Getting the Job Done

Frank English leads disinfecting crews during coronavirus emergency

The first thing Frank English does when he starts his shift at STA is check the schedule to see what’s on his to-do list. As one of STA’s Facilities & Grounds 2nd Class Building Maintenance Specialists, he never knows for sure what tasks will await him. He might be putting up shelves in an office, installing a bus shelter or setting up displays for an open house. 

But with coronavirus emergency measures in place at STA, there’s a high likelihood he’ll be helping to oversee the daily disinfection protocol required to keep STA properties safe and clean.

Whatever the job, English is happy to help wherever he’s needed. After all, it’s the diversity of the work that he likes best about his job.

“I’m a jack of all trades, and a master of none,” English laughed. “I’m never bored, that’s for sure.”

In truth, he is a master of many trades, including commercial painting. Lately, English has been out at STA’s driver training course, painting bright yellow road lines that new coach operators will use as guides as they practice navigating buses and honing their driving skills.

For English, the ability to drive a variety of commercial rigs is a skill he mastered years ago. An STA Maintenance Specialist is required to have a commercial driver’s license and be able to safely operate just about any kind of vehicle. At a transit agency like STA, that’s a long list.

“We drive tow trucks, plow trucks, forklifts, tractors – you name it,” English said. “It’s all about taking your time and putting safety first.”

Safety is an important aspect of English’s job and he takes it seriously. In fact, he recently received STA’s safety award for 25-years of accident-free driving.

“That was a big honor for me,” English said. “Safety is the number one priority at STA, no matter who you are or what job you do.”

That’s been vividly clear since the coronavirus outbreak. STA’s Facilities and Grounds crews are at the forefront of the safety efforts implemented by the agency to help protect employees and the public. Before COVID-19 nearly every maintenance task was a two-person job, but most are now handled alone or with prudent social distancing. When two people are required on a job, both wear masks and gloves and will usually take separate vehicles to the job site.

“You don’t see people having conversations or shaking hands anymore,” English said. “You might see the occasional bumping of elbows, but that’s about it.”

The days now begin with a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher is sent home for 72 hours before being reassessed to come back to work. The crew then receives their work assignments which, for many, includes performing disinfection of both interior and exterior STA properties.

It’s a big job and, fortunately, temporary workers are helping staff keep up by regularly disinfecting surfaces in STA’s administrative buildings. Gloved, masked, and armed with bottles of pink-labeled disinfectant, they move through each building, spraying every door handle, faucet, and other shared surface along their route. Bottles of disinfectant are stocked in offices so staff can sanitize phones, keyboards, desks and the occasional mini fridge as well.

Paratransit van operators have also been called in to assist with STA’s massive disinfection efforts. They are stationed at the Valley Transit Center, STA Plaza, SCC Transit Center and the 5-Mile Park & Ride where they board arriving buses and disinfect their interiors mid-route.

Two additional van operators joined forces with the F&G crew to help enforce the enhanced sanitation requirements at STA’s 142 shelters and 13 Park & Ride lots. Multiple times each day, these essential workers drive trucks loaded with disinfectant to each site to treat restrooms, benches and other touch points with the virus-killing spray.

English is thankful for the extra support. He’s also thankful that he is healthy and able to come to work each day.

“To be honest, it’s an honor and a privilege,” English said. “I feel special to be able to help during this pandemic.”

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