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"Show Jeff Your Work Day" Conquers the Concourse

Kristin Geiger
Public Information Manager

With more than 9,300 employees, it's important for SEPTA workers to know upper management is supportive of the hard work and diverse skills required to keep the transit system moving. SEPTA's Building a SEPTA Customer Service Culture's Action Team Three accomplishes that by allowing employees to participate in a reverse shadowing experience called "Show Jeff Your Work Day". During this year's event one lucky employee, maintenance custodian Jasmin "Jazz" Hoxha, won an Authority-wide contest to have Deputy General Manager, Jeffrey Knueppel shadow him for an entire work day.

"There are lots of candidates that could have been chosen and I'm just really glad that I had the opportunity," Hoxha said.

Hoxha is responsible for cleaning an extensive portion of SEPTA's underground concourse which includes City Hall Station passageways, windy walkways leading up to Dilworth Park, large areas surrounding Walnut-Locust Station, and other designated areas. In addition to cleaning these areas, Hoxha is responsible for emptying 14 trash cans, cleaning 19 sets of stairways and one escalator.

The 2015 Show Jeff Your Work Day began promptly at 5:30 a.m. in a supply room adjacent to the Walnut-Locust Station along the Authority's Broad Street Line. Before loading Hoxha's golf cart with trash bags, plastic gloves, cleaning solution and other essential supplies, the enthusiastic employee made it clear that he was on a mission to implement positive change. Hoxha handed Deputy GM Knueppel a typed list of items that he felt were areas of concern. After reviewing the list, Knueppel made calls to schedule an immediate meeting with SEPTA's Bridges and Buildings team along the Broad Street Line to begin addressing a few of the items on Hoxha's list.

With Hoxha's typed list in hand, Knueppel said, "I've been looking forward to this day. It was important for me to see what our employees are facing in the concourse and I really want them to feel valued."

Knueppel added that people may not realize how critical their job is and that SEPTA maintenance custodians play an instrumental role in positive public perception of our system.

They toured through Hoxha's entire work area, stopping to empty trash cans, sweep up debris and to provide directions to visitors and riders/pedestrians who seemed to have lost their way. While riding on the work cart through the concourse, Knueppel requested to check emergency call boxes to ensure that they were in working order and asked Hoxha to stop because he noticed offensive graffiti along one of the walls that they removed on the spot.

"The cleanliness of a station is more important than people realize," Knueppel said. "When someone walks into a station and it's dirty, it leaves them with a negative impression. They may think that we don't care about our stations or that they're unsafe."

Hoxha agreed with Knueppel and added, "That's why I take such pride in what I do."

As Hoxha and Knueppel conquered the concourse, it was tough to tell who was actually doing the shadowing. Both seemed anxious to challenge each other about secret passageways and shortcuts along the concourse. Hoxha pointed out areas he thought the Deputy GM had never seen before. Knueppel shared with Hoxha, the multi-phase renovation plans to upgrade lighting, resurface flooring and stairways and improve signage in the concourse, now that they are a SEPTA responsibility.

"To have the chance to work with someone like him (Deputy GM Knueppel) has been my best experience as a SEPTA employee," Hoxha said. "I have a better perspective into how much he cares about employees having the tools to do their jobs."

Hoxha provided Knueppel with the all-star tour. He showed him where additional equipment and cleaning supplies were located and paused to introduce his new associate to other maintenance custodians and employees along the way. This wasn't the first time the Deputy GM shadowed one of the SEPTA's maintenance custodians. In 2013, Knueppel split an entire day between two maintenance custodians, Lois Chittick, based out of 69th Street Transportation Center and Patricia "Pat" Harvey at City Hall Station along the Broad Street Line. Pat made a surprise appearance on Show Jeff Your Work Day as Knueppel was inspecting a passageway near City Hall Station.

After an eventful morning in the concourse, Knueppel took Hoxha to a place he has always wanted to visit, the nerve center of service operations, SEPTA's control center. While in the Control Center, Knueppel explained each area's importance and showed Hoxha how SEPTA's different modes work together.

Before ending the day, they circled back down to the supply room near the Walnut-Locust Station and Hoxha showed the Deputy GM how to use a riding machine called a "factory cat" to clean various concourse areas. The machine used water, cleaning solution and a suction feature to clean pools of water and other designated locations identified in the morning.

"Although each of us has our own area that we're responsible for, it's a team effort to get things done," Hoxha said.

Less than a year ago, SEPTA took control of the underground concourse. Deputy GM Knueppel wanted to see how the Authority's maintenance custodians were handling their new assignment. Following a productive Show Jeff Your Work Day on the concourse, Assistant Director of Station Operations Joseph Curtin, Station Managers Dereck Baxter and Julius Robinson along with Maintenance Custodian Jazz Hoxha are excited to see the improvements that are already being made to help them perform their cleaning functions more efficiently.

SEPTA Maintenance Custodian Jazz Hoxha (left) won and Authority-wide contest to have Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel (right) shadow him for an entire work day.

SEPTA Maintenance Custodian Pat Harvey (center) made a surprise appearance while Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel (left) and Maintenance Custodian Jazz Hoxha were inspecting a passageway near City Hall Station. photo courtesy Dereck Baxter

Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel calls a meeting with SEPTA's Bridges and Building team to address a few items on Hxoha's list.

While in SEPTA's Control Center, Deputy General Manager Knueppel showed Maintenance Custodian Jazz Hoxha how the Authority's different modes work together.