After 20 years of service to Jefferson City, Shawn Stumpe, supervisor of the city's Central Maintenance Department, received the city's Outstanding Employee of the Month award for July.
Stumpe oversees all operations of the Central Maintenance Department, which repairs city equipment and vehicles.
He worked 10 years as a technician for the department before stepping into his current position as a supervisor. Before working for the city, he graduated from Linn State Technical College with a degree in automotives and worked in a variety of garages and a dealership.
He said he can "put himself in the techs' shoes" because of his past experiences.
"Being here in the winter, I know what they feel like when they've been out there working all night — that, yeah, they probably are getting tired," Stumpe said, looking out at the garage, where a technician was working on a police vehicle. "I think it helps, being in this position, knowing where all the techs are coming from, to know what it takes to keep the job going."
Winter is the busiest time for the department because the city sends out snowplows to clear roads of snow and ice. Stumpe and the technicians will stay at the garage until the snow is cleared to ensure snowplows that break down are not out of service for too long.
Stumpe and the technicians may work long days during the winter, but to ensure their safety, they sometimes will do worker rotations to give themselves breaks.
"The worst thing you can do is have someone fatigued doing this type of work," he said. "You have a lot of moving parts, vehicles moving in and out, up and down. You've got to know what's going on because you could get hurt if you're not paying attention to what you're doing. The main goal is that nobody gets hurt."
Since the department repairs a variety of vehicles and equipment, Stumpe said, it can be a challenge figuring out what is wrong and fixing it. However, this challenge is his favorite part of the job.
Stumpe said his biggest work accomplishment is how short of a period vehicles are down. Every three years, the Federal Transit Authority reviews the time it takes for the Central Maintenance Department to service vehicles. The department received 100 percent in the last two reviews.
The short downtime on vehicles is because Stumpe and the technicians look for potential problems on vehicles, addressing those things before they become issues.
"We really look over things, so if you bring something in for maintenance, we don't just do the service. We check brakes, suspension, steering, so that it's safe and keeps the vehicles on the roads longer because we're checking for any unforeseen breakdowns ahead of time," he said.
Stumpe said he was surprised but humbled to receive the Outstanding Employee of the Month award.
"I'm honored that I got it, but to me, I just come in and do my job. This is what I'm supposed to do, so that's what I do."