Category Archives: Uncategorized

Potential donors sought in bone marrow drive

gaylord2So many of our Omnitrans family of employees and passengers have big hearts and a deep caring for those in our community. Nowhere is that more evident than when one of us is in need.

In February 2015, Rialto resident and retired Omnitrans coach operator Gaylord Hicks was diagnosed with MDS, a rare form of blood cancer. This loving dad and granddad is now fighting for his life, in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Attempts to identify a match from siblings and the National Bone Marrow Registry have been unsuccessful.

gaylord1Last month, several Omnitrans employees volunteered to be tested as a possible bone marrow donor in the hope that they would be able to help save Gaylord’s life or lives of others in need. The test is so simple. Just a quick swab inside your cheek can determine if you are a match to provide a lifesaving transplant .

Omnitrans HR Assistant Jennifer Villalobos was one of those who were tested as a possible match.

“If I’m not a match for Gaylord, my screening will stay in the system and I could be matched with someone years later,” she explains.  “How could I not give up a little convenience for someone experiencing the fight to live?  Donating could be the most significant thing I do in life, the greatest gift one can give.  And I’d do it again.”

Gaylord Hicks and wife Sheila in 2013

Gaylord Hicks and wife Sheila in 2013

Family friend and Omnitrans coach operator Debra Downton feels the same way. “Gaylord is a great man who always goes out of his way for others,” she says. “He has such a big heart. When I first moved out here, he took me under his wing because I have no family. He still checks up on me to make sure I’m doing alright. I call him Big Daddy because he’s always doing for other people and doesn’t like to have people do for him. Even now, he never complains. When I ask how he is, he just says ‘I’m okay, I’m okay. Just a little tired.’ He is a wonderful man, and we are all so grateful for the kindness and support of people who are reaching out to help him.”

Bone Marrow Drive to be held May 30th 
On Saturday, May 30th from 10:00 – 4:00, a Bone Marrow Drive will be held at 505 N. Arrowhead, Suite 505/505a in San Bernardino. Those interested are invited to attend, enjoy free refreshments, and be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Gaylord or others. For more information on this event, please contact Gayla Hicks-Wheeler at gayla626@aol.com.

swabIn addition to bone marrow donation, umbilical cord donation can also be a cure for someone with MDS or other forms of blood cancer.

To learn more about blood cancer and the different ways you can help, please visit http://bethematch.org.

-Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@gmail.com

Last chance to win a free bike!

crazy boy on a dirt jump bike on grey background - wide studio sOur #bikeomni Instagram contest is coming to a close this week, and so is your chance to win a free Cannondale Quick 6 bicycle from Don’s Bikes in Rialto and Redlands!

It’s easy to enter. Simply Instagram a photo of your bike with any Omnitrans, sbX or Omnigo bus or at any of our stops, stations, shelters or transit centers. Be sure to tag your photo using #bikeomni.

Entries will be judged on the best  combination of bicycle and Omnitrans imagery that promotes multimodal commuting. (We especially like photos that include a human being as well as a bike!) You must be a resident of San Bernardino, Riverside or LA County to participate. Complete rules and prizes are available here.

Contest ends on Friday, May 29th at 5:00 pm, so get your entries in as quickly as possible! You can submit as many photos as you like. To check out the competition you can search for #bikeomni on Instagram or click here.

We’ve only had a few submissions so far, so chances of winning are excellent! All you need is a bike, an Instagram account, and a little imagination. Good luck!

Buses not in service Memorial Day

md
Omnitrans offices will be closed on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day, and buses will not be in service. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26th and buses will return to normal operating schedules.

We remember and honor the sacrifices of all who have served, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are are still fighting. We thank you for your service.

An Omnitrans “Found” Story

DSC_0372Tiffany Holsomboch is awesome. At least her ex-boyfriend’s mom thinks so. She gave Tiffany a pretty fabulous spiked purse with a ring clasp as an early birthday gift about a week ago. So naturally Tiffany felt horrible when she accidentally lost the gift on the bus.

Tuesday night, she was riding the last Omnitrans Route 8 bus of the day. She had placed her purse on the seat beside her with her backpack on top of it. When she disembarked, she grabbed her pack and completely forgot about the purse.

Coach Operator David Castillo found the purse when he did his final bus check at the end of his run and turned it in to our Lost & Found.

I met Tiffany in the Omnitrans lobby where she was waiting to retrieve the lost item. “If nothing’s been touched,” she told us, “There should be a Hot Topic card, my Kickback card, Cingular cigarettes, a lighter and debit card in there”

DSC_0371She shrugs and laughs. “There’s only about 50 cents available on the card. So it’s not so bad.”

Tiffany finishes up her paperwork with the receptionist and takes her purse from the counter. “Here we go,” she says and opens it to look inside. She raises her head with a big grin and gives me a thumbs-up. “It’s all there!”

I congratulate her and admire the spiky black clutch with its long shoulder chain. “Oh you have to see the best part!” Tiffany exclaims. She slides her fingers inside the ring clasp at the top and poses while I grab a quick photo. Fun!

Happy birthday, Tiffany!  Here’s to happy endings, cool ex-mothers-in law, and good Samaritan coach operators.

DSC_0373

- Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

 

Employee of the Quarter Mae Sung

Mae Sung  head shot

When Accounting Manager Mae Sung heard that she was being honored as Employee of the Quarter for her exceptional work , she reacted with astonishment.

“It was very surprising to me because I just felt I was doing my job,” she confessed. “And I was amazed at how my team all came to support me. I definitely can be hard on them sometimes because I hold them to such high standards.  But I also hold myself to those same standards and never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

Mae’s management style is to lead by example. She never balks at taking on any job, large or small, because she views it as an opportunity to learn. Her energy, positive attitude and willingness to chip in wherever needed inspire her team to do the same. Everyone is encouraged to cross-train to gain a better understanding of each other’s jobs.

DSC_0604

From left to right: Omnitrans CEO and GM P. Scott Graham, Employee of the Quarter Mae Sung, Board Chair Allan Wapner and Finance Director Donald Walker

“We are more than a good working team,” she points out. ”We are like family. We work well together and all of us genuinely care about each other. Every single one of us has a specific skill that contributes to the whole. If any part is missing we cannot complete our work. We understand this and respect each person for their contribution.”

Mae believes that open communication is the key to the department’s success.

“Wednesday mornings we have our staff meeting, and free speech is always encouraged. We talk about business and sometimes we’re all in agreement and sometimes we disagree. But we discuss what’s going on and let them know what is expected by the company, by each department, our boss, a board member, whatever the case may be. In the end, we all have a clear understanding of our goals and how we will attain them.”

Mae and team

Mae proudly poses with members of the finance team

Often the biggest challenge Mae faces has to do with gathering the information she needs from the various departments.

“Not everyone understands finance and accounting, so sometimes I have to nudge other departments into cooperating with us. We are held to tight deadlines that they don’t have. For example we have a deadline for payroll. We want to be sure everyone is paid accurately and in a timely manner. We have deadlines to pay vendors and have to collect invoices from each department in order to make payment. I don’t want to receive a phone call about a past due invoice. Sometimes I have to personally walk down to the departments to prompt them, but I think they understand that’s my job.”

Mae desk

In her private time, Mae enjoys music and travel. She has been to Japan, Taiwan, China and is looking forward to touring Europe. Most recently she had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Italy.

“I was looking forward to listening to some of the famous operas in Italy, but I was disappointed. It was too crowded and I didn’t have the time. But I did get to enjoy some of the live bands—such beautiful music and talented artists.”

Music has always been an important part of Mae’s life. Growing up she was trained in classical music and played piano.

”I don’t have time for it now, but I dream that later after my retirement I can do that again. There’s a deep joy that comes from playing the piano. That type of music is so soothing and brings you a quiet peace. I live in Corona and always set my radio to 91.5 FM the classical music station during the commute. I love it.”

Finance Director Donald Walker with Employee of the Year Mae Sung

Finance Director Donald Walker with Employee of the Year Mae Sung

Still, Mae can’t bring herself to don earphones in the office to listen to music. “I can’t do it,” she laughs. “It makes me feel cut off. I have to hear everything that’s going on outside the door. They might need me for something.”

Although Mae has worked at Omnitrans for more than 9 years, she is still passionate about what she does and it shows.

“I love my work because I like to give people a better understanding of their financial situation,” she explains. “Companywide, people spend but they don’t have the big picture. Our goal is to collect information from each department, analyze it, readjust it, classify it, and illustrate it with diagrams and beautiful pictures and compile it into a report. This way everyone is aware of how much we earn, how much we spend, and what’s in our future.”

Mae and Don1

Don and Mae share a laugh together. “She is such a pleasure to work with and is truly deserving of this award,” Don tells us.

In fact, since 2006 when Mae and her boss, Director of Finance Donald Walker, first joined Omnitrans, every annual comprehensive financial report they have put together has earned the agency top awards.

“Don and I work very well together. I feel so lucky to have such a nice boss. From the beginning, he has always given me room to grow. He’s not controlling like many other bosses but is very understanding. He gives me the space to go ahead and do whatever I think I should do and encourages me to expand this position into something more.”

Mae and team2

The team teases Mae: “We celebrated your award at lunch without you. But the waitress sent her best wishes.”

Laughter and conversation erupt in the outer office as team members gather together to have a group photo made with Mae. She smiles.

“Omnitrans is a very nice company to work for,” she says. “There is room for people to grow and move up, and people are allowed to be themselves. I’m happy here, and I think all of our finance team is happy too.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Bike to the Ballgame event May 17th

Cycling Club Meeting On Suburban Street

Celebrate Bike Month with Omnitrans, the Inland Empire 66ers, and the Inland Empire Biking Alliance at our Bike to the Ballgame Event!

Bring your bike to San Manuel Stadium (280 South E St., San Bernardino) on Sunday, May 17 between 12:30 – 2 p.m., and enjoy a free bike tune-up, cold drinks and a FREE ticket to see the 66ers take on the Lancaster JetHawks at 2:05 p.m.! Combining your bike ride with Omnitrans Bus Route 2 makes the trip to the stadium easy and hassle free.

Omnitrans is bike friendly!
Bike racks are on all Omnitrans fixed-route buses, no extra charge. Our local, freeway express, and OmniGo service have front racks for up to three bikes, and sbX offers interior racks for four. Whether you’re commuting to work or school, heading just across town or out for adventure, you can bike and bus on us. For more on riding Omnitrans with your bike click here.

bike event

Enter our #BikeOmni Instagram contest!

DSC_0044

Celebrate Bike Month with our #BikeOmni Instagram contest! You must be 18 or over and a legal resident of San Bernardino, Riverside or LA County to participate.

Entering is easy. First, be sure you are following @Omnitrans on Instagram.

Next, simply Instagram a photo of your bike with an Omnitrans, sbX or OmniGo bus or at an Omnitrans bus stop, transfer center or station using the hashtag #BikeOmni.

BikeImagePhotos will be judged on the best combination of bicycle and Omnitrans imagery that promotes multimodal commuting. You can enter as many times as you like.

The  Grand Prize Winner will receive a fabulous prize pack that includes a Cannondale Quick bicycle, courtesy of Don’s Bikes of Redlands and Rialto. Click here for official rules and prize details. Contest ends May 29th at 5:00 p.m. Good luck!