Dakota Transporter
Volume 16, Issue 3Fall 2004

Drivers of the Year Honored

Brenda Schweitzer, Arrow Public Transit

With a special luncheon Sept. 22, the Dakota Transit Association honored two very important people within our organization.

The Starlite Ballroom in Sioux Falls, SD, was the setting for a wonderful meal, complete with an ice sculpture of a transit bus. Approximately 56 guests listened as DTA President, Ron Baumgart, thanked SURTC for sponsoring the luncheon, and also recognized present board members and the three newly elected board members. President Baumgart said it was his privilege to thank the many people who reach out and are transit's true ambassadors. Without our drivers, there would be no transportation. There were several wonderful applicants for the designated "Driver of the Year."

Picture of Cheryle UrlacherThis year's honorees are: Cheryle Urlacher, driver for Southwest Transportation based in Bowman, ND. Cheryle is a mother of three and has been driving for Southwest Transportation for more than 10 years. Cheryle's nominating director, Donna Schaff, wrote of Cheryle's genuine concern for her passengers, being unfailingly reliable with just an on-call and backup driver basis for a four-county area, primarily consisting of out-of-town trips. She treats all passengers with courtesy and respect, with Donna receiving several calls of appreciation and commendation from those that have the pleasure of traveling with Cheryle. Donna also recognized Cheryle's attention to vehicle maintenance and needs, making sure that they were always ready to go. Cheryle thanked Donna for the nomination and the organization for the award and coat. The challenge of providing transportation in the remote area of North Dakota was noted by Cheryle, and through her experience and listening to the seminars presented at the DTA conference, Cheryle emphasized the need of additional funding for transportation.

Picture of Dave ChipmanDave Chipman, a retired boss of 36 years from Homestake Gold Mines, and employee of Prairie Hill's Transit was named South Dakota Driver of the Year. Until the luncheon, Dave was still unsure "why he would be at this conference."

Barb Cline, director of Prairie Hills Transit, introduced Dave. He started his job with Prairie Hill's Transit after retiring from Homestake...looking for "just a few hours." Quickly Dave's keen sense of humor and willingness to keep the buses rolling were great assets to the project. Dave thoughtfully referred to each ride individually as "Driving Miss Daisy." His few hours turned into more hours than his pension allowed, so he quit for a time. Dave never totally left the transit, as the new vehicles, the building and the expanding service kept him drawn in. Telling Barb he "really missed the people," Dave asked her if there would be a place for him again. Keeping an ear on the radio, Dave often is the one to offer assistance when schedules are tight. His above-average driving record, work history, and customer service are all noted in surveys, making him a favorite with riders because of his caring manner and safe vehicle operation. Prairie Hills is also honored with his portrayal of Santa Claus for children and seniors at Christmas time.

DTA Logo | Home | Newsletter Archives | Required Plug-ins

Dakota Transit Association's Newsletter
Serving North and South Dakota

Any questions or comments?
Please use our comments form.