Tag Archives: Omnitrans staff

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.”

Employee of the Quarter John Steffon

What do you do when your department is without a Dispatch Supervisor, Assistant Transportation Manager (ATM), and West Valley Transportation Manager? Well, if you’re John Steffon, you buckle up, postpone your retirement plans, and rise to the occasion. Earlier this month, John, East Valley Transportation Manager, was declared Employee of the Quarter for his contributions to the Operations department while taking on three other positions’ responsibilities.

“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.”

While juggling multiple jobs during this time in addition to his own, John had to work with his team and the agency to increase our part-time driver roster. This was critical in addressing a challenge faced by Omnitrans at the time – drivers having to work overtime on their days off to deliver service to our customers. Their efforts paid off.

“We’ve recently graduated a class of eight new coach operators, and today we have six people testing, with another class joining us in December,” reveals John. “The onboarding of new drivers is really helping to keep service on the road without forcing overtime on our existing coach operators. We are focused on building up our part-time drivers so that overtime goes down and as people retire or leave, we have people ready to fill their positions. It’s been tough, but we need to get service on the road because our passengers are the ultimate customers and they are depending on us.”

Employee of the Quarter John Steffon (second from right) is congratulated by (from the left) CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, Director of Operations Diane Caldera, and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey.

This year, John celebrates his 23rd year at Omnitrans. He has nearly 50 years of transportation experience, having spent almost 25 years at Greyhound in Los Angeles prior to Omnitrans. “Before that, I spent years in the army on boats, planes – all different modes of transportation! I served in 1967 and 1968 after being drafted upon graduating college,” says John, a Vietnam War veteran.

John began his career with Omnitrans as a field supervisor in West Valley. Sunday bus service had just started in 1994, and the agency hired two additional field supervisors, one of which was John. A year later the Transportation Manager position opened, and he was promoted in 1995.

“The most satisfying part of this job is coming to work with a positive attitude and seeing that we’re getting service on the road and helping people. The community needs us, and we need them. Being in the service industry, it’s our duty to provide that service, especially for those who really depend on us to get to work, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or other errands,” says John.

“You learn something new every day. You think you’ve seen all the situations that you possibly can; it’s mind-boggling. What I’m learning is how to keep up with all this new technology in the transit industry and, not to be too funny, but, also learning how to deal with millennials and speaking a little bit of their language,” he laughs.

Outside of work, John likes to dedicate his time to reading, golfing, and going outside on walks. He is also a major football enthusiast, and he is ecstatic that his team, the Rams, is back in Southern California. He proudly shows off his 2016 Omnitrans Fantasy Football League trophy. “The reason I need to walk is because I’m a couch potato when it comes to watching football!” he jokes.

Although John looks forward to retirement early next year, he remains fully committed to our mission of connecting our community. “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.”

Omnitrans welcomes new administrative secretary

Christine Vega - Omnitrans administrative secretary, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Omnitrans is pleased to welcome aboard Christine Vega, its new administrative secretary. Christine was a longtime employee of the County of San Bernardino, most recently as a secretary for the department of behavioral health. Her extensive experience in the government and business sectors, and exceptional office skills, will be a valuable asset to the Omnitrans team.

Christine has worked as a secretary all her professional life.

“I’ve always loved to type ever since I took typing classes back in high school,” she explains with a smile. “When IBM came out with their selectrics, I was a goner. I was just in love. And it just was a natural progression. After high school I went on to take business classes at Riverside Community College and worked in offices. I think my first job title was junior steno clerk because I also took shorthand. I had to memorize the shorthand dictionary and everything! In fact, I did that for a meeting I was at just yesterday. But what I like now is to sit in a meeting with a laptop. After doing it for so many years, you develop a sort of filter. It comes in your ears and goes out your fingers whether you’re writing it or typing it. Sometimes I can walk out of a meeting and think what did they all say? Then when I sit down and look at my notes, it’s all there.”

Still, if times had been different, Christine confesses her career choice might have been a little more unusual.

“At the time I graduated high school, women were expected to become secretaries, teachers, nurses or something like that. In my heart of hearts I wanted to be an astronaut, but that was unheard of back in those days. The first moon landing happened when I was a teenager, and it was all so exciting. I thought to myself I want to do that. But those doors just weren’t open, not really.”

Now she satisfies her love of travel and adventure by taking trips to Europe with Joe, her husband of 35 years. The two have passed on their passion for exploring places to their 19-year-old daughter Maribeth, who is currently an Airman First Class in the Air Force.

Christine Vega - Omnitrans administrative secretary, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Christine decided to come to Omnitrans because she was looking for a different challenge. Interestingly enough it was sbX that first caught her eye and prompted her to look at a career with the agency.

“When sbX went live back in April, all the county employees got emails about it because there was an sbX station right there on Hospitality. I remember reading about it and thinking how cool it was. At the bottom of the email, there was a section on job opportunities with Omnitrans. When I clicked the link, this administrative secretary position was the first one that popped up. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity with great benefits so I applied.”

With just three days under her belt, Christine is already settling in and making her mark.

“Coming down the 215 this morning I was so jazzed about coming to work and thinking about all the different things I would be doing. I was so excited I just flew right past the 5th Street off ramp,” she laughs. “I’m very glad to be here.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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