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Metro Transit Division

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The 2006 Operator of the Year Pat Calman

photo of Pat Calman

King County Metro Transit's 2006 Operator of the Year has a degree in psychology, but his 27 years behind the wheel of a bus have probably taught him more about human nature than any textbook could. It's enhanced his own natural friendliness and compassion - just two reasons other bus drivers selected Geme "Pat" Calman for Metro's annual top honor.

"Pat is a real student of people," said his supervisor Bill Burdick. "He's extremely personable and helpful. You can tell he really likes people."

A bus driver since 1980, over the past seven years Calman has worked as a "report operator" for Metro. Report operators are on constant stand-by waiting to fill any unexpected hole in the bus driving schedule caused by another driver's illness or unexpected absence. That means Calman reports for work every day at Metro's Bellevue Base not knowing what his assignment will be, or what route he will be driving.

"A report operator like Pat has to be an expert on every route at the base," said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond. "They tend to be our most experienced drivers, and they serve as a great resource for the newer drivers. Pat has repeatedly demonstrated his value as a mentor, and his willingness to help out whenever called upon is a tribute to his professionalism."

During a surprise ceremony June 25th at Bellevue Base, Metro managers cited that willingness to go the extra mile for passengers and co-workers.

"Pat is always customer oriented," said Transit Operations Manager Jim O'Rourke. "His contributions to our organization extend far beyond driving a bus. He's worked on a variety of committees and projects, including taking a leadership role in workplace health and safety issues."

Calman also has commendations from bus riders, including one family of four who said he went out of his way to help them when they were stranded at the wrong transit center.

Calman was born in San Francisco and spent several years as a grip man on the city's famous cable cars. He and his wife, Lynn, moved to Seattle in 1979. Calman joined Metro in 1980 and has a 25-year safe driving record. The Calmans live in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle, and have two adult children.

"Lynn has often lamented that Pat lives at the base and just visits her," said O'Rourke. "That's too bad for her - but it's good for Metro."

Harold Taniguchi's message from the presentation ceremony: