Dakota Transporter
Volume 18, Issue 4Fall 2006

ND Driver of the Year

Picture of Jim Martin and Ron Baumgart, DTA PresidentJim Martin from Handi-Wheels
Nomination letter submitted by Handi-Wheels

Most people spend much of their work life looking forward to the day when they can retire. When Jim Martin retired from his profession as a pastor, he had too much drive and ambition to sit at home and do nothing. He knew that he liked driving and working with people, which led him to inquire at Handi-Wheels about driving a bus. As a pastor, Jim gained a lot of experience in working with a variety of different people. Now Jim brings those people skills to Handi-Wheels and its customers. Our passengers are benefiting from the remarkable kindness and enthusiasm which exudes from this dedicated man.

Jim Martin has contributed greatly to enhancing transit in Fargo through his unending willingness to go the extra mile. He is self-motivated and consistently does more than is asked of him. Since being hired, Jim has become a certified PASS instructor and has not only trained the other Handi-Wheels drivers, but has participated in training other drivers across the state. Jim is the primary driver trainer for Handi-Wheels.

Our passengers have benefited greatly from his dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. Jim is very professional in his manner, communication skills and his ability to make all passengers feel welcome, safe, and comfortable. They also know that they can count on him to do everything possible to get them to their destinations on time.

He is the model of customer service. His customers like him and often provide positive comments back to the office about his driving. Jim serves as a positive role model for our entire staff and spreads positive motivation throughout the agency. As a matter of fact, since Jim started training other drivers, we have received many more compliments on the quality of service provided by all of our drivers.

The Driver of the Year Award is about drivers who demonstrate a willingness to go beyond what is required of them by their agency. Jim's extraordinary character and dedication, as well as his commitment to exceptional customer service are what help him stand out as a driver worthy of being named North Dakota's Driver of the Year for 2006.

SD Driver of the Year

Picture of Barb Ballensky, Vermillion Public Transit Director and Robin Muecke-LamsterRobin Muecke-Lamster from Vermillion Public Transit
Nomination letter submitted by Barb Ballensky

I am writing on behalf of my driver, Robin Muecke-Lamster. Robin was selected by her peers as our representative for the 2006 South Dakota Driver of the Year. This is the third year in a row that my employees have nominated Robin. Robin has been with Vermillion Public Transit since August of 2002. She began as a relief driver, moved into an afternoon shift and became full-time in February of 2003.

Robin is a very flexible employee. She learned the driving duties quickly and learned the dispatching duties within the first two months of employment. When an afternoon position opened, Robin was hired for that. Then, when another driver moved away, his position and her position were combined into a full time driver position. These decisions were based on her excellent performance.

Robin represents Vermillion Public Transit to the public and all our customers in a professional and positive way. She is very courteous and helpful when working with customers and vendors. She knows all her riders by name and takes the time to get to know each one as an individual. We have customers who request Robin by name.

Robin takes pride in her job and goes the extra mile to help her passengers and her co-workers. If something needs to be done, she jumps in to help. I have Robin train new drivers on the buses. She shows them their route and how to get around town more efficiently. She works as a team player, helping her co-workers whenever she can.

Robin has excellent attendance. She is truly a joy to supervise. She is willing to help figure out how to meet new challenges as they arise and completes her responsibilities with minimal supervision.

Robin also looks for ways to make things more efficient. She takes the time to review schedules to look for ways to regroup rides. She works with customers to make their rides work for them and transit. Robin also has thought of ideas and made recommendations about office efficiency and streamlining paperwork for drivers.

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