I want you to meet my pal, Morgan Temperly. She’s one of many employees at Valley Metro and has made some big jumps in her profession and education during her time here.
Morgan started her career at Valley Metro in November 2019 as a part-time customer service representative. At that time, I was still working as a lead in the customer service department, and I recall interviewing Morgan. She was among the many great candidates for the position, our top pick, and the top of her training class. One of the many tasks I had during this time was handling the monthly quality monitors for the call center, and each time I reviewed Morgan’s phone calls, she got 100%. Excellent customer service, friendly, and helpful. You could hear the smile from our riders through the phone when they spoke with her. It was amazing!
During a one-on-one meeting with Morgan, she shared her interest in the Planning Internship, and I was in full support. She soon started her internship in July 2021. This is where she would work on various Geographic Information System (GIS) projects, gather data, and make demographic maps for transit studies.
Morgan initially started school online at Rio Salado College in January 2019 and received an Associate’s degree. , She transferred to the University of Arizona, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in May 2022 with a major in Geographic Information Systems Technology (GIS) and a minor in Sustainability. She completed her education in a little under three and half years.
The very first project she worked on was the Quality of Life update. With a determined dedication to her capstone project, she also took a look at which schools in the Valley would be good candidates for a potential free fare program. Check them both out. Super informative and neat!
I got in touch with Temperly to get her point of view on her time spent at Valley Metro.
How was your time in customer service?
“I really enjoyed helping people navigate the city. The more confused a caller was, the more I had to put my geography and customer service skills to the test. After a while, I was able to start recognizing some of the callers’ voices. Sometimes they would remember my name as well. It seems strange to be able to develop a relationship with a stranger over the phone, but it was nice to interact with a lot of the same people, sometimes multiple times a day. “
Any memorable phone calls?
“A call that has left a permanent mark on my brain came from a gentleman reaching out to lost and found to try to find his teeth. Yes, his TEETH! He said he had fallen asleep on the bus, and his dentures had fallen out. How he managed to ignore the fact that his teeth fell out while napping is beyond me. He was so worried that they were going to be stolen. I assured him the likelihood of them being stolen was probably low. Fortunately, dentures are considered a high priority medical item, so I was able to give him a turnaround time for the bus he was on. As to whether he ever recovered them is still a mystery, but one that I think about more often than I’d like to. “
For some people that don’t know, what exactly does a Planner/Scheduler do?
“On the Service Planning side, we mostly deal with bus operations. We handle the big service changes that happen in April and October every year. As a planner, we do different studies for our member cities. As a scheduler, we look at the finer, short-range details related to bus times and day-to-day operations.”
Did working in customer service give you a different look at your new position as a Planner/Scheduler?
“My time in customer service really helped me become more customer focused. Growing up in the Valley and utilizing the system, I had my own limited perspective of Valley Metro and the system overall. Working in customer service, I had contact with people all over the Valley, going to so many places. They all had their own perspectives of the system, so it was interesting to get that feedback from them. By staying open-minded, I was able to see new ideas and issues that had never occurred to me before. I became much more understanding of the issues that different riders have to deal with every day. Without the riders, we are just driving empty buses.”
Now that you’re in a new position, how does it feel?
“Absolutely amazing! I knew at around 14 years old that I wanted to work for Valley Metro. As I started college, I discovered the world of GIS and realized that was the direction I wanted to go. Phoenix has always been home for me, and I don’t plan on leaving. I love that I play a part in making the Valley more transit friendly for my community, myself, and for the next generation. One of the other things I love about this job is that every day is different. I get to work on a variety of projects, both in service planning and capital development. Sometimes, I get to go to either the Tempe or Mesa bus yard and hang out with operations to look over runtime changes. This position is a great mix of field work and time spent behind a computer. I really enjoy getting on a bus to see the ‘why’ behind the data.
Since previously working closely with Morgan, I can say that I am very confident in her work and very proud of her. So, the next time you’re curious about who makes the decisions behind changes to transit schedules, it was probably Morgan and her fellow planners/schedulers.