TARTA Hosts a Graduation Ceremony for 22 New Drivers

By Angie Hayes
The Truth Reporter

On May 25, Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority hosted a graduation ceremony to support and recognize those who completed the operations and safety training process. TARTA continues to grow and expand the services for the community, so new operators are needed and appreciated by TARTA.

“This is a good day for TARTA. To acknowledge and celebrate our training,” said Steve Wise, Safety, Security and Training manager.

“I’m thrilled to be here, to welcome everyone for this graduation ceremony. Our largest class! How we meet the needs of our community, above all else we needed a larger work force. Excited to have this new class. The drivers are so important; and you have an amazing opportunity to impact those who need TARTA. You are needed, valued and welcomed to TEAM TARTA,” said Laura Koprowski, CEO.

The introduction to the graduation ceremony provided details that the operators have to offer the community and acknowledged the process and successful completion of all the training and educational requirements. Many details were provided and recognition of the successful completion of the training process by the graduates.

“I think in a very real way, the graduates today: operators working for TARTA, are providing service…a quality service. It’s public service. There is something special about people who work in fields, helping others. You are helping, serving the community! In our community, public transportation is so important. What you are doing, what you will be doing, benefits the community, benefits the economy. So, on behalf of the city of Toledo, congratulations and thank you for what you do and what you have done,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

“I just want to say to our new operators, welcome! I want to thank you as well as commend you for being the largest class of operators that here at TARTA have employed. Your commitment of eight weeks of extensive driving and safety training, believe me, has not gone unnoticed. Just think, you’re part of a family that will assist our efforts to expand our service area to all of Lucas County and provide a valuable service of destination and locations. You have become our family and has brought light, life, love and even luxury. With your commitment, you enable everyone in our community to have access to transportation,” said Reverend Willie Perryman, TARTA board member and president of the Toledo Branch NAACP.

“The vision to remove or reduce risks, we have some values,” added Wise. “Our values pertain to safety! Let’s talk a bit about the mission: do it right the first time, every time! To this, I would say bring your ‘A game’  every time’. Bring your ‘A game’ every day! We have to be alert as operators; we have to be on our toes. We are responsible for keeping ourselves, our passengers, and the public safe. That’s our responsibility! The vision is to remove or reduce risks.”

“Charles talked a lot of what you get out of your job,” said Carly Allen, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 697. “This is not an easy job, but it is for a person with a servant’s heart. So, you make your day. And you make your passenger’s day. So that’s the biggest thing I want you to remember. I am thankful that TARTA incorporates me in this graduation. We don’t always see eye to eye in how to get places, but 99 percent of the time we want to get to the same place. So that’s kind of our relationship here, we have a good relationship I think. I am proud of you guys.”

“Graduates, immediately quite frankly we put you to work. So, we definitely got to know you and definitely got to appreciate what you did. And your skills, practice and policies, practice and knowledge of TARTA,” said Jim Fight, director Human Resources.

Details provided from the CEO, to acknowledge and support the new team: “On behalf of everyone at TARTA, I want to say how thrilled we are to welcome these 21 new operators,” said Koprowski. “These graduates have made it through a rigorous training and safety curriculum and are more ready to help TARTA fulfill its mission of empowering people to make connections. To our new operators: You are needed and valued. One team, one TARTA”

The following individuals are the class graduates:

Kendra Anderson                                Anthony Ballard                     Bobbi Corleone

Jampson Derus                                    Adam Dosch                           Gary Edwards Jr.

Helen Fitzgerald                                 Brittani Hamilton                    Aimee Jackson

Davida James                                      Floyd Mack                             Dionsha McCall

Lakisha Merriweather                         Shirreatha Porter                     Tracey Powell

Dominick Smith                                  Brandon Turner                       Jamee Wells

Raaheem Wilkerson                            Deborah Willis                        Janissa Willis


TARTA currently covers more than 300 square miles in the atmosphere. This graduate class is the largest class that has ever graduated from TARTA. After receiving recognition and graduation certificate, TARTA provided a reception for all the graduates! All staff clearly expressed and displayed their excitement and appreciation for the new operators, to support and meet the needs of the community.