate toward the related expenses. Drivers, trainers, field supervisors, maintenance workers, and even a driver from Mountain Transit, who I’d never met before, all dug into their wallets to help lay the boy to rest.”

The financial assistance during the single mother’s unexpected loss was much appreciated. “When I presented the funds to the family, I was in shock,” shares Daniel, who unknowingly collected over $360 in cash gifts. Omnitrans staff also contributed to the family’s GoFundMe online fundraiser.

The generosity of these selfless individuals echoes Omnitrans’ broader mission to connect our community. “A few of us have children with asthma, so this tragedy hits close to home,” says Daniel. “At Omnitrans, we take care of each other like extended family, and I am grateful and thank everyone for rallying behind this boy’s family in their time of need.”

Meet the Omnitrans summer interns!

In between pool sessions this summer, these four individuals can be found interning at Omnitrans! We are proud to provide these driven students with an enriching experience that will give them job skills that only can be obtained outside the classroom, setting them up for career success.

Get to know our interns:

Cynthia C., Rail Operations Intern

Cynthia C., Riverside, CA
Rail Operations Intern
Biochemistry major at University of Redlands

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
So far, I enjoy how willing to help everyone is. I feel like everyone around me genuinely wants me to succeed, learn, and help me move forward. There is a strong community here at Omnitrans.

What are your career goals?
I plan on staying involved with business administration throughout my career.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
This internship is exposing me to the administrative office and the working world on a professional level.

Gabby S., Marketing Communications Intern

Gabby S., Beaumont, CA
Marketing Communications Intern
Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations at California State University, San Bernardino

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I enjoy working alongside the Marketing team: Nicole, Janice, and Jose. Their willingness to teach me new things everyday has made this experience very rewarding. Working at Ominitrans has helped me learn to network and overcome obstacles in the marketing field.

What are your career goals?
My goal is to start as an Event Marketing Specialist and work my way up to a Senior Marketing Manager. I also have plans to attend graduate school and obtain my Master’s Degree in Business Marketing after a few years of work experience.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
Interning at Omnitrans has allowed me to get my foot in the door for marketing and has allowed me to network with other organizations/businesses with confidence. This internship has helped me understand communication practices intertwined with marketing and how to properly execute an idea and make it come to life. Daily, I take on new tasks and get the most out of this experience with the quality events and materials being produced here at Omnitrans.

Kathryn L., Transit Planning Intern

Kathryn L., San Bernardino, CA
Transit Planning Intern
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) major at San Bernardino Valley College

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I appreciate working alongside the dedicated professionals in the Planning department. Each of them have taught me something unique to their position and I enjoy learning from them.

What are your career goals?
My goal is to work in planning, specifically transit or city planning.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
This internship is allowing me to learn and grow in more ways than I expected. I’m finding new and creative ways to fine-tune my GIS skills with the transit planning tasks given to me which I know will prove beneficial in the future. Thank you, Omnitrans!

Kevin B., Rail Operations Intern

Kevin B., Claremont, CA
Rail Operations Intern
Master’s in Transportation Science at UC Irvine

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
I enjoy being able to work in the field in which I hope to have a career someday. It’s great to be surrounded by people who share my passion and to absorb the knowledge they share. I’m glad to be able to work on a start-up railroad to see first-hand what goes into such a large project.

What are your career goals?
This fall I’ll be attending UC Irvine for their Transportation Science Master’s program and following that I plan to complete San Jose State’s Transportation Management Master’s program. I hope to have a career within a public transportation agency where I can work to enhance and expand public transit.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
My internship is a fantastic way to get my foot in the door in the transportation industry. It’s especially exciting to be working on the Arrow project and being able to see what it takes to start a railroad from scratch. This experience is invaluable to me.

To apply for open internship positions or full/part-time jobs, visit our Careers page.

Omnitrans Hires Suzanne Pfeiffer as HR Director

(San Bernardino, CA)  Suzanne Pfeiffer has joined Omnitrans as Director of Human Resources, bringing over 30 years of human resources experience in both the private and public sectors.  She fills a vacancy created by Marjorie Ewing, who is retiring after 19 years at Omnitrans.

Pfeiffer most recently served as Chief Human Resources Officer at C-TRAN, the public transit agency in Vancouver, Washington.  At Omnitrans, she will oversee a department of 11 employees and is responsible for the agency’s personnel policies, recruitment and training, benefits administration, labor relations and Workers’ Compensation management.

“I’m really excited to be here and look forward to continuing my career in transit at Omnitrans,” said Pfeiffer.

Prior to working in the transit industry, Pfeiffer held HR positions at Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, Antioch Unified School District, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, and Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund, Inc.

Pfeiffer attained an MBA with an emphasis in HR from Columbia Southern University.  She earned a BA in Business Administration and Management with an emphasis in Personnel Administration from California State University – East Bay.  Her professional certifications include PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional) and CBP (Certified Benefits Professional).

Pfeiffer is also an adjunct professor for the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University teaching Human Resource and Organizational Development courses.

Employees of the Quarter, Keith Lembach and Dan Olaru

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach believes that safety is not just the Coach Operator’s job – it should be everybody’s priority. It is his commitment to passenger safety that earned him the recognition of the Omnitrans Board of Directors as our Employee of the Quarter, in partnership with Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“I always ask people, ‘How many people do you want to see injured today?’ says Keith. “If the answer is more than zero, you need to go home. It’s all of our jobs to promote safety.”

Employees of the Quarter Keith Lembach (center left) and Dan Nelu (center right) are recognized by (from the left) CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey at May’s meeting.

Prior to joining Omnitrans two and a half years ago, Keith had acquired 37 years of valuable transportation experience. This includes years driving private charter buses and trucks. As a trucker, he accumulated two million accident-free miles – a remarkable feat in safe driving.

Just prior to Omnitrans, Keith served as safety manager for a transportation company. Seeking to turn around their dissatisfactory safety record, the company asked him to takeover as director of the program.

A desired change in career led Keith to Omnitrans, where he enjoys being out in our service area and interacting with our drivers and passengers. “I enjoy that every day is different. You can’t script this job. Every driver is different, every passenger is different,” he shares.

While driving sbX one day, Keith heard a loud crash near the back of the bus. Immediately, he paused the bus and noticed that a bike had slid all the way to the front of the bus from the bike holding area.

“I walked back and told the passenger that the bike had to be secured onboard. He said that it had been strapped in properly, but that the Velcro straps weren’t strong enough to hold the bike and that it fell out of the storage area,” he explains.

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach begins his day at 5:30 a.m., helping to start the coaches and monitoring bus pullouts as service begins for the day. He checks for mechanical and farebox issues and helps them get resolved as service on the street is a time-sensitive matter.

Keith methodically assessed the bike straps and noticed that they were worn out and unable to hold the bike in any way. During subsequent ride checks, he noticed bikes tipping, falling, or coming completely unstrapped out of the metal racks. He saw the potential danger to passengers and to their property, and took a proactive approach to mitigating the hazard.

“Keith came into the Maintenance office in the body shop and talked to the supervisors about the trouble that he’d run into on sbX with bike racks,” says Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“They asked him to come see me. From there, we walked the bus and he told me what he wanted to achieve. About a week later, I started work on a prototype, which I finished in the same day. We installed it on a bus, and about a month and a half later we were ready to create bike racks for the entire sbX fleet.”

By trial-and-error, Keith and Dan determined the exact measurements of the new sbX bike storage racks. They readjusted heights several times to ensure bikes of all sizes fit without issue. Once the final prototype was tested, no matter how fast the bus accelerated or stopped, the bikes were not going anywhere.

Dan, a 20-year employee of Omnitrans and now two-time Employee of the Quarter, methodically employed his creativity and self-taught skill to design, build, weld, and install a new solution to better serve our bike-riding passengers. He used existing parts from the old bike racks and implemented them into the design of our new, unique bike racks, minimizing the cost of the project.

Dan works to repair minor damage caused to a panel on the rear side of the bus. After sanding the area, he will fill the dents and scrapes, smooth them, and prime the panel before adding a fresh coat of paint.

“In 1989, I was approved for a visa to move to the United States from Romania which was under communist rule,” reveals Dan. “When I arrived, I worked for an asphalt company and then was hired at Omnitrans in 1997. I knew a little bit about body work from doing that on the side, but this is where my skills got much better.”

Now one of two body shop employees, Dan recalls a time in which there were six workers in the body shop. “Whenever we had a little downtime, I used to practice,” he recalls. “I learned a lot of what I know over the years by observing others and asking the right questions.”

“Dan’s ability to install the new racks with minimal changes to the bus is a work of art,” says Maintenance Supervisor Keith Hunt. “Each time, Dan goes above and beyond what was asked of him. We truly appreciate his work ethic and can-do attitude!”

“It’s a different thing to take on every day – challenging things,” says Dan. “But I like that. The challenges are why I am where I am in my career today. I like to see things that I’ve created with my own hands be implemented and approved of by the people around me and by our passengers.”

Employee of the Quarter Ed Cooney

Our dispatchers play a vital role at Omnitrans – they make sure our bus system delivers service by guiding coaches and operators through obstacles from detours to mechanical problems to customer service issues – every day!

Dispatcher Ed Cooney’s strong work ethic and problem-solving skills made him stand out among his peers during the October-December 2017, making him the Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter!

Ed describes the award as a surprising honor that he did not see coming. After 25 years working with Omnitrans, he views this place as his second home, where he is simply happy to be of service to his community through our dedicated drivers.

“I like the people and we’re family here, although sometimes dysfunctional, like any other family,” he laughs. “That’s one of the major motivators. I’ve been put in a position where I can help people, and that makes all the difference.”

After almost six years driving for Metro in Los Angeles, Ed’s adventurous side took over and he decided to go to Brazil where he worked for a year. After moving back home to the States and settling in Montclair, he spotted an Omnitrans bus and chatted with the driver about his job. He was persuaded, and decided to give Omnitrans a try. He switched directions and headed east, this time, on I-10 to apply for a job as a coach operator.

“This entire lot was all dirt,” reminisces Ed as we overlook the East Valley bus yard in San Bernardino. “There was a single bungalow that housed human resources, finance, the CEO. Everyone was in that one trailer. I remember the mechanics had dug a trench, and they would drive the bus over the trench to work on bus maintenance.”

Ed Cooney and a new dispatcher in training go over the Trapeze Ops software used for record-keeping.

As Omnitrans progressed, so did Ed’s career. After five years of driving our buses, he was promoted to a dispatching role in which he has served ever since. Last year, when his supervisor retired, Ed selflessly rose above and beyond his required work duties to take on tasks of the vacant supervisor role. While doing research, Ed discovered software configuration errors, and took the initiative to tackle them himself.

With only four days of informal training, Ed took on the task of solving this problem, working 12-hour days and weekends alongside his peers, I.T., and the software vendor. As a result of Ed’s initiative and manual improvements to the process, the agency was prevented from overspending $10,000.

“I still go in everyday and double check for errors,” he explains. “In this job, I’m not obligated to do this. I could’ve asked management to hire someone that could fix this, but I felt a responsibility to the operators so that things were operating as they should.”

This month, the Omnitrans Board of Directors recognized Ed as our Employee of the Quarter for his diligence in ensuring that the necessary improvements were made and tested prior to live implementation of the software.

“Ed is a recognized leader in the dispatch office and is greatly respected by his peers for his loyalty, ability, and willingness to help others in times of need,” says Director of Operations Diane Caldera. “His recognition as Employee of the Quarter is greatly deserved.”

Employee of the Quarter Ed Cooney (center) is congratulated by (from the left) Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey and CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham.

“When I found out, I thought to myself, ‘Is there another Ed Cooney who works here?’ he recounts. “I think because I grew up in an environment where we didn’t get praise or appreciation, so when you do, it makes you feel a little awkward at first. But I appreciate Diane Caldera for nominating me and individually recognizing every dispatcher’s work. The morale has really been raised since she’s taken over.”

Travel and family time also are huge parts of Ed’s life. He recently visited Hawaii, and often flies to Brazil, which is where his wife hails from. He is a proud father to his two daughters, graduates of University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I don’t have an R.V. because of tuition bills,” he jokes. “But I was so happy to win this award after 25 years of working here. I knew my loyalty to Omnitrans, which could be best described as canine in nature, would someday lead to this recognition!”

Omnitrans Employee of the Year 2017

Employee of the Quarter John Steffon (left) is presented with his award by CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham (right) and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey (center) at February’s board meeting.

As he prepares for retirement in just a few months, East Valley Transportation Manager John Steffon is definitely going out on a high note as Omnitrans recognizes him as the Employee of the Year for 2017!

Throughout the last year, John played a crucial role in keeping Omnitrans operations flowing smoothly during a time when numerous management positions were vacant in his department. John postponed his retirement as he took on duties of the West Valley Transportation Manager, East Valley Assistant Transportation Manager, and Dispatch Supervisor in addition to his own.

During this time, the operations department was able to increase our part-time driver roster to ensure that bus service needs were met for our community and to prevent our current coach operators from working overtime on their days off. John was instrumental to these efforts and the successful onboarding of new drivers as he managed many of the day-to-day functions of the department.

“Time management was tough,” admits John. “Some of your own work has to take a backseat to what really needs to be done then and there. This was the biggest challenge – trying to keep everything up to date from attendance, to handling all ATM duties, making sure all dispatch supervisor duties were being handled, and covering at West Valley if we needed to handle any disciplinary issues.”

Although John looks forward to retiring soon, he remains fully committed to our mission of connecting our community while he is still here. “It’s coming to an end and it’ll be time to move on in a few months. Omnitrans has been very good to me, and I come here every day with a smile on my face.”

Congratulations, John! Your dedication to your employees and to our passengers is valued and appreciated.

Meet the new Omnitrans interns!

Omnitrans is proud to introduce our three new interns! As these young professionals work toward their career goals, we are proud to be providing them with an enriching experience that will give them job skills that only can be obtained outside the classroom, and prepare them for the “real world.”

“Bringing new interns to Omnitrans makes them aware of how an organization works. They are able to obtain knowledge, skills, and abilities to bring added value to the table,” says Director of Human Resource Marjorie Ewing. “By providing this opportunity, we are giving students a paid internship, exposure, and the experience they need in seeking out their career goals.”

Get to know our interns:

Laura B., Emergency Preparedness Intern

Laura B., Colton, California
Emergency Preparedness Intern
Biology major (emphasis in Biotechnology) at Brigham Young University, Idaho

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
What I enjoy the most about working at Omnitrans is the many learning opportunities I experience as I tackle new projects. Each project has been different than the previous one which challenges me and keeps things very interesting.

What are your career goals?
My careers goals are to continue my education and obtain a master’s degree and doctorate degree in the field of nursing. I hope to achieve a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in order to work in roles of clinical practice-oriented leadership, managerial, or executive level positions.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
The Safety and Security team has taught me the importance of communicating and writing effectively by giving me the chance to formulate procedures, presentations, and processes. I am improving upon my time management skills by setting my own pace for timely completion of my projects. Not only am I brushing up on those skill sets, but am also gaining a lot of knowledge regarding emergency preparedness which will be very useful in my career as a nurse should I be called upon to assist when or if disaster strikes.

Hector E., Human Resources Intern

Hector E., Highland, California
Human Resources Intern
Business Administration major (emphasis in Human Resource Management) at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I enjoy how welcoming and helpful everyone has been. Everyone works well together as a team. Overall, I believe that Omnitrans is an amazing company to work for.

What are your career goals?
I plan on becoming a compensation analyst and eventually move up as a compensation manager. I plan on earning my Certified Compensation Professional Certification (CCP) and attending graduate school to obtain my Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Human Resource Management.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
My internship is helping me have a better understanding of all the different functions in HR. I am able to utilize what I have learned in class and apply it towards my daily duties. In addition, Omnitrans has provided a solid foundation of learning that will allow me to grow in my career.

Myles G., Rail Operations Intern

Myles G., Hesperia, California
Rail Operations Intern
Master of Science in Transportation Management at San Jose State University

So far, what do you enjoy most about working at Omnitrans?
I enjoy working with Director of Rail Operations Trischelle and Compliance Officer Loretta as they mentor and take me under their wing to not only show me the procedures and operations of rail, but also how to build a great railroad from the ground up which is what we are doing in preparation for the Arrow launch.

What are your career goals?
My career goals are to further myself in the rail industry, whether it be in the public transit sector or working with freight rail. This is an excellent starting point to broaden my knowledge and get familiar with all elements of the transportation industry, specifically in rail.

How has your internship helped you get closer to achieving those career goals?
My internship has helped me get closer to my career goals first and foremost by getting my foot in the industry and giving me opportunities to network heavily with other transportation and railroad professionals.

For current internship opportunities at Omnitrans, and other jobs available, please visit Omnitrans.org!

Omnitrans Hires Deputy General Manager Erin Rogers

We are honored to welcome to the Omnitrans family the newest member of the executive team: Deputy General Manager Erin Rogers!

A Syracuse, New York native and resident of Tustin, Erin joins Omnitrans with nearly 30 years of experience in the transit industry. Her journey began in Boston, where she first worked as a paratransit manager at DAVE Transportation Services.

Erin spent 16 years working for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), including 10 as assistant general manager. Most recently, she served as regional vice president for MV Transportation, Inc.

“I knew the Omnitrans team was doing great work and that there are exciting projects on the horizon, such as the West Valley Connector and Arrow,” Erin shares.

As deputy general manager, Erin will serve with CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham and the Senior Leadership Team to set the direction of the organization and ensure that we deliver on the agency’s commitments to the Board of Directors and residents of the San Bernardino Valley.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the team and making positive contributions to better connect our community.”