Every month, operators from King County Metro’s seven transit bases select their fellow drivers who make positive contributions to Metro and recognize them as Operators of the Month. The operators selected demonstrate safe driving skills; show courteous and helpful attitudes toward customers; and pay conscientious attention to job requirements such as attendance, appearance and discipline.
We want to introduce you to our recent Operators of the Month. Please join us in congratulating them. Additionally, the Operators of the Month later come together to vote on who among them will be Metro’s Operator of the Year!
(Information and photos provided by the operators)
Atlantic Base | September 2020: Bridgett Lee
A friend who knew that she enjoyed driving large vehicles suggested to Bridgett that bus driving might be a good fit, so she applied at Metro. Bridgett was hired as a part-time operator in 2008 and went full-time in 2010. During her career, Bridgett has earned a 10-year Safe Driver Award, and several commendations.
Bridgett is the parent of one daughter and two sons, and she stays busy. She enjoys dancing, traveling, reading, doing volunteer work with children and the elderly, and collecting donated items for those in need.
Bridgett’s advice to other operators: “Be a blessing to others and you will be blessed in return.”
Atlantic Base | October 2020: Kelaly Abraha
Kelaly so appreciated the service Metro provided to both himself and the public, he decided to apply. He began as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time 11 months later. Kelaly has earned a three-year Safe Driver Award and four commendations.
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Kelaly earned a degree in Communications and a teaching certificate from the Adwa Teachers Institute. A devoted family man, Kelaly and his wife have three children. In his spare time, he enjoys sports and watching movies.
Kelaly’s advice to other operators: “Love what you are doing and always have empathy toward the people you contact.”
Bellevue Base | September 2020: Beverly Bonnell
Beverly has been a part-time operator with Metro since 1982, earning a 36-year Safe Driver Award, and eight commendations. Beverly’s transit career started while she was a student at Amherst, where she was a driver for the college transit system. Mother of an adult daughter, Beverly spends her free time horseback riding, camping, playing the flute in a community band, and as a dog agility trainer.
This is the third time—and third transit base—where Beverly has been recognized by her fellow drivers as Operator of the Month.
Beverly’s advice for other operators: “Be patient and kind. You will be a happier driver.”
Bellevue Base | October 2020: Selected operator declined the recognition
Central Base | September 2020: Gary Pieterman
Gary, who began as a part-time operator in 2015 and went full-time in July 2017, has earned a four-year Safe Driver Award and four commendations. He is known for his upbeat attitude, showing care for other operators and all his passengers, and striving to combine his concern for safety with a desire to provide consistent service.
A native of Puyallup, Gary worked as a care provider, owned his owned business, and was involved in a variety of retail management positions before joining Metro because he knew bus driving would be enjoyable.
Gary’s advice for other operators: “Share a smile, be upbeat, and leave any challenges at the end of each trip.”
Central Base | October 2020: Abdi Salad
Abdi, who began with Metro in 2016 as a part-time operator and went full-time in 2017, has earned a three-year Safe Driver Award and received four commendations.
Married with 4 children and 2 grandchildren, Abdi enjoys volunteering, community service, outdoor activities, traveling, and reading.
Abdi’s advice for other operators: “Follow a strict time schedule, watch your following distance, and be mindful of your blind spots. Remember, life is good.”
East Base | September 2020: Sung Yi
East Base | October 2020: Peter Sang
Peter, who was hired as a part-time operator in 1999 and went full-time in 2001, has earned an 18-year Safe Driver Award and 13 commendations.
Born in Shanghai, China, Peter came to the United States when he was 21 years old. He worked for a tour bus company for a few years in San Francisco and became a transit operator because he loves driving and is, “interested in exploring new cultures and I enjoy working with people.”
Peter is married and has one daughter, a recent graduate from the University of Chicago with an MBA degree. Peter’s hobbies are radio-controlled helicopters and model trains.
Peter’s advice for other operators: “Follow the company rules.”
North Base | September 2020: Armand “Larry” Morales
Armand, who goes by Larry, joined Metro as a part-time operator in June 1994 after a friend who knew that Larry enjoyed driving recommended applying. Larry has earned a 22-year Safe Driver Award, and 13 commendations.
A native New Yorker, Larry came to Seattle to attend high school and joined the Navy after attending college. Larry and his wife have one daughter and he enjoys watching his daughter sing and perform. He also likes camping, visiting our National Parks, and all things cars: he’s a an A.S.E. certified counterman and an automotive enthusiast.
Larry’s advice for other operators: “Relax about the small stuff you can’t control. Value your stopping distance. Remember, we get paid to sit in traffic! Enjoy all the beautiful views this city has to offer, sunrise, sunsets, mountains and lakes.”
North Base | October 2020: Arwin Apolonio
Arwin was hired as a part-time operator in 2007, becoming a full-time operator a year later. Along with a 13-year Safe Driver Award, Arwin was previously recognized by his peers as an Operator of the Month at Atlantic Base.
Born in the Philippines and a graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School, Arwin is passionate about driving and public relations. Arwin and his wife have one daughter. He loves spending time with his family, traveling, fishing, and dining out.
Arwin’s advice for other operators: “Be safe and do the best you can.”
Ryerson Base | September 2020: Thomas Johnson
Thomas originally started as a part-time operator before going full-time a year later. He he has received two commendations and earned a three-year Safe Driver Award.
Born in Yakima, Thomas served in the US Army and is a veteran of the Iraq war. A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, Thomas has worked in the hospitality industry and enjoys cooking and mixology. He is married to his wonderful wife.
Thomas’ advice for other operators: “Let’s all work together.”
Ryerson Base | October 2020: Joel Wood
Joel became a Metro operator after an uncle raved about the job and told him to give it a try. Joel started as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time a year later. He has a three-year Safe Driver Award and has received six commendations in the last year.
Raised in West Seattle, Joel’s favorite personal accomplishment is a cycling trip that started in Seattle and ended in Florida with his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife of 22 years. Joel’s hobbies include anything on two wheels, music, photography, and the great outdoors.
Joel’s advice for other operators: “Kindness has been the key to all of my good days.”
South Base | September 2020: Prenoyal “Pre” Davis
At a music rehearsal, Prenoyal, who goes by Pre, saw another musician in a brown and yellow Metro uniform. He asked her about the job and decided to apply.
Pre came to Metro as a part-time operator in 1990 and went full-time in 1996. He has earned an 18-year Safe Driver Award and two commendations. Metro is a part of Pre’s family; his wife has been a Metro driver for 28 years.
A Seattle native, Pre is passionate about learning, having attended North Seattle College, Washington State University, The National Broadcasting School, and the Bishop A.L. Hardy Academy of Theology. In his spare time, Pre enjoys theology, cooking, and playing the keyboard.
Pre’s advice for other operators: “Read “The Book” for yourself and make a goal to have a paper-free workday. Don’t take it personally.”
South Base | October 2020: Selected operator selected declined the recognition.