TriMet bus operator reaches new heights in excellence

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35-year employee achieves new milestone of Gold Master Operator

TriMet today honored long-time bus operator Willie Jack with the agency’s newly created Gold Master Operator status. The agency had to establish a new level of achievement because of Jack’s outstanding accomplishments through TriMet’s Master Operator Program.

Jack, who lives in Northeast Portland, has been with TriMet for 35 years. He recently received his 30th straight Superior Performance Award. To acknowledge this milestone, TriMet awarded Jack the new Gold Master Operator status on Tuesday, April 24.

The Master Operator Program recognizes bus and rail operators who achieve overall excellence in their duties as professional drivers. Operators earn Superior Performance Awards each time they complete 1,960 hours of work without any preventable accidents, warnings, reprimands or suspensions. They must have a stellar record of attendance and customer service.

“Willie Jack is a dedicated operator who takes pride in his job,” said Shelly Lomax, TriMet Executive Director of Operations. “He has a calm and cool demeanor, and he comes in every day focused on providing the best service he can to his riders and his fellow operators. He truly sets the gold standard at TriMet.”

During his 35 years at TriMet, Jack has driven numerous lines and most recently has been operating a Line 17 bus through SE and NW Portland.

“One of the most rewarding careers at TriMet is being a bus operator,” said Willie Jack. “You have the opportunity to work directly with the community, assist people with directions, help them navigate the transit system, and be a tour guide at times. There is never a dull moment as a bus driver, and I have enjoyed my 35 years of service.”

Jack also credits the support and excellent relationships of his fellow bus operators for helping him excel at TriMet.

Jack has lived in the Portland area for more than 40 years. He and his wife Marsha will celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary this coming May. He has three daughters and five grandchildren, who he says take up the majority of his free time. Jack also enjoys giving back to the community, volunteering with hunger programs, his church, the Boy Scouts and local Juneteenth celebrations.

Operators of the Year

Three TriMet operators received Operator of the Year awards on Tuesday, April 24.

  • Bus Operator of the Year: Jacklyn Oswald
    Jacklyn Oswald, of Northwest Portland, is a Master Operator and has 11 years of Safe Driver Awards. She’s been with TriMet since 1989 and prefers working evening shifts so she can spend days with her children.
  • MAX Operator of the Year: Andrew Hicks
    Andrew Hicks, of Northeast Portland, has been at TriMet since 2006, and operating MAX trains since 2008. He is a Senior Operator, has earned five Safe Driver Awards as well as six Superior Performance Awards.
  • Part-time Bus Operator of the Year: Hallie Fowlkes
    Hallie Fowlkes, of Portland, will celebrate her fifth year at TriMet this September. She drives buses on lines 8, 12, 44, 70, 85 and 94. Fowlkes has achieved three Safe Driver Awards and has three years of perfect attendance.

Operators qualify for the Operator of the Year awards based on outstanding driving records, customer service and attendance, with the winners selected by their peers.