As a general repair technician in the STA garages, Violet Rawls’ job is to help keep buses on the road and public transit running in the Spokane region.
Each day, she fixes wheel alignments, adjusts suspensions, checks drive heights and inspects vehicles for safety.
Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s doing something new—making sure protective barriers designed to keep customers and drivers safe remain working properly.
“Those doors are very effective and they were designed in our own body shop,” Rawls said.
The barriers are plexiglass shields that drivers can lock in one position as passengers board and pay their fares, then reposition to secure the front of the bus when on the move.
“Sometimes the latches wear from the bus braking and stopping,” she said. “If there’s wear-and-tear, I’ll replace the latches and make sure the door is secure so it closes properly and doesn’t come loose.”
Rawls has also had a front-row seat to the agency’s measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in her previous position as an STA Servicer Cleaner.
“When I was a service cleaner we changed the disinfecting procedures,” she said. “We started using different spray nozzles and different chemicals after the coronavirus started.”
Rawls has always wanted to be mechanic. She took auto shop classes in high school, then went to technical school. When she was hired as a service cleaner at STA, she was also studying and preparing for the third-class mechanic’s test.
But supervisors and other mechanics at STA took not of Rawls’ passion, and encouraged her to skip the third-class test and take the more advanced second-class test.
Rawls passed that advanced test, and was promoted.
“When I became a mechanic, it was epic,” she said with a grin. “It’s always been my dream. I really appreciate STA, and the guys here who pushed me to take those tests. They really want me to succeed. They’re all supportive and really driven to get everybody trained and moving.”
Rawls wants people to know what STA is doing to keep the community safe.
“People should know that STA is trying really hard to make sure that not only passengers are safe, but also employees, and that’s a good thing to have in a company,” she said. “They’re always coming up with new ways to stop the spread of COVID. We’re always doing new projects, and we’re really trying to keep everybody safe.