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Celebrating Years of Dedicated Service to SEPTA

Kristin Geiger
SEPTA Press Officer

Each year section A of SEPTA's Market East Station is transformed into a ballroom for one of the biggest celebrations of the year, the Authority's annual retirement luncheon. The annual event recognizes every employee who retired within the past twelve months. This year, on June 14, SEPTA honored 230 retired employees who collectively amassed over 6,400 years of service to the Authority.

"It has been an honor to work with you," Jacob Aufschauer, SEPTA's Senior Director of Human Resources said. "You have not only been inspiring but have helped this organization to succeed."

After thanking the retirees and their families for their years of service to the Authority, SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey added, "You've helped to establish a professional standard. Our recent accomplishments, winning APTA's Outstanding Transportation System 2012, Bus Roadeo Grand Champions (2013) and the 2013 Rail Roadeo Team Achievement Award, belong to our employees. Thank you for making SEPTA the best transportation system in the United States."

Although the names and the faces in each year's retirement class change, some traditions remain the same. Awards are presented to retirees with 40+ years of service to the Authority and the latest additions to SEPTA's "Wall of Honor" are unveiled. Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel and Assistant General Manager of Operations Ronald Hopkins presented the honors. The Wall of Honor is a series of engraved plaques that list each retiree's name and employee number. Following the luncheon, the plaques are hung outside of the board room at SEPTA Headquarters for all to see.

Gift bags containing letters personally signed by the General Manager and engraved clocks are also presented to each retiree who attends the luncheon. Retirees may receive additional items in their gift bags depending on their years of service. SEPTA's general manager, assistant general managers and union officials also line up to personally shake hands and congratulate each retiree.

"Employee recognition is so important," said Gretchen Frederick, SEPTA Manager of Retirement Services and project leader for the retirement luncheon planning committee. "Everyone who attends the annual luncheon is surprised at what a great event SEPTA puts on for them."

According to Frederick, it's all in the details. 2013 marked the 12th year of the annual retirement luncheon. She begins planning each event in January. She believes that personalization is what makes the event so special. Frederick keeps a running list of employees who retire throughout the year. She ensures that each retired employee's name, employee number and years of service are accurate. These items are printed in the program, on each person's letter, the wall of honor and their ceremonial clock. Leading a group of 20 volunteers, Frederick coordinates the transformation of Market East Station from train station concourse to ballroom.

At the end of the luncheon, Frederick thanked General Manager Joseph Casey for his support and the retirees. "SEPTA's greatest asset is its workforce," Frederick said. "We thank all of you for choosing transportation for your career."

SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey honored several employees with 40 or more years of service.

SEPTA's General Manager, Deputy General Manager, Assistant General Managers and Union Officials personally congratulate each retiree.

A retiree searches for her name and employee number on the Wall of Honor.

Gretchen Frederick, SEPTA's Manager of Retirement Services, reads the name of each retiree who attends the luncheon.

SEPTA's retirement luncheon planning commitee poses in front of the Walk of Honor at the Authority's Headquarters.