Full Story @ http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2010/12/28/news/nh3459616.txt
When Laketran implemented its financial recovery plan in 2009, the organization knew it had to cut spending where possible. Now, busing services are being restored and the agency is steadily gaining financial footing. While Laketran officials say the entire organization has been instrumental in the ongoing recovery, Laketran General Manager Raymond Jurkowski said the efforts of Maintenance Supervisor Keith Bare have played a large part in keeping the transit authority afloat.
Bare might not be the most visible part of the Laketran team, but Jurkowski said he’s definitely an all-star. “If you’re starting a pickup game out on the sandlot, Keith is one of those guys you always want on your team,” Jurkowski said.
Though he describes himself as “just someone who does his job,” Bare does acknowledge that he’s made a positive impact on the organization, both financially and environmentally.
“We work on recycling here a lot,” Bare said. “One thing we’ve done is use the oil from our buses to fuel the heating in our shop.”
Additionally, Bare has helped Laketran by running timers on the lights at its headquarters. But Jurkowski said the 18-year employee’s reach goes far beyond a few resourceful decisions.
“Keith controls about $2 million of our entire budget,” Jurkowski said. “That’s about 20 percent of our entire budget. So it’s a position with a lot of responsibility.”
With that responsibility, Bare has made it his goal to cut costs for the organization, while making sure customer needs are meant.
“Not to overstate the obvious, but our main goal here is putting safe buses on the road,” Bare said. “The next part of the job is to competitively shop on fuel and parts.”
Jurkowski said it’s impossible to put an exact dollar figure on how much money Bare has saved for Laketran. Instead, he said, Bare’s impact is most noticeable when the board examines the year-end figures against the budget Bare was allotted. “He’s so involved here it’s not worth trying to keep track of how much Keith saves us on a daily basis,” Jurkowski said. “Instead of looking at it as a day or week, his work shows up at the end of the year. He’s always under budget.”
Currently, Bare is working on saving money by finding ways to sell Laketran’s scrap oil and metal. “Keith’s a very innovative and creative guy,” Jurkowski said. “He’s always trying to find ways to save money.”
At work, Bare oversees maintenance of Laketran’s vehicles and facilities, including 13 employees and a fleet of 120 vehicles. He also works on purchasing parts and negotiating contracts with the companies that clean and maintain the organization’s facilities. “He’s always working to make sure he makes the best decisions for us,” Jurkowski said. “It’s part of a culture here that he has helped establish.”
Bare’s talents even extend beyond the workplace. Jurkowski is quick to compliment Bare on his turkey-frying abilities, which he showcases each year at Laketran’s annual turkey dinner.
“He’s not only a great professional here, but he also introduced me to deep-fried turkey,” he said.