Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104
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Text Transcripts

2003 Operator of the Year, Porter Mathis

Porter Mathis/Metro Operator of the year says:

When I first show up to work, at four oclock in the morning, I make sure I sign in. After that I make my routine check of the bus, I check the mirrors, check the tires, oil, the water, I make sure all the windows are clean or clear enough that I can see through it properly. After that, I just made the outer perimeter of the bus, so now Im sitting in the seat and I make sure that everything is operating properly. After that Im ready to go.

Good morning, how are you, how are you today? Doing well? Hope so. The first thing on my mind is to please the public, I make sure, I look at myself and think, well Porter, first thing I want to see is a smile, and be on time. I have to be on time, if Im not on time then my passengers get upset. Ive been driving for 29-30 years so Im not really looking at my watch anymore, its kind of a routine. Its like, breathing, I know what time I have to be there, I might glance at my watch one time, but other than that, Im just a routine operator, Im just driving naturally.

Afternoon, how are you doing? Good, transfer today, there we go, its not afternoon yet its still morning, Im sorry. I have to say something good to everybody. I like people, I like to see friendly faces and I like to see people just having a good time. When I see people that are sad orI try to say something that will perk them up or at least smile so they can smile and if we coincide together then it makes my day.

When I pull up to a stop actually the first thing I do is I make sure everything is safe. I make sure I have the proper angle coming into the curb, I make sure there are no cars or other buses parked in front of me and I make sure I get close enough to the curb because Im looking at the age of the passenger or if its a woman or a man. I make sure I get close enough to the curb so they can step up onto the bus without having to jump.

Actually when Im driving down the street or on the road, my job is to be a defensive driver. Im always supposed to be thinking twice, or ahead, anticipating whatever someone else is going to do. There are a lot of crazy drivers now, everybody has coffee in their hands, papers, briefcases, cell phones, theyre not really paying attention to driving, theyre always in a hurry. So the bus driver has to watch out for everybody. And nobody likes to be driving behind the bus, seems likes you can look behind me right now, Im looking in the rear view mirrors on both sides and Im in two lanes of traffic but still everybody wants to pass the bus.

Alright, have a great day, everybody enjoy the weather, bye, (bye) okay, take care now, watch your step. See you later. (later) Okay. Give me one more hug, the kids really love us bus drivers.

Giving me an interview today. (Are they really?) Driver of the years so(Did you really? Congratulations.) Thanks. I first walked into the room and they had the sign "Operator of the year" and everybody was clapping and yelling and I kind of was just in a fog but then after everything calmed down I said, you know what? Thank King County for the operator or the year, for giving me the operator of the year, because I thought I really worked hard in my lifetime for being a bus driver and you know its just swell to get a pat on the back from the corporation that you work for. Really get appreciated, I feel good about that.

Back to Porter Mathis page.

2004 Operator of the Year, David Alexander

Harold Taniguchi says:

There are more than 25-hundred full and part time Metro bus drivers. Theyre all skilled professionals, its not easy to navigate a 60-foot long, 50-thousand pound bus around the county. But only one can be named the operator of the year. The winner is chosen by their fellow drivers, and its a closely guarded secret until the surprise announcement.

David Alexander has been a Metro driver for 27 years, and has received hundreds of commendations from his customers on routes 71, 72 and 73 serving North Seattle, the U-district and downtown Seattle.

Among the awards that come with the driver of the year honors are a reserved parking space for his vehicle when he comes to work, a specially cleaned bus to drive everyday, a ring that gives him "godfather" like status with his fellow drivers (nat snd "Ill never take it off") and several other prestigious awards.

I had the honor of awarding David the plaque that bears his name and enshrines him in the Metro Drivers Hall of fame.

There is one more, big honor. Daves picture will grace every Metro bus for the next year, with congratulations on being named driver of the year.

With many family and friends on hand for the ceremony, Dave was uncharacteristically short on words to describe the honor.

One more thing, in addition to driving for Metro, Dave helped out earlier this year in producing a video to improve safety between bus drivers and cyclists. The guys just got a great attitude, hes a great driver and for the next year Dave will enjoy a great ride as Metros operator of the year.

Back to David Alexander page.

2005 Operator of the Year, John Fabre

Narrator Says:
The surprise on John Fabre's face is the payoff for his co-workers, friends and family. It took a great deal of effort to keep this secret.

John, a 36 year driving veteran, is Metro Transit's operator of the year. But it's not really a surprise to anyone who knows John.

He's received numerous commendations from passengers during his career, and he's operated every type of vehicle there is– buses, trolleys, streetcars, and even the monorail back when Metro operated it for the city.

With the title comes some perks, a ring that gives him godfather like status among his peers, his own specially reserved parking spot, and a freshly cleaned bus to drive every time he comes to work.

There are other honors as well that have significance in the world of bus drivers, and it's a little overwhelming even for a guy who's seen and done it all in his 36 years on the job.

Metro Operator of the Year John Fabre Says:
I'm not really a talkative person unless you're riding on the bus, (laughter) or on the phone (more laughter), but again, thank you (applause).

Narrator Says:
The other half of this year's MVP's comes from the mechanics who keep all of Metro's buses rolling, and in the world of Metro fixers, Brian Nussbaum reigns supreme.

Brian is Metro's Vehicle maintenance employee of the year.They say if Brian can't fix it, then it must not be broken.

A 20-year Metro veteran, Brian knows the honor comes with a bit of ribbing and teasing from his co-workers, but that's a price he's more than happy to pay.

Brian Nussbaum Says:
You're right there, I've already been teased once before about my parking place when I was employee of the "shake-up," you know they picked you because of certain things and whatever.  But it's really an honor to win this award.

Narrator Says:
So next time you're on the bus, look around, you'll see posters honoring Brian and John for the next year on every Metro bus.

Back to John Fabre page.

Back to Brian Nussbaum page.

2006 Operator of the Year, Pat Calman

(Sounds of crowd cheering)

Narrator Says:
He represents the best King County Metro Transit has to offer and for the next year Pat Calman will be recognized for it.

Pat is Metros Operator of the Year for 2006 and with good reason. Hes been an operator at Metro for 27 years and as of April 2007 has posted a 25-year safe driving record.

Pats current position is whats called Report Operator, and means that he shows up every day not knowing what route hell drive to fill any unexpected hole in the bus driving schedule caused by another drivers illness or unexpected absence. But whichever it ends up being day-to-day, Pats always reliable and rider-oriented.

King County Metro Transit Operations Manager Jim O'Rourke Says:
It's one thing to drive a bus, and do a really good job of driving a bus, and certainly he does that, but pat is someone who's involved in a lot of different things, who takes the time to be in a security committee or with Metrofit, or whatever needs to be done around the base, Pat's there, and he has the concern about the job and about what's going on with his fellow operators to show up, represent them and do an excellent job in that area.

Narrator Says:
The "Operator of the Year" award goes to the operator who demonstrates safe driving skills, exceptional customer service, and an outstanding overall work record.

The operator must be chosen as Operator of the Month at one of the seven transit bases, and then must be selected for the annual award by fellow Operators of the Month.

King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond Says:
You guys, it's because of you we have a job, it's because of our fine operators out there, and I think while this year you're the operator of the year, chosen by your peers, I know you're representing thousands of fine employees that go out every day and do us proud, and do the citizens of King County proud.

Bellevue Base Chief Keith Howe Says:
Pat has repeatedly been a source of assistance, and his willingness to help out is a tribute to his professionalism, another one, I was greatly impressed by this operator's actions as he recognized the basic nature of the shuttle route and strove to improve on it and cover nearly every zone possible that was missed as a result of a blockage.

Narrator Says:
And whats the recipe to achieve the pinnacle of Metros operating awards?

2006 Metro Operator of the Year Pat Calman Says:
A lot of patience, when I first started I thought I was going to teach everybody how to be a good bus rider, and I found out there was a lot more of them than there is of me, so I had to fold that one back, and just let people do what they are inclined to do, and try to, pick up the pieces.

Back to Pat Calman page.

2007 Co-Operators of the Year, Richard L. Boehmer & Nathanael Chappelle

Sounds of event applause

Narrator Says:
Every year, King County Metro Transit honors an operator it considers to be the Best of the Best, and this year its two for the price of one.

Nate Chappelle and Richard Boehmer will both take the award home.

To determine the honoree, Metros 84 operators of the month vote for who they think should win.

This year, a strange thing happened, an exact tie in the voting.

Bellevue Base Supervisor Jeff Wamsley Says:
And fortunately here we're not into run-offs, or final elections or anything of that nature. If there's two people that deserve and award, they get the award. And that's what's happened this year. And Richard and Nate, I just want you to know while you hear the term co-operators of the year, you're not half an operator of the year and you're not half an operator of the year, you're the full thing, you're the real deal.

Narrator Says:
Nate Chappelle has been with Metro since 1978, and currently drives on all of the trolley routes.

Hes noted for all the extra work he puts in behind the scenes serving as chief shop steward at Atlantic Base, as well as serving on the security committee, public safety partnership and other special transit projects.

He also went out of his way one day when he saw a man that appeared to be in danger.

Atlantic Base Chief Pam Davis Says:
Well, he received a commendation from Ron Sims, Kevin Desmond, Harold Taniguchi, and Jim ORourke for stopping when he saw this guy straddling a bridge over the freeway, he stopped his bus and distracted him enough until help could get there and they could get this guy off the bridge.

Narrator Says:
Richard Boehmer has been with Metro for almost 30 years, and jokingly tells the story of originally taking the position for extra money while looking for a quote real job.

He currently drives Metro route 222 through Bellevue, and says he has always enjoyed interacting with the customers on his buses.

Richard also goes above and beyond to make sure every rider is taken care of.

Bellevue Base Chief Yvonne Greenwood Says:
Richard, the big guy here, began working at Metro in 1979. he has 29 years of exceptional service, 26 years of safe driving and numerous commendations. He was selected as operator of the month in may 2000 at East Base, and was honored again in December 2007 while working at Bellevue Base. He received the George Turner Award for the second quarter of 2007. This award recognizes operators who best exemplify a positive attitude and keen awareness of the elderly and disabled in our communities.

Narrator Says:
Metro employs more than 2,600 operators who all do what they can to ensure riders get where theyre going safely and on-time.

Managers at Metro say thats part of what makes it so special to be part of this club.

Metro Deputy General Manager Jim Jacobson Says:
To give you an idea of how selective it is, Harvard thinks they're selective, but they only accept one out of every 10 people that apply there. Or maybe you're the American League Most Valuable Player, you're one out of 350. If you took all our operators and lined them up shoulder to shoulder it would stretch for about a mile. And two of the people get to step forward this year out of that line a mile long of people. And it's a terrific honor, and Im very proud of what you guys have done. And you guys ought to be proud of it too.

Metro Customer Service and Sales Manager Darwin Campbell Says:
True professionalism is when you take something that's very, very difficult and make it look very, very easy. and all of you do that every day on a daily basis. and I say that to all of you, all you operators in general and particularly Richard and Nate, keep doing what you're doing because you're making us all look good.

Back to Richard L. Boehmer page.

Back to Nathanael Chappelle page.