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Leading with Love

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

CATA Customer Experience Manager.

That may be Margaret Stephen’s job title, but others call her the heart of the customer experience department.

“Her understanding, her love … she goes beyond what a supervisor is supposed to even care about,” said Schuyler Brown, a member of the customer experience team. “In any situation where we need her, she’s right there. She’s got our backs.”

Margaret describes herself as one of those people who really loves her job. That love shines through to her team, other CATA employees and the public as she works hard to keep the CATA Transportation Center running smoothly.

Customer Experience Manager Margaret Stephens stands in front of the CATA Transportation Center

“I couldn’t have asked for a better boss for my first job out of college,” said Nick Zickefoose, another customer service representative. “Margaret is so attentive. She’s on the ball. She’s so friendly. She knows everything that we need to know about customer service, and she’s so enthusiastic about it.”

But according to Zickefoose, his boss doesn't just focus on doing her job well. She also empowers others to improve.

"She works so hard to make sure that everyone in our department is happy, healthy, doing our best, and also improving,” Zickefoose said. “She has a very vested interest in making sure that as individuals and as professionals, we’re becoming better people. And I appreciate it beyond anything else.”

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A family brought closer through Tae Kwon Do

Monday, September 14, 2020

Categories: Blog, Employees

Dan pictured with his wife and two daughters

Dan pictured with his wife and two daughtersA family that does Tae Kwon Do together stays together. That’s how the saying goes, right?

For CATA IT Director Dan Goodemoot, this has been exactly right. When his two daughters were young, he and his wife began looking for an activity they could all do together.

With his daughters in dance at the time, Goodemoot knew he would need to find an activity that appealed to the grace and strength found in dance, but with the comradery and family atmosphere that he was seeking. This is when he and his family discovered Tae Kwon Do.  “We found this small group that was training a few miles away from us and went, it was a small class at the time [...] so our whole family joined!” Goodemoot said.

Little did they know at the time of the their first class, this would be a sport they would enjoy and excel at for years to come. Goodemoot and his wife have recently been awarded their third-degree black belts, with his daughters following their parent's lead closely, both obtaining second degree black belts. In his advanced training, Goodemoot has studied the history of Tae Kwon Do, spent countless hours learning forms and even learning to break through both pine and concrete boards! Photo of Dan breaking concrete blocks

“Concrete is usually saved for just before black belt, we have someone break one, as you get further on in training, you break more and more. My last testing, I had 10 lined up and I broke 9 of them,” Goodemoot said.

Since the onset of COVID-19, many gyms have had to close their doors. The Goodemoot’s Tae Kwan Do gym made the innovative decision to take things outside, utilizing a small lawn next to their building to allow athletes to practice.

“We worked out outside and made sure we socially distanced away from each other, it was nice that we could still work together as families because we had been in contact with each other already” Goodemoot explained.

The Goodemoot family has come a long way since day one of class, and they have no plans on ending their training any time soon. Goodemoot currently instructs younger classes teaching basic forms and self-defense skills while also continuing his work toward a third-degree black belt. 

“I have been responsible for a lot of the final stage training for the colored belts — non-black belt students — so watching them, and specifically my daughters go through and get their black belts, has been a very proud moment for me,” he concluded.

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The Nationwide #SoundTheHorn Campaign

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

Traffic lights and cars on Michigan Ave

On the road, horn honks are typically used to alert other drivers or pedestrians. Today, they will be used to say two words: thank you.

At 3 p.m., our operators will honk their horns twice in solidarity with transportation workers nationwide as part of the #SoundTheHorn campaign.

“We proudly sound our horn today in honor of transit workers the world over who are doing their part to contain this tragic pandemic,” said CATA CEO Bradley T. Funkhouser. CATA participated in the original campaign on April 16 and again on May 21.

Operators will sound the horn once to thank healthcare professionals, grocery store clerks, first responders, gas station employees, and other heroes who are performing critically essential work during COVID-19. They will sound the horn a second time to thank transportation workers nationwide for getting these essential workers where they need to go.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedication and commitment of our own essential workforce has been nothing short of heroic,” Funkhouser said. “Our call takers have fielded tens of thousands of calls. Our operators, mechanics, utilities and facilities personnel are working together to fulfill life-sustaining and medically necessary trips, as well as trips to get critical-infrastructure employees to work, often at great personal risk.”

Searching for your own ways to thank essential workers and spread positivity during COVID-19? Check out a few ideas here.

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