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Georgia Commute Honors

Georgia Commute Honors 

8:43  Lights down, Erin Coleman up—here we go, folks! 

8:45  They’re going to give awards in five categories: Ride and Shine for outstanding schools, Rising Stars for our up-and-coming partners, Georgia DOT Leadership Award for outstanding employer representatives, Road Warriors for outstanding individual commuters, and the Best Overall Programs for outstanding employers and property managers.

8:46   Here comes GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, for the intro.

8:49   Fun fact: Georgia Commute Options has helped more than 1,600 employers and property managers and more than 100,000 commuters switch to better commutes. Another fun fact:  Every day, Georgia Commute Options partners and commuters keep a collective 1.1 million vehicle miles off the roads, save a combined $500,000 in commuter costs, and keep 550 tons of pollution out of the air. 

8:52   Governor Deal beamed in to congratulate all of today’s winners and nominees via the big screen. Nice!

8:54   Next up: Doug Hooker, Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, to give opening remarks.

8:55   "We have to find ways innovate if we want to remain competitive" Doug Hooker, Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission

8:59   OK folks, it’s trophy time. Here comes Keith Parker, everyone’s favorite MARTA CEO, to present the first category:  Rising Star.  This is for partners that are new to the Georgia Commute Options game but are showing a lot of early promise. Two awards in this category: Employer and Partner Champion.

9:00   FUN FACT: Businesses that partner with Georgia Commute Options can take advantage of employee ridematching, help building a telework plan, pre-tax benefits for commute costs, cash & prizes for your alternative-commuting employees, and more! Learn more here

9:01   First up: Rising Star Employer. Winner: Citizens Trust Bank!

9:02   Citizens Trust Bank, nominated by Central Atlanta Progress, used their recent office move as a springboard to promote alternative commutes to their employees. Since launching their program last year, they’ve converted 15% of their drive-alone commute to alternative commutes. Off to a killer start! Congrats, Citizens Trust Bank!

9:04   Next up: Rising Star Partner Champion. (This one goes to an individual, not a company. Someone who’s been a great point-of-contact for his/her company’s Georgia Commute Options partnership.) 

9:05   Winner: Jerry Travers of Bank of America!

9:06   Jerry has taken a personal interest in spreading Georgia Commute Options programs to Bank of America

employees. He has ensured that Georgia Commute Options has the support it needs to succeed within Bank of America’s office culture. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes next for Jerry and Bank of America. Congrats, Jerry Travers!

9:08   Here comes GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry to present the Georgia DOT Leadership Award. This one’s for an outstanding individual at one of our partner companies.

9:09   And it looks like we’ve got two winners for this award:  Renee Carter of Primerica, and Willie Taylor of U.S. Housing and Urban Development! 

9:10   Renee Carter is Georgia Commute Options contact at Primerica and leads a very enthusiastic program. From helping arrange tabling events to organizing commute competitions between office floors, she has really taken on the task of cleaning up Primerica’s commutes. Congrats, Renee Carter!

9:10   Willie Taylor leads HUD’s partnership with Georgia Commute Options, and under his leadership, his workplace won Best Overall Program at last year’s Georgia Commute Honors. Not only does he promote clean commuting, he’s a regular clean commuter himself. Congrats, Willie Taylor!

9:11   Next up: Chris Tomlinson, Executive Director of both the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the State Road and Tollway Authority, to present our Ride and Shine Schools Award!

9:11   FUN FACT: Schools that partner with Georgia Commute Options can get help shortening the car-rider line while also participating in contests, activities and our original project-based learning curriculum!

9:12   Three categories in the Ride and Shine Schools Award. First up: Administration.  Winner: KIPP Atlanta Collegiate! 

9:13   Instead of providing school buses, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate provides 300 free or reduced-price MARTA passes to their students each week. Not only does this get students riding transit, but eliminating an idling bus fleet has also ensured cleaner air on school grounds.

9:13   Congrats, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate!

9:14   Next up:  Teacher/PTA Award. Winner: Imhotep Academy!

9:14   Imhotep Academy reached out to Georgia Commute Options about setting up a carpool program for its students—and ended up being the pilot school for our new Pool to School online ridematcher.  Congrats, Imhotep!

9:15   Final Ride and Shine award: Students.  

9:16   Two winners in this category:  Pope High School and Craig Elementary School!

9:16   Pope High School’s Environmental Science Class took advantage of Georgia Commute Options’ original project-based curriculum to learn about transportation. Students then presented their projects to folks from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Commute Options.

9:16   Craig Elementary School’s green team took on clean commuting in a big way when they dispatched to do a week’s worth of mode counts, school-wide. They’re now planning to a school-wide clean commute campaign to follow it up.

9:17   Congrats to Pope and Craig! 

9:18   Big moment:  Chris Tomlinson just announced that Clayton County Public Schools are partnering with Georgia Commute Options for the 2016-17 school year — and they’re the first district ever to do it!  Clayton becomes the second school district in the whole country to adopt a district-wide TDM program. Big news for Clayton County, and for us!

9:18   Next award: Road Warriors, our award for rock star individual commuters. Presenting the award: Becky Katz, Chief Bicycle Officer for the City of Atlanta.

9:19   Three winners in this category: Adam Shumaker, Daniel Harris, and Mike Jacobs.

9:20   You’ve seen Adam Shumaker’s work if you follow @marta_explorer on Instagram. He runs the MARTA Instagram feed and helped grow it organically to 2,000 followers. A long-time transit advocate, Adam even got married on MARTA! Congrats to Adam.

9:21   Dan Harris is an avid bike commuter nominated by Perimeter Connects. His regular five-mile bike commute accounts for his workplace, Verizon, having won the Atlanta Bike Challenge two years running. He also orchestrated a “Try-a-Bike” day at his office, arranging for loaned bikes and instructors from REI to school his colleagues in bike safety—with 100 riders participating! That’s a pollution-free fleet we can get behind. Congrats, Dan!

9:21   Judge Mike Jacobs takes MARTA every day from his home in Brookhaven to the Dekalb County State Court in Decatur—but this is old news to you if you follow @JudgeJacobs on Twitter. Judge Jacobs sends out regular MARTA selfies to his 1,177 Twitter followers. We’re loving the public display of transit affection. Congrats, Judge Mike Jacobs!

9:23   Final award of the day: Best Overall Program. This award recognizes workplaces that have implemented outstanding commute options programs for their employees and tenants. Five categories in this one: Small Employer, Medium Employer, Large Employer, Government Agency and Property Manager.

9:23   Small Employer winner: Georgia Natural Gas

9:24   Nominated by Midtown Transportation, Georgia Natural Gas contributes toward 50% of employee transit passes and has a robust telework program. 40% of staff telework at least once per week. Congrats, Georgia Natural Gas!

9:25   Medium Employer Winner: RentPath

9:26   RentPath worked with Livable Buckhead to promote commute options when it moved its office to the Buckhead area. It offers its employees a parking cash out pre-tax payroll deductions for transit. Nice work, RentPath! 

9:29   Large Employer winner: Primerica

9:29   In 2015 alone, Primerica’s Georgia Commute Options activities reduced 11,170 trips by employees—adding up to 280,233 miles not driven. Commute options saved those employees over $135,676. Those are some impressive numbers. Congrats, Primerica!

9:30   Government Agency winner: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

9:31   The CDC has made alternative commuting a priority to tackle traffic and parking issues for its 11,332 employees. It has over 5,000 regular teleworkers, 46 vanpools, 450 carpools and 100 bike racks. Not too shabby! Congrats, CDC.

9:32   Property Manager winner: Jamestown at Ponce City Market

9:34   Nominated by Midtown Transportation, Jamestown’s shuttles to nearby MARTA stations transport 6,500 tenants per month. In addition, they constructed a bridge to connect their property with the nearby Eastside BeltLine trail, promoting bike and walk accessibility to their property. Nice work, Jamestown!

9:36   And that was the last award of the day!  Commissioner Russell McMurry is back to give us the sign-off.

9:38   Thanks for following along with us—that’s a wrap on the 2016 Georgia Commute Honors. See you all next year!

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