Vicki Leslie, a 35-year employee honored as Metro’s Operator of the Year.

By Rob Gannon, Metro Transit Interim General Manager

One of the best parts of my job is seeing and meeting Metro employees who go above and beyond to serve the people of King County.

Vicki Leslie is one of those people. With 35 years as a bus driver, Vicki was honored Thursday as Metro’s Operator of the Year.

Vicki has earned praised for how she connects with customers on her routes between Woodinville, Bothell and Kirkland – she knows the names of all her regular passengers, and always keeps her cool in stressful situations. Vicki also has made a big impression on her peers, which is why they chose her as this year’s recipient.

Vicki Leslie (L) is recognized by her supervisors at Metro’s Bellevue base.

I had the chance to express my gratitude during Thursday’s surprise ceremony at Metro’s Bellevue base. Joining us were Vicki’s family, friends, coworkers, and supervisors, as well as Senior Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett and Director of Transportation Harold Taniguchi.

Longtime Metro veterans and newer employees also were in attendance. Some, like Janice Berlin, a 36-year veteran and chief in our Transit Control Center, were just days away from retirement. And others, like Adbi Elmi, a Bellevue base chief who brought his wife and children to Thursday’s event, are just a few years into their Metro career.

Abdi Elmi, a Metro base chief in Bellevue, and his family. Pictured behind them is a circa-1980s era Metro bus on which many veteran operators began their career.

They all share a strong sense of commitment and dedication, which bonds us together. We are one community, 4,500 strong. We take pride in serving the riders who depend on our 2,700 operators every day to get to work or school safely
and efficiently. That’s why in this community, we hold high expectations for each other.

We also encourage and support each other. As Vicki’s nearly three decades of service demonstrate, Metro can offer a long and rewarding career. I invite anyone interested in a career as a Metro transit operator to learn more about becoming a part of our team.

In the meantime, thank you to Vicki and all of our Metro employees for their hard work and dedication. It means a lot to me and the people you serve.

Take care of each other, and be safe.0716OprtYrVickiLeslie071