Dakota Transporter
Volume 17, Issue 3Fall 2005

Dahlgren Named North Dakota Driver of the Year

by Carol Wright, Director
James River Transit
Jamestown, ND

Picture of North Dakota Driver of the YearMike Dahlgren has been chosen as the 2005 North Dakota Driver of the Year. Drivers are nominated from transit projects across the entire state. A driver is selected based on their outstanding performance.

Mike has been employed at James River Transit since October 2001. He began as a fill-in, part-time driver. It soon became apparent that his skills went well beyond some fill-in driving hours, and James River offered him a regular part-time driving schedule plus the added responsibility of scheduling all maintenance and repairs for our vehicles. Mike currently works full-time. In addition to all the duties previously listed, Mike tracks all gas purchases for the fleet of vehicles, monitors and reports all transit statistics, and receives all transit income.

The passengers have benefited greatly from his dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. He is a model of customer service. Mike is self-motivated and consistently does more than is asked of him. He also volunteers time outside of work to assist with our many fundraisers. Mike is a true professional in every sense of the word. He takes pride in his role as a driver and as an employee, and represents James River Transit well each and every day.

Prior to this nomination, James River Transit had never submitted a driver's name for the Driver of the Year Award. They feel that ALL of their drivers are equally valuable in their positions, and have not wanted to single any one of them out over the others for individual recognition. However, Mike's role goes beyond that of a driver and encompasses many aspects of coordination within the transit department. For that reason, his nomination was submitted, and he was selected to represent the quality and integrity of all drivers across North Dakota.

Congratulations, Mike, on your award and on a job well done!

Schumacher Named South Dakota Driver of the Year

by Ron Baumgart, Director
River Cities Transit
Pierre, ND

What is a "driver of the year?" Is it someone who has performed some life-saving act? Or perhaps it is someone who devises income-boosting programs? Or is it someone who shows, every day in many ways, his dedication, his compassion, and his patience to his employer, fellow employees and, most of all, his customers?

If the latter is the case, then there is no finer driver than Tony Schumacher. For the past five years, Tony has been the man behind the wheel - transporting passengers who have come to love him and mentoring newer drivers into the smart way to operate a bus and provide the best customer service. Tony also provides his employer with the best kind of service on which they can depend. I can say in all sincerity that we at River Cities Transit wouldn't know what to do without him.

Picture of South Dakota Driver of the YearTony is an early morning driver with RCT and you can count on him to be up before the chickens. His shift usually starts around 6 a.m., but Tony has been seen pulling into service as early as 4:30 a.m. when necessary-which he performs without any argument. Whenever there is a real early ride, we always check with Tony because he never lets the customers down. Tony's normal driving shift ends around 10:30 a.m., but it is not at all unusual to find him answering telephones or dispatching into the early afternoon.

In his own inimitable shy and quiet way, Tony can charm the surliest of passengers. They may enter his bus in a bad mood, but they leave with a new look on the day - a perspective that is positive and happy. His fellow drivers, especially those new to the job, look to Tony for guidance and inspiration. He explains the way of transit to them in a manner that is easy to understand and that results in improved customer relations.

This brief glimpse at Tony's personality and commitment to his job shows that he more than fits our definition of just what a "driver of the year" should be. His customers all love him and he thoroughly enjoys his job. He has a heart of gold and shares it with all of his friends. Tony also makes friends of all his riders.

Here at RCT, Tony is our rock. He is the "go to" guy for the extra mile or the 110 percent. Working with him is a breeze - just let him know what you need and it will get done. He would be an asset to any transit agency; but he's ours.

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