The Arizona Transit Association (AzTA) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) today announced the winners of the annual Excellence Awards. The awards were presented this week during Arizona’s 30th Annual Transit Conference, held in Phoenix.
The following award winners were announced at the awards luncheon:
Exceptional Leadership in Regional Transportation Policy & Planning
Winner: Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG)
AzTA and ADOT recognized the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) for its 50 years of service to the region.
Local elected officials created MAG in 1967 in response to needs requiring regional cooperation. Key areas of focus include transportation, air quality plans; big data; human services initiatives on aging, homelessness and domestic violence; economic development efforts, and creation of a regional 9-1-1 system.
2017 AzTA Transit Planning Scholarship Award
Each year, AzTA partners with WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) Metropolitan Phoenix Chapter to offer a scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to a graduate student focusing on public transportation.
Winner: Stephanie Stearns
Stephanie is currently finishing her Masters of Public Administration at Northern Arizona University where she has been focusing her graduate work on transportation policy. Stephanie is passionate about active- and sustainable-transportation and has an ultimate career goal to advance personal mobility. She intends on realizing this goal by becoming the general manager of a transit agency where she can advocate for and affect change at the highest levels.
Outstanding Transit Organization/Partnership: Recognizes the organization (any size or type in Arizona) that has demonstrated outstanding innovation, creativity, customer service and operational improvements in providing public transportation services.
Winner: Volunteer Interfaith Caregiver Program (VICaP)
The Volunteer Interfaith Caregiver Program (VICaP) is a non-profit organization that provides vital transportation services for elderly, disabled, and home-bound residents. It is VICaP’s mission to help its neighbors continue to live independently and maintain their quality of life. VICaP is a volunteer driver program. Last year, their volunteers provided over 15,000 rides, spent 11,100 hours on the road, and traveled 116,024 miles in their personal vehicles providing vital transportation services to the community’s most vulnerable people.
Outstanding Transit Individual: Recognizes an individual that has provided outstanding leadership and/or contributions to public transportation programs to the transit industry, to a jurisdiction or municipality, or to the private sector to improve the quality of transit services.
Winner: Kathy Chandler, Executive Director/ Mobility Manager, Northwest Valley Connect
Since she was hired as Northwest Valley Connect’s founding executive director and sole employee in June 2014, Kathy has accomplished so much including:
• creating a regional call center to assist residents in identifying available transportation options,
• developing a volunteer force to provide volunteer rides to seniors and those with disabilities
• creating a group trip program that provides rides and social opportunities for seniors by taking them to the mall, sporting events and other activities
• securing over $200,000 in grant funding and developing a fundraising strategy to sustain NVC in the long-term; and
• advocating for improved transportation and transit options in the area.
Honorary Outstanding Transit Individual Award
This year, AzTA and ADOT recognized another Outstanding Transit Individual, who the industry recently lost.
Honoree: R.C. Noderer, City of Tempe
R.C. worked for the City of Tempe in various transit capacities for 20 years and was a mentor to many young transit professionals who’ve taken R.C.’s knowledge and passion and gone on to successful transit careers across the country, including the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Greater Portland Transit District in Portland, Maine. He is missed by many. His daughter, Michelle Revie, accepted the award honoring R.C.’s contributions.
Outstanding Special Needs Transportation Program: Recognizes the outstanding provider of services for elderly persons and persons with disabilities, through improvements or innovations in operational efficiency and customer service.
Winner: WestCare Arizona Inc.
WestCare Arizona, Inc. helps all in need, in an effort to never turn anyone away. Services include working with the State of Arizona to help individuals with disabilities go to and from work, transporting seniors to and from doctor appointments, providing transportation to veterans; but most of all filling in when there are gaps in services
Outstanding Rural/Small Urban Transit System: Recognizes the outstanding provider of public transportation in rural or small urbanized areas through improvements or innovations in operations efficiency and customer service.
Winner: City of Show Low, Navajo County, Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, Town of Taylor, Town of Snowflake, Northland Pioneer College & MV Transportation
Since 1997, the Four Seasons Connection bus has provided a fixed route service to the White Mountain communities of Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside. In 2009, the White Mountain Connection bus line was added to provide commuter bus service from Show Low to the rural towns of Taylor, Snowflake and Holbrook. Daily operations are effectively administered by MV Transportation, making the White Mountain bus service one of the most cost efficient in the State.
Today, the Four Seasons and White Mountain Connection record over 200,000 passenger boardings annually. For many residents, public transportation is the only dependable means they have of getting to work, to school, to the doctor and store. For others, it’s a way to socialize and make new friends. This vital service is possible by a long-standing financial partnership with Navajo County, Northland Pioneer College, the City of Show Low, and the Towns of Pinetop-Lakeside, Taylor and Snowflake.
Outstanding Vendor: Recognizes a private sector supplier which has demonstrated superior support to the transit industry through its business enterprise providing goods, services, or other support.
Winner: Scott Bicknell, Creative Bus Sales
Scott has been a highly-valued employee at Creative Bus Sales for over 15 years. During his tenure, Scott has been involved with the make-ready, delivery, and training for most agencies receiving buses or vans through contracts with ADOT, ADOA, RPTA, RTA, YMPO, The Cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Kingman, Bullhead City, and many more.
Ed Pastor Friend of Transit: Presented in honor of former Congressman Ed Pastor, recognizes an individual, group, organization, or business that has demonstrated outstanding support of transit causes, promotes transit programs, and/or develops transit resources that builds the profession and its practitioners.
Winner: Leslie Rogers, Federal Transit Administration – Region IX
Leslie Rogers is retiring as the Regional Administrator of the FTA’s Region IX Office in San Francisco, where he served for more than two decades. Leslie’s 37 years of professional services to the FTA included serving as the Deputy Regional Administrator of the Region IX Office, as the Regional Counsel in FTA’s Region II Office in New York City, service as the Regional Counsel in the Denver Office, and as a staff attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel in Washington. His range of experience includes responding to the needs and concerns of small bus operators and tribal governments to those of the country’s two largest mass transit systems in New York City and Los Angeles. Mr. Rogers is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and the Howard University School of Law.
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