Tag Archives: women in transit

Diane Bojorquez: Employee of the Quarter

Diane Bojorquez is honored as Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham, Marketing Director Wendy Williams, Employee of the Quarter Diane Bojorquez and Board Chair Alan Wapner

What do you do when your department undergoes a restructure that doubles your workload? If you’re Diane Bojorquez, you roll up your sleeves and rise to the challenge. On November 5th, she was honored as Employee of the Quarter creating and implementing a hugely successful fare change communication plan.

“It’s been an interesting few months,” admits Diane. “With the reorganization, we eliminated a staff position, which then added pass sales distribution responsibilities to my list of duties. At the same time, we were preparing for our first fare increase in five years, so it was critical to streamline our process and come up with a good communication plan.”

Diane Bojorquez,  photographer Juno Kughler CarlsonDiane’s first priority was to personally visit each of our more than 80 pass vendors to let them know she would be servicing their accounts directly, which would cut down on the turnaround time for order fulfillment. It also gave her the opportunity to talk with them about the upcoming fare change well in advance and to answer any questions they might have.

“I knew that spending time with each of these businesses and re-establishing relationships with them was going to be the single most important thing I could do,” explains Diane. “It’s all about building a community where our partners feel supported. I wanted to be face-to face with them so they could associate Omnitrans with a real person who wanted to take the time to get to know them and understand their needs.”

Her efforts paid off.  Vendor feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Orders are now streamlined and processed within hours rather than days, and pass outlet sales have grown 13% year to date.

Diane then turned her attention to the online store. In order to change over product prices, she knew the store would need to be temporarily closed for business for 2 days prior to the fare change. With the help of her team, she sent letters to mail order customers notifying them of the online store closure and enclosing a chart that compared current and upcoming fare prices.

Diane Bojorquez celebrates with family and friends,  photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Employee of the Quarter revelry with Jonathan Bojorquez, Diane Bojorquez, Tembi Tovar, Melissa Castillo, Diana Duran and Lilliann Duran

By anticipating customer needs before they arose and delivering outstanding personal customer service, Diane ensured our 2014 fare change went smoothly, and that there were no complaints related to outlet or online store fare media. Online store revenues were up 35% in September versus last year.

“None of it could have happened without the support of my team,” Diane points out. “Tembi Tovar, our administrative secretary, made the rounds with me to the outlets and helped process orders. Our receptionists Susie Perez, Lucy Gonzales-Brown and Liz Calderon made sure our walk-in customers had the fare change information in their hands, processed exchanges and helped answer questions. It was definitely a group effort, and I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.”

Diane celebrates her 10 year anniversary with Marketing Director Wendy Williams (left) and Customer Service Manager Melissa Castillo (right)

This year Diane celebrated her 10th  anniversary with Omnitrans. She has over 37 years in the transit industry, including 27 years with LA Metro, where she began as a 19-year-old information clerk.

“Transit has been a great career for me,” says Diane. “And I like the fact it’s allowed me to change and grow along with it. Technology has changed a lot since 1975, but I was fortunate enough to receive on-the-job training that gave me the skills I needed to adapt. Omnitrans is very good about encouraging employees to develop leadership skills and come up with new ideas that can help the agency.”

Two years ago, Diane participated in a Leadership Achievement Program at Omnitrans, where she developed an audio advertising project.  The project would enable short, GPS triggered audio advertisements or public service messages on buses at carefully spaced intervals. This month, her project was approved for implementation.

Diane and family, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Diane Bojorquez and her children Diana and Jonathan

“I’m really excited about it,” she laughs. “It’s been such a long process, that I can hardly believe it’s finally happening! It will bring in additional revenue at absolutely no cost to the agency. It also provides a location-based service to our customers.  For example, they might learn that a nearby drugstore is offering low cost flu shots or that a restaurant is offering 2-for-1 specials for riders who show them a bus pass. It’s a simple way we can add value for our passengers.”

In her private life Diane is all about family. Her daughter Diana, son Jonathan, and granddaughter Lilliann were all on hand to cheer her on during her award presentation.  Diane proudly shows off a photo of an intensely focused Lilliann striking a catching stance in her softball uniform. “She’s the only girl on the team,” she grins. “I love that she’s so independent. She knows what she wants and goes for it! Kind of like her Grammy.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter Diane Bjorquez and grandaughter Lilliann,  photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Strong independent women run in the family: Diane Bojorquez and granddaughter Lilliann

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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Two directors take on expanded roles

Omnitrans Directors Wendy Williams and Marge Ewing, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Omnitrans Directors Wendy Williams and Marge Ewing

To increase efficiency and reduce administrative expenses, Omnitrans is eliminating some management positions and consolidating some departments. Marketing and Planning will merge under the leadership of Director Wendy Williams, while Director Marjorie Ewing will steer the combined Human Resources and Safety and Regulatory Compliance departments.

This is not the first time Ewing has headed a cross-functional department. Prior to joining Omnitrans 15 years ago, she was the Manager of HR and Safety & Security for Alumax, an aluminum manufacturing company with more than 500 employees. “It’s a natural marriage of functions,” she explains. “HR works closely with safety because of workman’s comp claims and OSHA regulations. All injuries, both non-industrial and workman’s comp, have safety implications. And most security issues involve some form of employee relations, requiring investigation, discipline and prevention.”

Williams, who has 33 years of professional experience in marketing and communications, has been with Omnitrans since 1991.  She believes that merging two departments so strongly tied to the customer experience simply makes good sense. “The marketing and planning functions have worked closely together through the years, so combining the departments is a good fit. We are focused on moving the agency forward with the ultimate goal of increasing ridership by providing transit options that meet the mobility needs of the San Bernardino Valley.”

Both directors look forward to the new challenges they will be facing in the coming year.

“Our department has several critical items coming up,” said Ewing. “With the recent passage of Federal laws like MAP 21, new safety requirements are being considered nationwide which will require certification of all Safety & Security staff. As charter members of the Transit Mutual Assistance Compact (TransMac), we will also be working with transit agencies throughout southern California to establish formal agreements on how we will provide mutual assistance to each other in the event of an emergency. Other projects include process safety management, the installation of a PA system both at our facilities and at our sbX stations and establishing fare evasion protocols and training for field supervisors.”

Williams’ department will focus on five key areas for fiscal year 2015. “Our goals are to increase ridership, complete the San Bernardino Transit Center, advance the West Valley Connector Project, increase pass sales and revenue and enhance customer satisfaction,” said Williams. “It’s an ambitious list, and I feel lucky to have a seasoned team and four skilled managers who are committed to making it happen.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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