MPTA Recognizes 20 Transit Operators Across Missouri at 2023 Midwest Transit Conference

A total of 20 transit operators who are known for their selfless dedication and heroism in delivering much-needed transit services to riders in rural and urban areas of Missouri were each recently presented with a 2023 Missouri Transit Operator Champions’ award by the MPTA. The honorees were recognized during the 2023 Midwest Transit Conference held in Kansas City Sept. 6-8.

The transit operators honored at the event were nominated by their individual transit provider employers. All operators were recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to serve their communities and care for their riders.

The 2023 Missouri Transit Operator Champions are as follows:


  • Ty Baxter – OATS Transit Southwest Region
  • Terry Benoist – SMTS, Inc.
  • Dwayne Bisch – OATS Transit Mideast Region
  • Jimmy Braxton – Bi-State Development/Metro Transit
  • Jimmy Gilliam – SMTS, Inc.
  • Jeff Glass – City Utilities of Springfield
  • Marsha Gonzalez – KCATA
  • Jason Hale – City Utilities of Springfield
  • Roxana Heidbrier – OATS Transit Northeast Region
  • Winton “Wint” Kelley – OATS Transit West Region
  • Tiara Lockwood – Bi-State Development/Metro Transit
  • David McCutcheon – SMTS, Inc.
  • Maggie Meltabarger – OATS Transit Mid-Missouri Region
  • Donna Mooningham – SMTS, Inc. – Oregon County
  • Jerome Pampkin – Bi-State Development/Metro Transit
  • Rick Ruediger – JeffTran
  • Josh Spear – OATS Transit Midwest Region
  • Carolyn Toney – OATS Transit Northwest Region
  • Jermaine Walker – OATS Transit East Region
  • Ken Whited – SMTS, Inc. – Perry County

“Transit operators work tirelessly to provide a vital service to their customers who rely on transit to get them where they need to go,” said Kimberly Cella, executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association. “Those named as 2023 Missouri Transit Operator Champions go above and beyond to assist their riders, but their efforts often go unnoticed by those outside of their community. We are proud to highlight their dedication and willingness to go the extra mile through this award.”