Executive Director’s Corner
Message from the Executive Director
In a world and time of so many uncertainties, there is one thing I know for sure, and that is “we must all learn to navigate the new norm.” This global pandemic offers each of us the opportunity for new and different perspectives on life and the work we do…perhaps even a reimagined culture and/or reimaged branding of our respective businesses.
RideFinders has always been and continues to be in the business of assisting people…helping people go places, whether by bus, train, car, biking, walking even teleworking! Years before COVID-19, in partnership with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), we were integral in providing technical support and financial investments to establish and implement employee telework programs to many businesses located throughout the RVA region so they were well -positioned to continue operations in this new climate. During this pandemic, we have consistently reached out other area and regional businesses to offer our free services and to provide resources, websites, links and information that could positively impact not their operations during these difficult times, but also the region’s vison, goals and strategies for the future.
We explored innovative ways utilizing social media platforms, to not only stay engaged but to also lighten some moments, while sharing tips on the environment, safe strategies for riding the bus, ridesharing and utilizing non-motorized transportation. We encouraged easy to do healthy habits to incorporate while working from home to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit. We tweeted all summer long and caught the eye of new potential partners as we talked about recycling and waste management, “Walk it out Wednesday” while taking our pets for a mid-day walk, “Wheel and Walk Wednesday” focusing on biking and pedestrian awareness, and Ozone Action Week, a week dedicated to taking small steps to help improve air quality during the hot summer months, among many ideas. As the school year started, Team RideFinders presented “We Read Wednesdays” to encourage reading and provide a resource for parents of children eight years and younger to learn about “green commuting” and planet friendly actions. These activities were all centered around our 2020 Clean Air Campaign - Celebrate Earth Day, every day!
Our thoughts and well-wishes were ever-present and appreciative for ALL the front-line workers. We jumped right in and helped make recyclable masks for the GRTC operators; supported our vanpool providers for operational sustainability; provided contactless delivery of products to meet customer requests; posted attended numerous virtual meetings regarding transportation-related matters; and prepared the RideFinders office utilizing CDC recommendation for our re-opening. We sent surveys on behalf of our business partners, made others aware of special grant opportunities, participated in numerous virtual transportation fairs, and even showed up to special events while practicing social distancing and using PPE. Some staff volunteers even delivered meals to families in their off-work hours. The Board of Directors and the RideFinders Advisory Board remain committed to supporting the vision of an efficient multi-modal transportation system for the region. Our rideshare developer donated $500 to Feed More on behalf of RideFinders because you exceeded the goal for logging your telework trips during the challenge. Because we care about people.
Your support and your participation have led to some really great, impactful acknowledgements from the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and environmental community: We were recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2019 Clean Air Excellence Award for Transportation Efficiency Innovations and by the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) with the 2020 Commuting Options –Vanpooling Award. Even our very own program manager, Cherika Ruffin, was the recipient of the Virginia Transit Association 2020 Unsung Hero Award!
Stay connected with us through www.ridefinders.com, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages to check out some of our virtual campaigns like “Visits With Von”. Most importantly, we thank each of you for all you do to make your community and this region a great place to live, work and play. Oh yes, the other thing I know for sure… we will get through this together!
Von S. Tisdale