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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons
Mark A. Ball

December 7, 2009

Employees credited with help on Easter Seals program

DART training supervisors get the spotlight

Doug Stephens and Rick Garcia
Doug Stephens and Rick Garcia
High resolution JPG
On most days, Rick Garcia and Doug Stephens, both Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) training supervisors, focus their skills on DART. Now their talents are getting national attention because of their contributions to an Easter Seals video that educates bus operators on how to better serve America's 54 million people with disabilities.

"I'm very honored and proud to be part of this national training effort," Garcia says. "It also means a lot to us that DART, with all the transit agencies in the nation, had two trainers selected to participate."

Garcia is a 28-year employee at DART. He said his wide range of job experiences helped prepare him for the Easter Seals project.

"I started as a bus operator in 1981 and worked my way up through dispatch and the field, so I know exactly what these operators have to go through," said Garcia, who currently develops and implements instruction and classroom training initiatives for all personnel involved in DART bus operations.

Jerry Reynolds, assistant vice president, DART Transit Operations, and Garcia and Stephens' boss, is understandably proud of his employees and DART's involvement. "Easter Seals selected only 11 representatives from transit agencies across the nation to serve on the Design Board for this initiative and they called on DART because of our strong reputation."

Stephens feels that his experience in both the private and public sector came in handy on the video project. He worked at several private bus companies for seven years before moving to DART 21 years ago. Now a bus-training supervisor, Stephens helps establish criteria for and monitors training needs of hundreds of DART bus operators.

"It's an amazing feeling," he added, "knowing that this project will educate people all over the United States and make operators more sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities. I definitely think the program we developed is timely and can be very effective if used by new and senior operators at transit agencies across the country."

The training course for bus operators was comprised of operators, trainers and people with disabilities throughout the United States. They also advised on learning objectives and effective ways to deliver the training, and reviewed the materials developed.

In addition to a video called A.C.C.E.S.S. Matters: Accessibility, Communication, Cooperation, Excellence, Sensitivity and Service, the Easter Seals program (www.projectaction.easterseals.com) includes trainer materials, a participant worksheet, an operator's pocket guide and frequently asked questions.

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