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In this issue: From the Editor......................2 Welcome New Employees....3 Fernando Oliva, Admin..........4


Carl Ford, Maintenance.........5 Lisa Wilson-Cash, Operator..6 Ron Brander, Operator..........7 A’s Vs. Giant’s Pictures......8-9 Wellness Program...............10 HR News.............................11 Company Picnic Info......12-13 Upcoming A’s Games..........14 Amusement Park Tickets....15 Maintenance Pictures..........16


A man trying to get on an overcrowded bus was pushed off by the people inside. ‘There's no room,' they said. 'It's full up!' 'But you must let me on!' shouted the man. 'Why, what's so special about you?' they asked. I'm the driver,' replied the man. Heard on a public transportation vehicle in Jakarta: "When you exit the bus, please be sure to lower your head and watch your step. If you miss your step and hit your head, please lower your voice and watch your language. "

June 2013 Vol. 62 First Quar ter 2013 The County Connection Employee Newsletter

From the editor:

milestones within our growing families this last month college , high school , middle school , elementary school , and preschool. It seems that time just doesn’t stand still . I sure wish it would! I’m striving to bring you a roll employees, I asked them to provide additional pictures to show us who their families are , or vacation pictures, or whatever they would like to share with our families, if you are interested in sharing those with everyone , please see me . I’d love to create a page dedicated to milestones. Now, I realize I was focusing should be celebrated. Perhaps, you are a grandparent perhaps your puppies had puppies…. Whatever the case may be , I’d like to get personal with you.

issue , please let me know. Sincerely, Valerie Volk Administrative Assistant-Marketing


County Connection recently welcomed four new employees to the family. Service workers Sonny Mendoza (left) and Sunray Salsky (right) bring years of maintenance, management and mechanical experience. Sonny worked most recently for our tire contractor, but spent time working on the maintenance team at Golden Gate Transit. Sunray spent several years in retail management before deciding to pursue work in the mechanical field. Sunray studied and is certified in aircraft mechanics, but promises to help keep our equipment on stable ground.

Kristina Vassallo (left) has taken over the EEO and DBE programs from retiring Janet Madrigal. Kristina comes to us from Chico State where she first earned her degree in Business Administration, then worked for the university in operations and special projects. Elizabeth (right) joined the transportation department as a Transit Supervisor. Elizabeth has a long history in the transit industry. She’s driven a bus, managed the safety and training program for San Joaquin RTD, and was the General Manager of the small transit system in Tracy. 3

Fernando Oliva – Administration

During the football season, Fernando coaches his son’s football team, Concord Cobras. In the five years he’s been coach, he’s led the team to two playoffs. Before Fernando became coach, Concord Cobras have not been to the playoffs in 15 years! Not only does Fernando’s son play football, his daughter is also a cheerleader for Concord Cobras. Unfortunately, she doesn’t cheer for her big brother and daddy because the teams are based on their ages. Fernando has been with the love of his life for 15 years! Just last year, they got married. Martha is an underwriter for an insurance company. Lisa Rettig said, “Fernando is extremely hard working and helpful. He also has a great attitude and is very pleasant. I think he should be honored for his dedication and work ethic.”

Fernando is a familiar voice on the other end of the line in Customer Service. He has been with County Connection for 6 years and is one of our bilingual reps. With the help of our Spanish speaking reps, callers can get direct assistance instead of having to use the language line. Language line is a helpful tool that reps can use when language is a barrier. Language line provides translations for all languages. Wonder how all the messy schedules get organized? It’s not really Fernando’s responsibility to put away the schedules but as the distribution clerk, he’s responsible for making sure there are plenty of schedules for the operators to take on their runs. With the help of Charlotte at the front desk, they get the schedules together and stocked up.


Congratulations Fernando for a job well done. County Connection is lucky to have an employee like you!

Carl Ford - Maintenance Service Worker Carl was working in the tire shop when he learned of the Service Worker position. Tire shop employees are actually employed by the tire contractor and are always subject to change whenever we go out to bid. With a solid resume and his demonstrated work ethic, Carl was quickly brought on board in the Maintenance department where he’s been for the past year and a half. Carl works evenings, and the key tasks are making sure the buses have been cleaned, fueled, and are ready for service first thing in the morning. Additionally, twice each week all the fare boxes are emptied into the vault. “We have a system in place that allows us to service between 30 and 35 buses in a shift” said Carl. “It’s repetitive work, but the time really goes by fast, and I prefer being in the outdoors compared to factory jobs I’ve had in the past.” Pete Steckhahn, PM maintenance manager appreciates Carl’s attention to detail. “His attendance and work ethic are excellent and he gets along great with his fellow employees. Carl also has a keen eye for spotting defects as he fuels and services the coaches so they can be dealt with before they end up as a road call.” Carl is a New York native who now lives in Vacaville with his wife and four children - ages 5 ½ months to 6 years. We can skip over the section where he talks about his hobbies and things he enjoys doing in his spare time – he actually laughed when asked! Keeping up four young kids is about all he and his wife have time for right now, and that suits him just fine. We thank Carl for his dedication to his job. Like so many of our employees he makes us proud, and we hope to see him around the yard for years to come.


Lisa Wilson-Cash - Transportation Lisa is a newbie to County Connection but not new to driving big buses! She will be here one year in July. Being selected as an honor roll employee after such a short time is a big accomplishment! She currently does a school run and the route 96. When first driving the 96 on highway 680, she didn’t like it, but now she is an old pro. Before joining the County Connection team, Lisa was a charter bus driver driving to River Rock and Thunder Valley for three years. But that is not where she got her training. Her bus driving career started at WestCat so she is no stranger to fixed route service. The switch to bus driving came after she was a caregiver for eleven years. As much as Lisa enjoyed being a caregiver, after she lost her client, she decided it was time to change fields. She applied at WestCat and was surprised to get the interview. Since she enjoys helping people, bus driving was an easy transition. Lisa has a wonderful partner and two grown daughters with families of their own. They each have two kids, one boy and one girl. One daughter followed her mom’s footsteps and is a caregiver. The other daughter is a cashier. Although Lisa doesn’t travel often and usually just travels to southern California and Las Vegas, recently she was able to travel to Louisiana. She was able to go to the great New Orleans and enjoy the southern comfort food of Bourbon Street and also the wonderful beignets. Beignets are the delicate 6

powdered sugar donut of the south. Nothing beats a beignets and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It was a pleasure getting to know Lisa. Congratulations on a job well done!

Ron Brander - Transportation

a job, he did manage to work two jobs to keep a steady income. After about six months or so, he was promoted back up to full time operator. Here’s a romantic love story for you. Ron grew up with his wife. They dated in the late 70’s. Even after breaking up and raising separate families, they stayed friends. They got back together in 1997! After many years of dating, they finally tied the knot. They’ve been married for over 3 years. Ron has a daughter, two-step daughters and a step-son. He recently joined the grand parent club with a precious grandson Nico. Thanks Ron for your dedication to your passengers and being selected for employee-of-the-quarter. Here’s to many more years as a County Connection operator!

Ron says if you aren’t having fun, you’re not enjoying your job. With that said, I believe you have to be a special person to drive the bus. You have to enjoy being around people, smile, and have good customer service skills. Ron says he always greets his passengers and smiles. If he thinks someone looks sad or upset, he asks them if they are ok. You just never know a simple question or smile can make someone’s day or give them a different outlook to their situation. Not everything is as bad as you think. Currently, Ron is on his favorite route. He enjoys driving Route 4 because he likes to ring the bell and make lots of noise. He says his passenger’s always appreciates him ringing the trolley bell. Since he is the last bus to leave Walnut Creek BART he pays special attention to incoming BART trains to make sure no one misses the bus. “Driving a bus is in my genes,” Ron says. Seriously, that’s no joke. His father was a bus driver in San Francisco. Shortly after his father passed in 1979, Ron got his start for the same charter bus company. He did San Francisco City Tours. He has also worked as a security guard and drove trucks. Ron has been with County Connection for ten years. He has seen a lot of changes. Shortly after he became a full time operator, he was dropped back down to part time in 2006. Thankful for still having 7

Annual nt’s a i G . s v A’s game Oakland Coliseum Monday, 013 2 , 7 2 y Ma



County Connection Wellness Program H.E.A.L. (Health Education Active Living Program) This program promotes health awareness to County Connection employees. It’s based on a credit system that challenges participants to reach the optimal number of credits to qualify for incentives. The program runs August 1 to July 31. The biggest yearly event is the Health Expo (and the most points awarded) that many of us experienced for the first time this year. Every year, this event sees growth with the participation. There have been lots of positive changes in the program recently. You should be aware that the goal points have increased. Along with this increase, came more chances to earn points. Not sure on what can give you points? Log on to the Health Activity Tracker (HAT) online to see what you can earn points for. You can also track your points here. It is your responsibility to track your own points. For log in information, see Sharon Porter or contact Sharon Jenkins (info below). The summers group fitness challenge is “Jump for Fun”. This challenge is designed to get you to MOVE by jumping rope. All you have to do is jump rope every day for the month. At the end of the month, you will be able to jump for 5 minutes! This is a team fitness challenge. Contact Sharon Jenkins at 925-941-4031 or sharon.jenkins@ for a registration packet. This event starts Monday, July 8. Get jumpin! If you aren’t signed up for this wonderful program, there are information packets available at the reception desk. This program is FREE to all employees.


HR Retirement and Life Changing Events Are you getting ready to retire or perhaps you have years to go but you want to know when you can retire? Have you had life changing even ts recently? CalPers OnLine is a wealth of information. It’s never too early to start planning your retirement. Visit to see when the next retirement planning workshop is. Also online is information for life changing events. Most of us think of marriage, divorce, birth or adoption as life changing events. But did you think about what a death of a family member could mean to your life events? I sure didn’t think about that until I read further. Perhaps you had them as your beneficiary if something were to happen to you. That’s something that should be updated. Do your homework now, so you know what to do when some thing in your life changes! Be sure that all your information on file in HR is up to date and accurate. Did you move? Have you changed the address? Did you get married or divorced that could impact your beneficiaries? Change your phon e number? These are all things that should be reviewed annually just to be sure its correct.



Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Company Picnic Saturday, September 28, 2013 ALL DAY FUN! LUNCH BUFFET 2-5 There is a lot to know about this event! Sign-up sheet is at the reception desk. Money is due by September 1 and CASH ONLY will be accepted. All-you-can-eat buffet menu: Fried chicken, hot dogs, mac and cheese, green beans, watermelon slices, ice cream, coke products. Season Pass Holders – Those who have season passes for 2013 can purchase meal only tickets for $10 each up to 4 people. Additional season pass holders can purchase meal only tickets for $20. Each employee can have a group of 4 (including themself) for $20/person. If your group is larger than 4, each additional person is $40/person. These tickets can be upgraded at the park for Season Passes. Season Passes will be valid for the remaining of 2013 season and ALL of 2014! Upgraded ticket price has not yet been determined. With the exception of meal only tickets, each ticket will include the all-you-can-eat buffet, park admission, shows and one parking pass. If using more than one vehicle, parking can be paid at the parking lot entrance for $20 or $25 for preferred parking.


Whether you are a die hard A’s fan or a fan across the bay with the Giant’s, fun is had by all at the Oakland A’s games. Come join us for the division rivals that Oakland beat out on the last game of the season last year to win Division Champions. Game against the Texas Rangers is August 3 in the Plaza Reserved section (above center field). Tickets are $7 cash only by July 5. Tamba Bay Rays will try their luck against the A’s on August 31 in the Plaza Reserved section. Tickets are $8 cash only by August 2. Enjoy fireworks after the game!


ON SALE NOW!!! Discount Tickets to Amusement Parks! Great America

*tickets available here - $34 *meal vouchers - $10 (face value) **online tickets - $35 **online tickets July special - $25/each when 2 or more are purchased. use before July 31.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom *tickets available here - $35 **online tickets - $35 **online meal vouchers - prices vary


*tickets available here - $21 *parking vouchers here - $10 (save 20%) *Tickets available here are cash only. **Tickets available online with credit card. There is a processing fee per order and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom adds a city fee per ticket purchased.

To purchase tickets online, contact Valerie x2042 or Malissa x2058 for links, user names, and passwords. To purchase tickets here, contact Malissa x2058. 15




Phantom Flyer June 2013