Employee of the Quarter David Powell
September 23, 2020
Building Maintenance Mechanic David Powell was recognized as Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter for April-June 2020 thanks to his significant contributions to our COVID-19 emergency response.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and with the great challenges posed by COVID-19 this year, there has never been a stronger drive at Omnitrans to innovate to continue serving our essential customers safely. Luckily, talented and creative team members like Employee of the Quarter David Powell continue to rise to the occasion during crisis.
As building maintenance mechanic, David enjoys the daily challenge of using his creativity to innovate and create. During the April-June quarter, his passion was instrumental to the agency’s adaptability during an unprecedented time. Using skill and creativity, David successfully designed custom plexiglass driver barriers that minimized contact between coach operators and customers to mitigate the potential spread of coronavirus.
“One of my favorite things about working at Omnitrans is getting to fabricate things,” says David, who has a track record of creating innovative solutions here at Omnitrans. “When I was approached by management to see if we could create a barrier in-house that met safety standards, I was happy to start working on the first prototype.”
After building his first barrier prototype using materials lying around the shop, David experimented with and tested different plexiglass types, then worked on a “bill of materials,” which listed every piece of hardware needed, including hundreds of hinges and brackets, some of which were also made in-house to expedite the process.
Once the plexiglass panels were cut to measure and all other pieces were on hand, it was an all-hands approach to install the barriers on over 120 buses. The large assembly-line system was a different approach for the team, but time was of the essence. “Everybody brought a different valuable skill and expertise level to the process, from mechanics to parts clerks, and we were able to have the barriers installed in a matter of six days, which is very impressive. I can’t say enough about our crew,” says David.
During a time in which the entire country was trying to get their hands on plexiglass for protective barriers, this was no easy task. But David’s sharp skills, which are the result of exploring his innate curiosity about how things are built and function, were an asset during this critical time. By June 1st, all buses had been retrofitted with the new barriers, and Omnitrans was able to resume front-door boarding in a safe manner.
“David’s attention to detail in the design and functionality of the barriers is highly commendable, especially considering the short time frame we were working in to ensure that they would perform as expected,” says Director of Maintenance Connie Raya. “He is always willing to use his talent and ingenuity to best serve our employees and customers here at Omnitrans.”
David worked for various restoration shops in the Inland Empire before settling in at Omnitrans. His last job was working for Bauders in Crestline, restoring what he calls “fat fender” cars, such as 1932 Fords. While he was passionate about restoring muscle cars, he decided to look for a more stable career, as the owner of Bauders was retiring. Omnitrans benefits, insurance and retirement plan really appealed to him, so he brought his abundance of knowledge and experience here in 2006.
In his spare time, David continues to restore cars. At one time, he had seven cars at his house in various states of restoration. Currently, he is restoring a ‘71 Monte Carlo, which he hopes to run on the track. He loves to attend drag races, such as the Winter Nationals in Pomona and the Auto Club Speedway. His ultimate dream is to build a track car and race it.