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February 03, 2020

Can We Fix It?: A Champion’s Dream

Bisi Ibrahim

Anthony Alves (center) with 2020 SolTrans Maintenance Interns: (left to right) Juan Eddie Ortega, Demadjeo Simon, Francis Nanalis and Tim Mates
Source: Kayla Garcia

Anthony Alves molds the people around him to become the best they can be. He has a champion drive and wherever life takes him, he makes the best out of the situation.

“Whatever problem comes our way, we fix it,” says Alves, while standing in his pristine maintenance facility.

That’s how Anthony—National Express Transit’s (NEXT) and SolTrans’ contract operations’ Maintenance Manager—attacks everything, including his latest pet project, the SolTrans Maintenance Internship Program.

He noticed the rapidly increasing demand for skilled mechanics in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, bolstered by the awareness of an increase in more-seasoned mechanics retiring. Moreover, he’s aware of California’s regulation for zero-emissions fleets by 2040 and the need for hands-on experience for those pursuing automotive technology degrees.

Thus was born the paid internship program of Anthony’s dreams.

Of the dozens of applicants, four interns were selected for the inaugural internship: Tim Mates, Francis Nanalis, Juan Eddie Ortega and Demadjeo Simon. They come from diverse educational and employment backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common—they all want to work in a hands-on environment in a challenging field.

According to Anthony they’ve come to the right place.

SolTrans has the most diverse fleet he himself has ever come across. “We have hybrid, electric, and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses [in addition to diesel buses], not to mention several different vehicle manufacturers in our bus fleet,” says Anthony. With such diversity, Anthony was looking for candidates with one thing: the hunger to learn.

He saw that eagerness in Demadjeo Simon during his internship presentation at the Automotive Technician Program at Solano Community College (SCC). Alves recalls Demadjeo raising his hand multiple times during the presentation and that he even made a point of speaking to Anthony afterward.

“The Automotive Technician Program prepares students for entry level careers as apprentice technicians, parts specialists, service consultants, or specialists in one of the many areas of the automotive service and repair industry.”

— Solano Community College

Looking back, Demadjeo, himself said, “I was impressed with what [he was] preaching,” and that the internship opportunity could not have presented itself at a better time for him.

As an SCC student, he’s part of the student body that campaigned, voted and secured a partnership with SolTrans that now allows SCC students to ride for free on all SolTrans routes — including the Route 7A, 7B and Red Line that serve the Vallejo and Fairfield campuses.

SolTrans always enjoys partnering with community organizations to create programs and opportunities for Solano County residents. Anthony Alves and his new-found team are just a reflection of that.

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