Tag Archives: omnitrans employee recognition

Employee of the Quarter Jannet Villaseñor

The daughter of a mechanic, naturally Parts Clerk Jannet Villaseñor grew up in the shop with all things automotive inculcated in her mind since she was 10 years old. So, when Jannet arrived at the Omnitrans West Valley facility parts warehouse only eight months ago, she was ready to take on the challenge of tidying up a place in dire need of reorganization.

“I revised and updated all these catalogs,” Jannet says, proudly pointing at the shelves displaying neatly stacked, color-coded binders with inventory of the agency’s mechanical parts. “If I am not organized, I am not able to work to my fullest potential. I had to make things better for us, to better help everyone in the mechanic shop.”

Jannet performed a thorough deep clean of the tool room, going well above and beyond her job duties to scrub and mop the floors herself. She spearheaded a team effort, employing the knowledge and experience of other clerks, to label, categorize, and rearrange the warehouse to positively impact the efficacy of the parts department.

“We had a gallon-sized bag of O-rings of all types, which is essentially four drawers’ worth of O-rings,” Jannet explains as she displays four methodically organized drawers filled with the gaskets (pictured above). She has taken brown paper bags, cut the top halves off, and placed them in the compartments of each drawer. Each compartment is well-stocked with O-rings sorted by size for quick identification.

“I found these paper bags in a cupboard, so I was able to put them to good use,” she shares. It’s this resourcefulness and willingness to take initiative that has garnered Jannet the Employee of the Quarter award, presented to her at the Omnitrans Board of Directors meeting this month.

Additionally, Jannet has separated and categorized extra parts from rebuild kits so that they could be repurposed and used in other repairs, helping to reduce the cost of buying parts that may already be in our arsenal of tools.

“Before, we had to dig through bags to find a part. If you couldn’t find it in the pile, you had to order it, which created an issue because then we were down buses needed to transport our passengers,” Jannet says of the trickle-down effects of a disorganized warehouse. “Now, things are easier to locate and keep inventory of.”

Board of Directors Chairman Ron Dailey, Materials Manager Rick Barone, Parts Clerk Jannet Villaseñor, her father and Equipment Mechanic Sergio Villaseñor, and CEO/General Manager Scott Graham at the May 1, 2019 Board meeting where Jannet was recognized as Employee of the Quarter for January-March 2019.

“Because of Jannet’s ingenuity, the efficiency of the Procurement-Parts Department has increased, allowing our mechanics to return buses to service quickly and avoiding dropped service. Jannet’s actions are an excellent example of outstanding customer service, communication, and leadership skills,” says Materials Manager Rick Barone.

Jannet has been building those skills since she was 18, when she began her career working for AutoZone. After five years, she became an assistant manager at O’Reilly Auto Parts. Her retail experience has helped shape her as a leader and given her invaluable customer service skills, which she utilizes daily as a parts clerk.

“This morning, a mechanic walked to the counter asking for a part that he needed, and I automatically replied ‘Sure, what type of car are you working on?’ she laughs. “It’s hard to shake off the retail voice sometimes.”

“I would like to thank my peers, Victor, Ray, and Alan, for being open to my suggestions, everyone at the East Valley facility for training me, and my dad for shaping my automotive mind,” says Jannet. “It’s a nice feeling to be able to contribute to the efficiency of our department, but it has not been without the help of a team.”

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!”