Action Cam: Meet North America's Best Driver! - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Action Cam: Meet North America's Best Driver!

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Three Spokane Transit employees were recently honored for achievements in their individual areas of expertise in public transportation.

Karl Otterstrom, STA’s Director of Planning, was recently named Planner of the Year by the Inland Empire Section for the American Planning Association. Otterstrom previously worked in transit planning for the Federal Transit Administration and King County Metro.

Otterstrom has been instrumental in developing Connect Spokane, A Comprehensive Plan for Public Transportation, which sets forth a vision and policy framework to guide decisions made by STA’s Board of Directors, its staff and partnering agencies that will further STA’s mission for the next 20 years. Additionally, Otterstrom introduced STA’s long-range planning initiative, STA Moving Forward, which focuses on the development of a High Performance Transit Network that will meet the future public transportation needs of the Spokane region, which is expected to grow by 165,000 by 2040. Otterstrom has also been instrumental in securing numerous competitive federal grant awards for STA transportation projects during his five years at STA.

STA coach operator Gabe Fernos was named “the best driver in North America” by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) last week. Fernos beat 53 others from across the US and Canada at the 39th International. This is his first International Roadeo victory. Fernos, a 22-year veteran at STA, won both the local and Washington State Roadeos before going to the International Roadeo.

Paul Hoffman, STA Training Instructor, was named 2014 Training Professional of the Year by the National Training Institute in March. He was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the training initiatives at Spokane Transit Authority (STA) where he identifies training needs for each department and designs and develops curriculum that focuses on continued improvement and promotion of a culture of safety. Hoffman has overseen the new-employee training of 355 coach operators and 77 paratransit operators, as well as delivered annual refresher training for more than 300 operators. He serves as a third party tester for the state of Washington and conducts CDL testing. Hoffman has been invited to give presentations at events statewide.

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