ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority recently announced the top three employees of the year – a year in which they helped OCTA continue to thrive despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The 2021 Employees of the Year are selected from three main divisions, including coach operators, maintenance and administration. They are:
- Steve Swanson, a resident of Mission Viejo, OCTA’s Coach Operator of the Year
- Eduardo Ramos, a resident of Riverside, a Journeyman Mechanic, OCTA’s Maintenance Employee of the Year
- Bill Habibe, a resident of Costa Mesa, the Transit Technical Services Manager, OCTA’s Administrative Employee of the Year
“While OCTA is filled with hard-working, dedicated employees throughout the agency, these three employees stood out because of their outstanding work and commitment,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange. “We honor their dedication and service to the people of Orange County.”
Steve Swanson has worked as a coach operator and Behind-the-Wheel trainer for 20 years. Last October, he was driving an OC Bus southbound on Pacific Coast Highway when a vehicle traveling in front of him clipped a bicyclist and the cyclist was thrown directly into the path of the bus. Swanson slowed immediately and was able safely stop the bus just before reaching the fallen cyclist, who walked away with only minor injuries.
Swanson said he operates by a simple rule: “Slow down and treat everyone like they are a close family member.”
Eduardo Ramos joined OCTA in 1991 as a Journeyman Mechanic and has become a key member of the mechanics’ team, working on the contingency and active fleet at the Garden Grove Base.
He’s skillful at troubleshooting and diagnostics, keeping the contingency and active fleet available and ready to serve passengers. His dedication, initiative, and reliability make him a team player who takes great pride in his work.
Bill Habibe joined OCTA in 1990 and is recognized for his strong contributions and outstanding dedication to the agency. Among his various technical duties, Habibe is responsible for all bus procurements, which includes the implementation of the hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus and plug-in battery electric bus pilot programs. Always keeping in mind the importance of public safety and organizational efficiency, Habibe consistently works to achieve excellence for OCTA.
In addition to recently procuring the zero-emission buses, Habibe was instrumental in engineering modifications to OCTA buses for increased safety during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Those bus modifications included driver shields, face-mask dispensers, and hand-sanitizer dispensers – all modifications that were engineered and manufactured in-house, saving time and taxpayer money.
Habibe’s efforts enhanced safety for passengers and coach operators on the OC Bus system.
The three Employees of the Year were selected from among 36 employees who were chosen as employees of the month throughout 2021. They were honored by the OCTA Board of Directors at a meeting and during a virtual celebration with fellow employees.
For more information, visit: www.octa.net.
About OCTA: The Orange County Transportation Authority is the county transportation planning commission, responsible for funding and implementing transit and capital projects for a balanced and sustainable transportation system that reflects the diverse travel needs of the county’s 34 cities and 3.2 million residents. With the mission of keeping Orange County moving, this includes freeways and express lanes, bus and rail transit, rideshare, commuter rail and active transportation.