NFTA Transporter

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sock & Glove Drive Rocks

NFTA Exec. Dir Kim Minkel and Officer Dave Zarbo (center)
with representatives from Matt Urban, the Buffalo Zoo,
and Leadership Buffalo
On January 31, the NFTA's Executive Director Kim Minkel announced that it would be hosting a Sock & Glove Drive to benefit the Matt Urban Hope Center and individuals enduring homelessness.

In addition to placing donation bins at all business locations authority-wide, the NFTA worked with some amazing corporate partners which included the following:  The Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo Medical Campus, Leadership Buffalo, Ingram Micro, United Uniforms, Philip D Smith & Associates and the TAPD Teamsters..  

NFTA Transit Officer E. Justinger getting some help
from Dallas, the Seal, at the Buffalo Zoo
NFTA Transit Police Officer Dave Zarbo, who helped manage the drive said: "It was so amazing to see everything that was collected.  Everyday there are people living on the streets in need of new socks and warm gloves.  Most of us never have to worry about something that seems so simple, but people who are homeless do not have this luxury.  I couldn't be more grateful to each and every person who donated to this great cause, and I know that this collection is going to help a lot of people in need." 

The drive concluded on February 14, Valentine's Day - which is recognized as Socks for the Homeless Day in New York State.  The initial goal was to collect approximately 2,000 items to which was well exceeded with an estimated 6,000 pieces. 

Thank you to everyone who supported this great cause -we look forward to doing it again next year! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Career Fair at Fort Drum

On behalf of the NFTA, John Dembik, Superintendent of Bus Maintenance, attended  the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program Career Fair on February 1 at the Mountain Warfare Simulation Complex in Fort Drum.  There were approximately 80 vendors which included a vast array of employers, vocational trade schools and colleges.   

In attendance was a variety of military personnel seeking employment or career direction, and many stopped by the NFTA table to ask about job opportunities and public transportation in general.  Some inquired about apprenticeships and internships that may be in  place also.
While there, John conducted a facebook live video which included information about NFTA Metro job opportunities and company benefits.  In addition, many event placement counselors and transition readiness liaisons stopped by the table and asked about recruitment packages and videos. It was a great networking event as well as another opportunity to spread the word about the jobs the NFTA has to offer. 

The event proved to be a great success and follow-up will be conducted by representatives from the NFTA within the next few weeks.

NFTA Headquarters Opens New Mailroom

Patrick and Louis - Central Services
The NFTA has opened a brand new mailroom on the first floor at its downtown headquarters at 181 Ellicott Street.  The street level location will allow for easier accessibility for delivery agents as well as by all employees compared to that of the former location on the sixth floor.  The new contemporary mail center includes a compact centralized sorting system and new postage equipment that will help increase the speed in weighing and sorting mail and packages. 

Central Services employees, Patrick Reulbach and Louis Manolis, are looking forward to working within the center's efficient design that will help provide a more professional and enhanced quality of service.  And, who can resist the smiling faces you will see at the new delivery window.  The mailroom will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Welcome Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald has officially joined the NFTA's HSEQ division as an Environmental Engineer.  Brian’s role will focus around environmental compliance for all NFTA locations as well as related special projects.

Prior to coming to the NFTA, he worked as Project Manager for Environmental Resources Management in Rochester for seven years. Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree at Canisius College with a major in Environmental Science, and a minor in Political Science.

During his free time, he enjoys numerous outdoor sports.  He likes taking long treks on his bike, hiking through the Adirondacks, and skiing at Bristol Mountain Resort.  Brian is also looking forward to participating in the Buffalo Air Climb as part of the NFTA corporate team.  The event is hosted by the American Lung Association and includes a 35 flight (800 step) stairwell climb at the Seneca Tower building in downtown Buffalo on March 10.

If you haven't already, please give Brian a warm welcome - he is located at the downtown NFTA headquarter offices.  

Celebrating Black History Month

The NFTA is celebrating Black History Month which is an annual recognition of achievements by African Americans and the central role that blacks have played in all industries in the U.S. including transportation. 

Some notable African American contributors in transit include Harriet Tubman for her involvement in the Underground Railroad, and Granville Woods, an electrical genius, for his numerous advances in transit operations.  In addition, Garret Augustus Morgan created the first stop-and-go rotating lighted traffic signal, and Rosa Parks gained national attention in 1955 when she refused to give up her public transit seat for a white passenger, to name a few. 

As part of this recognition, we would just like to take this opportunity to thank the many dedicated African American professionals who have worked at NFTA Metro over the years, and for those whom continue to make extraordinary strides within our transit industry today.  


Grab and Go Newstand Doing Well

In fall of last year the NFTA's downtown bus terminal, located at 181 Ellicott Street, received a new tenant - a Grab & Go Newsstand that features fresh food items and other snacks as well as convenience merchandise for travelers.  The store is owned operated by Amhed Adhadhari and is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Business has been good and Amhed indicated he is very pleased.  "The Grab and Go has been doing well since we opened.  The downtown terminal hosts a lot of individuals using Metro or Greyhound services, and it can be very busy at times.  Having an option for individuals to shop for items quickly and easily while traveling through the bus station has seemed to make a lot of people happy, whether they are short term visitors or returning customers," says Ahmed.

In the future Ahmed is also going to be opening another Grab & Go at the NFTA Metro's renovated Main and Allen Rail Station near the base of the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Hector Lozada - Recognized in NFTA Safety Pit Crew Campaign

Great news -  another NFTA employee, Hector Lozada, is being recognized in the NFTA's Safety Pit Crew Campaign.  This initiative highlights employees who go the extra mile every day: those who religiously follow sound safety practices, take pride in their work, and who exemplify the values of the NFTA.

Hector has been in the Facilities division at the NFTA for ten years and has no plans on leaving.  He started his career at the Niagara Falls Transportation Center and now works at the downtown bus terminal - MTC.  He says, “I love my job and the people here.  It’s a very rewarding place to work, and I look forward to many more years ahead.”

Outside of work, Hector is an active member of his church and has been part of the choir for 32 years.   Originally from Puerto Rico, Hector indicated that he enjoys living in this great city, but admits that the snow can be very difficult at times (which is ironic because of his big smile in the "snow poster").   When time permits Hector enjoys going on family vacations with his wife, daughter, and stepson.

Please help in congratulating Hector on a job well done!

NFTA Sponsors its first annual Sock & Glove Drive

Matt Urban Exec. Dir.
Marlies Wesolowski at Podium
A media event was held on January 31 at NFTA headquarters to kick-off its first annual Sock and Glove Drive to benefit individuals of homelessness through the Matt Urban Hope Center. Additional partners include the Buffalo Zoo and the Buffalo Medical Campus. The drive will run through February 14, and all items donated will be distributed by the Matt Urban Hope Center.

“We can’t stress enough how important these types of events are to the Homeless,” said Marlies Wesolowski, Executive Director of the Matt Urban Center. “I wish to thank the NFTA, the Buffalo Zoo and the Buffalo Medical Campus for their wonderful support, it will truly make a major difference in our community.”
NFTA Exec. Dir  Kim Minkel (left) and
Offcr. Dave Zarbo (center) with reps
from Matt Urban, BNMC and the Zoo
NFTA's Transit Police Officer Dave Zarbo has been a catalyst to moving this initiative forward. "It's something that many of us take for granted as we usually do not have to worry if we will have a clean pair of socks or something to keep our hands warm. Over the years, I have encountered numerous  homeless individuals who have experienced illnesses and shame because they cannot obtain these simple but extremely important items. Having all of these entities partner together to help those in need in our community is truly amazing."
Each year, it’s estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.5 million Americans sleep in shelters,  transitional housing and public places not meant for human habitation, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
The Sock and Glove Drive drop off locations are as follows:
    • Matt Urban Hope Center, 385 Paderewski Drive
    • Buffalo Zoo Main Gate Entrance, 300 Parkside
    • Buffalo Medical Campus - Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott Street
    • NFTA Transit Police, MTC 181 Ellicott Street or 1404 Main Street
    • NFTA Buffalo Airport Air Rescue and Firefighting Facility (Firehouse),
      120 Amherst Villa Rd. - Cheek.
We are grateful to anyone who can help!  Please follow us on Facebook and twitter for updates!  

Welcome Boukou (Gina) Karchofsky

Boukou Karchofsky, who goes by Gina, is a new member of the NFTA’s Internal Audit department. In her new role she will perform various functions of internal and external auditing as well as working on related special projects. Before joining the NFTA team, Gina worked for Dresher & Malecki CPAs.

Gina holds a Bachelor’s of Science in International Business with a minor in Accounting from Niagara University, and a Master's of Business with a concentration in Accounting from Niagara University.

Gina resides in Williamsville with her son.    In the summer months she enjoys gardening and being outside and taking  special trips to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Niagara Falls with her son when time permits. Along with her many other talents,  Gina is also fluent in French and teaches accounting courses at Bryant & Stratton College.

Please help in welcoming Gina.