Q’STRAINT & Sure-Lok Announce the Winner of Inaugural Q’MANITARIAN Award

Q’STRAINT/Sure-Lok is pleased to announce that Dan Allison is the winner of the company’s inaugural Q’MANITARIAN Award. Dan is a highly acclaimed Occupational Therapist (OTR) and driving specialist at the Shepherd Center, which U.S. News and World Report ranks among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation.

What is the Q’MANITARIAN Award?

The Q’MANITARIAN award was created by Q’STRAINT/Sure-Lok to honor a transportation safety professional who has exhibited extraordinary dedication, devotion, and compassion by matching our company’s vision of making safety accessible. The Q’MANITARIAN award recognizes all those who assist mobility device passengers as not only transportation safety professionals but Q’MANITARIANS.

As the winner of the Q’MANITARIAN award, Dan will be presented with two commemorative plaques. One for himself to keep and the other which will be showcased on the Wall of Honor at the Q’STRAINT facility.

Q’MANITARIAN Winner Dan Allison, OTR/Driving Specialist Shepherd Center

Dan Allison

Dan Allison, 2019 Q’MANITARIAN

Dan, a Certified Driver Rehab Specialist (CDRS), heads the training department at the Shepherd Center. Prior to joining the world renowned hospital, he started his career at the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability on the campus of Mississippi State University.

“I am deeply honored to have received the Q’MANITARIAN award especially from a company that I hold such a high opinion of and deeply respect,” said Dan. “I am also a strong proponent of the Q’STRAINT product-line which I find to be not only robust, but exceptionally easy to use and their performance and durability are second to none.”

Dan works at the Shepherd Center’s Adaptive Driving Services patient program, where he has positively impacted so many people’s lives in their pursuit of driving and riding in a vehicle with a mobility device independently. While some professionals can be described as order takers; Dan is focused and determined to find his patients the most customized personal mobility solutions to fit their unique needs.

“Dan is so attuned to his clients and always goes the extra mile to improve their quality of life,” said Jainie Cirlot-New, a former co-worker of Dan at the T.K. Martin Center. “He certainly wasn’t there for the paycheck. He truly cared about helping each patient he treated.”

A Highly Individualized CDRS Evaluation

Dan’s personal training methodology takes into account exploring the most highly individualized transportation options for patients who have recently experienced a loss in mobility. Dan, a former Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) President, addresses each of his patient’s unique transportation needs in the areas of safety and accessibility.

Q’MANITARIAN Finalist Maria Church, Risk Management Director, TransNet

Maria has been the Risk Management Director for Suburban Transit Network (TransNet) for the past 19 years and has earned the designation of Certified Community Transit Manager (CCTM) and Certified Safety and Security Officer (CSSO). She is employed by one of the largest non-profit paratransit agencies in Pennsylvania, which is responsible for transporting more than two thousand people every day to their destinations.

Forefront of Innovation

Just like the company Maria is employed by, TransNet, and the products they use, Q’STRAINT wheelchair securement equipment, Maria loves to be in the center of innovation. As a leader, a visionary and most importantly an innovator, Maria possesses the innate ability to recognize the value and potential that exists between TransNet and Q’STRAINT.

“TransNet’s vision is to be in the forefront of innovation,” said Maria, who works for one of the first paratransit agencies in Pennsylvania to deploy the Q’STRAINT INQLINE mobility passenger boarding system.

A Passion for Paratransit Safety

When Maria was told she was named a finalist for the Q’MANITARIAN award, she was not only stunned, but completely honored about what she viewed as one of the many high points in her nearly 20-year prolific career at TransNet.

“When Joe Boyko, Q’STRAINT Northeast Regional Manager, told me I was a finalist, I was blown away and I became so emotional about the news,” said Maria. “Being named a Q’MANITARIAN award finalist was even more special to me because it was coming from a company that I hold in such high regard and validates all the hard work and dedication that I put into my job every day.”

Maria Wears Many Paratransit Hats

When not wearing the numerous hats at TransNet including managing contractors, safety training, accident investigations, incident reporting, specification writing, vehicle maintenance, and quality assurance, Maria still has time to oversee the wheelchair securement judging on the Pennsylvania Public Paratransit Association’s (PPTA’s) roadeo committee as well as the Community Transportation Association of America’s (CTAA’s) national roadeo committee.

Q’MANITARIAN Finalist Kevin Bunce, Assistant Director of Maintenance, Sun Metro

As a member of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) leadership group, Kevin is both a visionary and pioneer in the transit industry. One of his many accomplishments occurred when he delivered the QUANTUM, the industry’s first and only fully automatic and virtually autonomous wheelchair securement system for the Sun Metro Transit Agency’s (SMTA) mobility device passenger community.

“I’m shocked and humbled to be considered as a finalist for the prestigious Q’MANITARIAN award,” said Bunce. “For many of us like myself in transit, we do what we do for mobility device passengers to provide them with a means of independent living through our transportation service and efforts. The fact that Q’STRAINT provides us the safety to use our transportation services makes our jobs even easier.”

Ability to Develop Meaningful and Impactful Relationships

Kevin was able to capture the hearts and minds of Desert Adapt – a local El Paso American with Disabilities Act (ADA) group – by maintaining a constant stream of communication between the group and the agency. After many public involvement meetings and a pilot program, Kevin had the valuable Intel which he integrated into a new wheelchair securement solution.

Through these many public involvement exchanges, Kevin has impressively displayed his ability to connect with ADA group members like Lori Vugteveen, a mobility passenger and advocate of both the QUANTUM and SMTA.

“Mr. Bunce has gone out of his way to help me personally when my powered wheelchair battery died prematurely and I was stranded,” said Vugteveen. “He gave me his direct telephone numbers long ago and told me that I could call him anytime I was in trouble.  I called and he was able to get me picked up and safely dropped off at my home.”

Vugteveen added: “How many professionals in his position take the time to make sure one of their mobility user passengers are taken care of personally?  Not many I’m sure.”

These personal relationships like the one between Kevin and Lori are not only genuine, but reflect the admiration and deep devotion he has for the SMTA mobility device community.

Nearly 40 Years’ Experience in Public Involvement

Throughout Kevin’s 39 years in public transportation, he has made it a point to consult with his ADA ridership on all key issues that impact these stakeholders. However it was not always smooth sailing for Kevin and Desert Adapt.

He remembers his first meeting with the ADA group, as he stated in Mass Transit Magazine. “When I first approached our mobility passengers, I quickly learned that they were dissatisfied with the quality of our service and were extremely vocal in expressing their opinions,” Kevin recounted. “In my first meeting with them, I probably should have worn a flak jacket. They let me have it big time.”

These days Kevin has earned the ADA group’s respect over time and gained their trust by playing a leading role in making safety accessible for them.

Congratulations to the Winner and Two Finalists of the Q’MANITARIAN Award

Whether you are an OTR for an esteemed hospital, a risk management director in paratransit, or a maintenance director for a transit agency – all our Q’MANITARIAN transportation professional finalists and the winner share one common trait – their steadfast commitment to making safety accessible to everyone – and are all true Q’MANITARIANS.

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