Employee Awards 2019

Each year, RTD honors its employees through an annual Employee Awards Celebration. These employees are proud to serve the Denver metro region by working for RTD and the agency recognizes them for their efforts.

Here are the categories and what they mean.

Accident Free Operators – 16+ Years (Boulder Division)

  • Donald E Van Heemst, Jr. – 20 years
  • Stephen Schumann – 19 years
  • Rick Nicholson – 17 years
  • Clifford Alps – 16 years

Accident Free Operators – 16+ Years (East Metro Division)

  • Daniel Leonard Boyer – 20 years
  • David Geringer – 18 years
  • Hosie Mitchell Jr. – 18 years
  • Nadir Boumghar – 18 years
  • Debra Jean Nixon – 18 years
  • Mebrahtu Tsegaye – 18 years
  • Marco Castro – 18 years
  • Nuru M Ali – 17 years
  • Kevin Lee Milligan – 17 years
  • Robert Williams – 17 years
  • Damian Valladares – 17 years
  • Thomas Rogers – 16 years
  • Zelealem Gebremariam-Baffa – 16 years

Accident Free Operators – 16+ Years (Platte Division)

  • Jaime Contreras – 20 years
  • Lila Riggins – 20 years
  • Luis Escobedo – 18 years
  • Ricardo Dion Lobato – 18 years
  • Dave Koon – 17 years
  • Gaylon Johnson – 16 years

Accident Free Operators – 16+ Years – Light Rail Division

  • Robert Dennis – 20 years
  • Chris Baker – 16 years

Operator of the Year
This award went to Charles Rosa for potentially saving a man’s life. Charles had the awareness to stop his bus one day when he observed a man standing near the edge of a bridge. The distressed man told Charles he was struggling financially and having family and legal issues. Charles talked to the gentleman and encouraged him to reconsider taking the worst option. After several intense minutes, Charles successfully talked the man down and was able to call 911. He stayed and talked with the man until help arrived. 

Outstanding Achievement Awards
The Outstanding Achievement awards are awarded to an individual or team who has made an exceptional contribution in one or more of the following categories: Developed an idea for RTD that resulted in an improved internal workflow process; Provided outstanding RTD customer service to internal/external clients; Identified a cost saving idea that was implemented at RTD. Individuals won in this category for working to get the G Line opened; creating better employee resources; managing an internal audit; and taking on additional responsibilities of the manager when the position became vacant. In addition, the utility team leads won for their work on utilities around RTD properties; the technical training team for managing D-TECH, a diesel technology training program which RTD runs with Front Range Community College; and the overhead catenary replacement team who replace the wires that run the train quicker than expected.

2019 Spirit of RTD
The Spirit of RTD awards are bestowed upon individuals or teams who have made significant contributions to the community. Jennifer Ross-Amato won the award this year for single-handedly drafting a procedure for the RTD legal team to meet a Colorado ethics rule whereby licensed attorneys have a professional responsibility to provide legal services for those unable to pay. Most people know this as 'Pro Bono' work. Jenifer wrote a procedure for the department to help RTD’s legal staff meet this requirement, located places where they could volunteer that would provide malpractice coverage and created ways to encourage staff to do this without costing RTD time or money. Jenifer is truly 'walking the walk' by setting an example in this regard.

Safety Champion Award
This award goes to the individual who works hard to ensure RTD is safe. It went to Jon Paul Mitchell because of his work in developing a first responder bus familiarization manual. 

Keep the Wheels Turning Award
These recipients contribute to RTD’s success and perform at an extremely high caliber every day. Some individuals who won include one of RTD’s bus operators won the award for his pursuit of excellence and his efforts to encourage and educate his fellow operators and riders; a maintenance supervisor who stepped up to fill several vacant roles in his area; and one of RTD’s lawyers who provided legal and technical expertise on an RTD project. Teams were rewarded for their work in improving employee communications and training all RTD employees in compliance. 

2019 General Managers Award
These awardees included the project manager of the Lyft-Uber-Transit apps collaborations; the project manager for RTD’s low-income based fare program called LiVE; an employee who is highly vested in RTD’s successful operations; an employee’s quick thinking and attention to detail in a power outage; an human resources recruiter who hired most of the employees for the N Line; and an employee whose hard work, research skills had outside entities calling to praise her.