Tag Archives: omnitrans employee

Going strong for 35 years at Omnitrans

This past October, finance clerk Teresa Padilla celebrated her 35 year anniversary with Omnitrans.

In an age when most people spend an average of 4.6 years working for the same company, it’s quite an accomplishment. Even at Omnitrans, where the average employee stays for 12 years, Teresa is an anomaly. What’s her secret?

“I love what I do, and Omnitrans is like family to me,” says Teresa simply. “I started here as the first dispatcher for our special transit service in 1978. I’ve known most of my co-workers for years, and I care about them. They’ve become an important part of my life, and we share a history. Many of us have seen this agency grow from a little office trailer in a gravel bus yard to a modern building with a fleet of 164 coaches. It’s amazing when you think back and realize how far we’ve come.

Today Teresa works in our finance department. She enjoys her job and is proud of the level of confidence her bosses have in her. She handles all accounts receivable, and it’s a position of trust she takes seriously.

She also likes the fact that Omnitrans is willing to invest in its employees through on the job training and education. “When I first started here in ’78, there were no computers. When technology grew and they became an essential, everyday part of the workplace, I learned those skills from my peers and supervisors. They taught me well, and I know my job because of it. I’m also a member of the agency’s Toastmasters group, which has helped immensely in improving my speaking abilities. I’ve gained more confidence and use a lot fewer ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ when I talk now!” she laughs.

Teresa Padillo hands out samples of her famous low-cal soy chorizo burritos & Carmi Lopez pours a healthy smoothie at the Omnitrans Wellness Fair.

Over the past year, Teresa has taken on a leadership role as a health advocate in the Omnitrans Wellness Program. Her lunch classes, which featured a mix of food sampling, educational materials and funny, down-to-earth conversations about healthy choices, were among the best attended in the agency.

“It was a fun way to get people to try new things and just share some great tips,” says Teresa. “I knew that some of these people would never even think about buying foods like hummus or kale at the grocery store in a million years. It just wasn’t something they were familiar with. But when I brought items into class for people to try, they loved it. We sampled everything from kale chips to chorizos and learned healthy alternatives to some of their favorite foods.”

A winning combo of educational materials, great conversation and food sampling made Teresa’s lunch & learn classes on nutrition and fitness very popular.

Teresa is probably most proud of her role as a union rep for the teamsters. “I’ve learned so much, in particular the importance of maintaining a balanced overview. You have to treat people with respect, know all the facts, and always work for a solution. A lot has to do with getting along with other employees and remembering there is always time for laughter, being personable and smiling. That’s all it takes to make friends. I’m fair but I’m also not afraid to call people on their stuff if they are wrong. They respect me for that, and I’ve never had a problem.”

To Teresa, Omnitrans means more than just a job. It is a constant source of pride. “The service we provide is so important to the people in our community, and I’m proud to be part of that.”  She smiles, “It feels good to know you’re helping to make a difference.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
junocarlson@omnitrans.org

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Coach Operator lends a hand to stranded riders

One night after his last run, Omnitrans coach operator Earl Roberts was doing a final bus check before going off shift when a supervisor asked if he would mind transporting a young woman with a small toddler who had missed the last Route 14.  Without hesitation, Earl agreed.

“Being a father and grandfather, you think about your own family being in that situation. You can’t leave children stranded like that. And while I was driving the young lady to her stop, we came across other people who had also missed the last bus. So I pulled over and picked them up too. I ended up doing the entire round trip that night. People were grateful for the help, and I didn’t mind,” Earl smiled. “But I did remind them to check the bus book and get familiar with the schedules because this was definitely an exception. We can’t normally do a special run like that.”

A coach operator with more than 30 years of experience, Earl describes his life as simple and happy. “I’m not an exciting person. I don’t scuba dive or skydive or climb mountains or anything like that. I like to read, garden, go for a drive along the coast with my wife, or just spend time with my family.  I like working for Omnitrans and take pride in my career. Being a coach operator combines two of the things I enjoy most—driving and working with people. My father taught me his work ethic, and it’s something I’ve always tried to follow. He said son, you work hard, take care of your family, go to church and live by the Golden Rule.”

“Basically I try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. It’s a learning experience both ways. If you’re good to people they will generally be good to you. A lot of times passengers ask me: ‘You having a good day, coach operator?’ I always smile and say yes. I decided a long time ago that there is no such thing as a bad day. I always have good days. Realistically, let’s face it, sometimes bad things can happen on good days. But every moment is what you make it. It’s your attitude, your outlook on life–that’s what makes the day.”

Earl was honored this month with an Omnitrans Going The Extra Mile (G.E.M.) Award  for his exceptional service to our riders.  He regularly drives Routes 3, 14 and 20, where he makes it his mission to get a smile from his passengers. If you see him, be sure to give a wave or say hello. And if you ask him what kind of a day he’s having, he’ll always break out into a grin and tell you it’s a good one.

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!

Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Robin Bose, Omnitrans coach operator, retired Army

Coach operator Robin Bose enlisted in the Army when he was 21 and became a helicopter crew chief. He says the military taught him to grow up and become more disciplined.

“I learned not to be a whiner, but just to take it on the chin. In the Army sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, but you learn to just do it and ask questions later. And it feels good to know that you actually accomplished something.”

Robin first learned about Omnitrans through a veteran’s job fair. He applied, went through all the training and has been working as a coach operator for the past 17 years. “I like driving. I’m outside and get to meet a lot of different people. I’ve gotten to know some of the vets who ride the Route 2 to go to the VA hospital. Several of them I know by name. There’s a lot of camaraderie there. I just really enjoy meeting people.”

In fact, meeting people on the bus has had a major impact on Robin’s life. Seven years ago when he was riding the bus home from his shift, he got to know one of the regular female passengers. After several conversations, she gave him her number and told him to call her. “I waited two days to phone her,” he confessed. “I really liked her but was afraid of coming across as desperate. Then when I finally called, she was mad at me for taking so long!”

Robin and his wife Stephanie have been happily married now for 5 years. “It actually took me a couple of years to finally propose. One day we just looked at each other, and I said maybe we should get married. She smiled and said she thought that sounded like a great idea. So we did. I’m a lucky man,” said Robin.

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Have you seen this man at a bus stop?

Dennis Eaves with a photo from his original Omnitrans employee badge

This man has been waiting at the bus stop for 25 years!  Well not waiting actually. Working is more like it. In his two and a half decades, Dennis Eaves probably has been to all of the 2,500 bus stop locations in our 450 square mile service area.

Neither wind nor rain or summer heat wave can keep Dennis down, and in 2011 he had a perfect work attendance record. He’s installed new bus stops and benches or relocated them as needed, cleaned bus stops and removed graffiti.

When Dennis started with Omnitrans, bus stop signs just had the Omnitrans logo on the front.  Since then we added route decals on the signs and installed schedule kiosks at more than 299 locations.  We’ve also added 171 trash cans and 49 solar lights at 220 locations.   Later this year Dennis and the rest of the Stops and Stations team will be changing out all our bus stops signs with new ones featuring our new logo to be unveiled in August.

Since Dennis first began working for Omnitrans in 1987, he’s lost a lot of hair. But he still has the same drive and can-do attitude that he walked in the door with 25 years ago. If you see him at a bus stop near you, be sure to give him a shout out!

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans Coach Operator Nathan Weathersbee


“I always felt there was nothing I couldn’t do”

When Coach Operator Nathan Weathersbee came to California in 1962, he made
a promise to himself—that he would one day own a big house and have a pocket full of money. It’s a dream he’s achieved through hard work, determination and  an indomitable spirit.

Nate grew up on a farm in South Carolina with his parents and eleven brothers and sisters. They lived in a two bedroom house and slept three to a bed. The family had a cow, some crops and a handful of chickens that they managed to survive on. From the time he was little, he was out in the field picking cotton, corn or anything else that needed harvesting. He was always a quick learner, confident in his abilities and never one to let an opportunity pass him by.

Nate’s first experience with driving came when he was 8-years-old and taught himself how to drive the family tractor. Years later in high school he drove the school bus for the black students. Racial segregation permeated every aspect of southern culture in those days, and Nate was acutely aware of the limitations it imposed.  But his belief in himself never wavered. “It just made me stronger. I always felt there was nothing I couldn’t do, given the chance.” When he graduated high school in 1962 he decided to leave the south and move to California in search of new opportunities.

“My daddy had taught me how to cut hair when I was little,” said Nate. “And I actually became pretty good at it. I used to cut hair for all the kids in our neighborhood.“ When he got to California, he went to school to become a certified barber and had his own shop for several years. But when he had a family of his own and needed benefits, he decided to try bus driving again and went to work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in LA for 11 years.

Nine years ago he joined the Omnitrans West Valley team. “I love coming to work. Every day is something different,” said Nathan. “I’m a people person, and you have to like people to be good at this job. In some ways barbering is not so different from bus driving. I can see in people’s eyes if they’re not happy or if they might be difficult. I talk to them with calmness and respect and they almost always leave my bus with a smile and a ‘thank you, bus driver’. In fact, every day before I get on the bus I say a simple prayer. God protect this bus. No harm, no accidents and no confrontations from anybody. Just let me have a peaceful day,” Nate smiles. ”And I do.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org