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A Harbor Transit transition

Alex Doty • Jun 17, 2017 at 12:00 PM

This past week has marked a transition for the community’s mass transit organization.

Tom Manderscheid’s journey as head of the city’s transportation department has come to an end, and stepping aboard to begin her journey is the new director, Tiffany Bowman.

“I really have enjoyed my nine and a half years here,” Manderscheid said. “What I think we’ve brought to the community is a great opportunity to get out.”

Under Manderscheid’s leadership, the Habor Transit service area has more than quadrupled in size, now covering 55 square miles to include the entire Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg city, village and township communities.

In addition, more than $3.4 million has been invested in new vehicles, and the bus service has upgraded technology and made building enhancements. The overall operation has seen the number of staff grow to 65 full- and part-time employees.

“I just think we’ve taken the whole organization and grown it,” Manderscheid said. “We’ve expanded it and given a lot of people the opportunity to grow with us.”

Manderscheid said he’ll miss the people who make up the job — from the employees, Harbor Transit board members and riders.

“We have some neat people that we serve every day,” he said. “It has been a real enjoyable nine years.”

Over the past week, Manderscheid has worked with Bowman to bring her up to speed on the organization’s daily operations. He said he planned to give it his all up until he was officially off the clock.

“My experience has told me (there are) a number of things that need to be cared for before the new director arrives,” Manderscheid said. “I haven’t slowed down.”

Bowman said she is thrilled to inherit a great transit organization, and noted that her goal is to continue to make it a safe, reliable service for the community.

“I’m very grateful for the new position and looking forward to working with the community,” she said. “I am inheriting a good transit (department). Tom gets a lot of credit.”

Bowman comes to Harbor Transit with more than 15 years experience in transit management and grant writing.

“Transportation is truly my passion,” she said. “I love working with the passengers, drivers and stakeholders to provide transportation services that are safe, reliable and meet the needs of our community.”

Bowman’s first job in transportation was with Georgetown Township as Senior Center director. The program also had a small fleet of buses to provide transportation in the Jenison/Hudsonville area.

Bowman also worked in the transit field for Pioneer Resources, and most recently with Macatawa Area Express, the public transit provider for the Holland area.

“As a transit professional, I know how essential the transportation program is for our community,” she said. “Many rely on Harbor Transit to access their jobs, medical appointments and other important locations. Transportation is more than just a ride, it is a quality-of-life issue for our community. Knowing that we are available for our family, neighbors and our own use is what contributes to our vibrant and healthy community.”

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