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The Intern Experience at CATA

Monday, January 18, 2021

Categories: Blog, Employees

While meeting the mobility needs of our community is a main focus at CATA, we also aim to provide meaningful work experience to emerging young professionals. The CATA Marketing Department currently employs two interns who are gaining valuable work experience right here in our office, or remotely for the time being. 

Kate Vernier’s ExperienceKate Vernier

My name is Kate Vernier, and I’m a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Advertising Management. I’ve been an intern within CATA’s Marketing Department for almost one year. Throughout this internship, I’ve learned so many skills and gained professional experience that will benefit me in my future career. 

Both interns work on various projects and tasks, ranging from social media to working hands-on with community members. My favorite project so far has been helping to promote CATA’s Grab & Go Express. This free service allowed riders to travel through Downtown Lansing and Old Town, with stops within walking distance of over 50 businesses. Through this project, I was able to speak with many local business owners, witnessing firsthand how passionate they are about their work and the community. Experiences like this have helped build transferable skills that I’ll use in my future career. 

I’m also very active within MSU’s Fraternity and Sorority Community. I’ve been a member of Kappa Delta Sorority for almost four years, and have served on MSU’s Panhellenic Executive Board as Vice President of Community Relations and as Panhellenic President. 

Delaney PickettDelaney Pickett’s Experience

I am Delaney Pickett, a sophomore at Northern Michigan University studying Graphic Design. I have been interning at CATA for a few months now and have learned so much already. This internship has given me a chance to experience the marketing side of graphic design and work with some very talented people in this field.

One of my first projects was to create designs for information screens inside some of the CATA bus shelters. I also started designing graphics for CATA’s Instagram account. Social media was something I had never worked on before, but involved skills I was eager to develop. These assignments showed me how to analyze and project a company’s voice. Being a designer means being a communicator, and interning at CATA has strengthened my skills in both roles.

When I am not working on a project for CATA, I like to take advantage of the breathtaking views Marquette has to offer. Hiking and running on the trails of Northern Michigan often inspires my personal artwork.

Working at an Internship during COVID-19

As a safety precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic, CATA has Kate, Delaney and many administrative employees working remotely. But the value of their internships hasn’t been lost at all for Kate and Delaney. They meet frequently with members of the Marketing Department and have been given all the resources needed to continue to be successful in their positions.

Whether it comes to senior-level executives or young, ambitious interns, CATA strives to foster a collaborative and engaging workplace for all.

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Collaboration Meets Innovation to Create a New CATA Bus Stop

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

Collaboration and innovative ideas are part of what makes our team so special – especially when they’re least expected. 

Nick Zickefoose, a customer experience representative at CATA, saw a need in the community and set out to fulfill it. 

Using Teamwork and Customer Feedback to Turn an Idea into Reality

A CATA rider contacted Nick suggesting a new bus stop on Route 9 in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy. “He told me about how a lot of elderly and disabled customers use that particular pharmacy, but they had to walk from the current Route 9 stops to get there – which isn’t always easy for someone depending on their situation,” Nick said. Before a new stop was in place, the walk to Atlas Meds Pharmacy was several blocks. 

“The addition of this stop made sense from a number of angles,” said Kai Christiansen, the CATA Service Planning and Scheduling Manager. 

Kai received an email from Nick with the new bus stop suggestion. “I didn’t want to just let [the] request go unheard as it sounded like it had the potential to help a lot of people,” Nick said. “I remembered being told early in my time at CATA about Kai Christiansen over in planning and he’s incredibly good with these sorts of things.”

CATA Customer Experience Representative Nick Zickefoose

 

Kai was pleasantly surprised when Nick reached out to him and immediately got to work. “The quality of the information which Nick provided to me made my work easy,” Kai said. He noted it was "clear and actionable, making this process very straightforward.”

How a New Bus Stop is Created

The creation of a new CATA bus stop involves communication with stakeholders and configuration to meet customer, property owner and municipal needs. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is also important. 

Once the stop has been designed, the building can begin. A contractor is methodically chosen, geolocation is added and a stop number is assigned.

The process to create a new bus stop involves CATA’s planning, facilities and procurement departments. It wouldn’t be possible without a strong and passionate team.

“It is always rewarding to be able to help facilitate the needs of our customers and create transportation solutions that make sense,” Kai said. 

The new stop on Route 9 is now up and running on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy.

CATA bus stop #6081 in front of Atlas Meds Pharmacy

CATA’s priority continues to be meeting the mobility needs of our region. This priority is made possible in part through our dynamic, collaborative workforce. 

To learn more about Nick Zickefoose and the collaborative efforts of his department, click here.

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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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