It is not just a buzzword of the moment – the last few months have truly been a rapidly-evolving situation for all organizations, businesses, and community members. OmniTrans was certainly not exempt from the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, but thankfully, our dedicated staff rose to the occasion to continue serving our community amidst the unforeseen obstacles that came our way.
Building Maintenance Mechanic Stirling Christiansen’s exceptional contributions and commitment truly shined during OmniTrans’ response to the ongoing health crisis and has been named Employee of the Quarter by the OmniTrans Board of Directors for the January-March 2020 period.
Stirling, who has been part of the OmniTrans family for just under six years, was surprised and humbled by this recognition. During this quarter, he exemplified the flexibility and adaptability required of us all to keep up with the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 situation.
OmniTrans implemented a number of changes to protect customer and employee safety, including a new disinfecting protocol to protect our essential workers, who are integral to delivery of transit service to other essential workers who relied on us for transportation during the stay-at-home order.
“The custodians clean every day, but we had to kick it up a notch and start sanitizing door handles, stair rails, and tables, using industry grade disinfectants on top of the usual all-purpose cleaners,” explains Stirling.
The increased frequency of these new measures meant more work for the Facilities Maintenance team, in addition to every-day tasks such as pre-maintenance and inspection of bus equipment for the safety of all who use it. Stirling and his team stepped up to the plate to ensure that all enhanced standards were met throughout this busier time.
“There are seven people on our team, but one of the building maintenance mechanics was assigned to the West Valley facility in Montclair to help our with the enhanced COVID-19 protective measures,” says Stirling. “We were down one person with more tasks to accomplish, but we are a team and help each other out to meet the tasks at hand.”
During this time, an all-hands approach was taken by maintenance staff to help ensure the safety of our facilities, as well as that of our frontline bus operators and customers. Stirling, along with the rest of his group, had a hand in the construction of our new bus driver barriers to help minimize contact and prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
“Everyone, from drivers to department heads, had a say in this custom creation. Dave did the actual design of the barrier and came up with the prototype,” reveals Stirling. “Once the design was complete, we had to order all the materials, and everyone in the group helped build them. Pedro and Craig were out installing them on the buses, up to 29 shields per day. Joe, from the mechanic group, came over to help because we needed to finish by June 1 to resume fare collection. It was a true team effort.”
Throughout this time, OmniTrans administrative staff also began alternating days in the office and working remotely as a means of social distancing. Stirling willingly stepped in as a relief supervisor for his team in March while the facilities supervisor and manager worked at home to alternate days in office. In this capacity, Stirling ensured that all necessary tasks were being completed and remained on track at the East Valley facility.
“Stirling’s work ethic is unparalleled, and he is always willing to go above and beyond for OmniTrans,” says his supervisor, Facilities Supervisor John Gensel. “He is one of our essential workers, making our facilities safer for staff to come to work every day to continue providing essential service to our community.”
“I feel very lucky to work at OmniTrans,” says Stirling. “We have great leadership from our director, manager, and supervisor, and I enjoy working with my peers daily. What more can you ask for?”
Congratulations, Stirling, on this deserved recognition! Your dedication and commitment to OmniTrans, our staff, and customers is an asset that has undoubtedly helped us be the best we can be during this uncertain time.