Since its start in 1974, SMOOTH's leadership has been shared by just four previous Executive Directors, Nancy Poultney (70's-80's), Betty Fisher (80's-1998), Harry Watson (1998-2006), and Jim Talbott (2005-2020). Each had individual and distinct roles in moving SMOOTH from its humble beginnings with the Senior Bus service, through a highly successful 27-Year contract relationship with the Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT) service, and into the current modern era of service. Referring to this leadership history, current staff consider themselves to be "standing on the shoulders of giants".
1953 - 2020
SMOOTH Inc. Operations Manager, 2000 - 2005
SMOOTH Inc. Executive Director, 2005 - 2020
Fil started with SMOOTH in 2005 as SMOOTH’s Operations Manager, carrying on the work of Jim Talbott who had been promoted to Executive Director. Fil is a career business manager who has worked his entire adult life managing transportation, retail, and sales businesses. During his time Fil has lived and worked in both California and Washington State.
Born on Pico Island in the Portuguese Azores, Fil’s parents brought their family to the New World in search of opportunities not available to them there. Having long ago become a naturalized U.S. citizen, Fil considers himself a stalwart patriot and lover of the historical liberty, promise and opportunities that make up the U.S.A.
Raised in rural California’s Central Valley, Fil remembers his childhood as idyllic.
Since 2005 Fil has contributed to the management and growth of SMOOTH, Inc., and it’s designation as a Consolidated Transportation Services Agency, assisting in shepherding its growth to an organization with a multi-million dollar annual budget. Additionally, Fil sits on the Santa Barbara County Transit Advisory Committee.
A father and grandfather, Fil also commits time and support to membership in community service organizations including the Kiwanis Club, the Elks Lodge, the DES Club of Santa Maria and several other advocacy organizations.
Pearl Garza began her career with SMOOTH in April of 2008 as a Substitute Driver, and quickly learned all of SMOOTH's service routes. Pearl accepted a full time Driver position in 2010 driving one of SMOOTH's daily routes serving developmentally disabled passengers. During this time, Pearl demonstrated a high level of customer service, reliability, and problem solving skills that led her to succeed in that position.
Having learned office administration skills while earning her Registered Medical Assistant certificate from the Center for Employment Training (CET) in Santa Maria, Pearl was a natural candidate for cross training in SMOOTH's office. She made a full time transition into the office as an Administrative Assistant in 2013 and quickly mastered the many computer software systems, data retention, and report tasks. Pearl's strengths as a licensed Commercial Driver, Administrative Assistant, and her positive TEAM attitude, were a large part of the decision to promote Pearl to Office Manager in September 2016.
Following the retirement of the previous Operations Manager, Pearl was promoted to assume this position in July 2020. Her multiple years of experience in SMOOTH's administration will undoubtedly benefit her transition and SMOOTH's overall operation for years to come.
Pearl is a devoted mother of two children and as their Team Mom, spends most weekends cheering them on during softball or football games. She is also an active member of both the Guadalupe Youth and Central Coast Youth Football Leagues.
Laurie began working with SMOOTH in May 2017 bringing to SMOOTH over 22-years of office and accounting experience. Most recently, Laurie worked as a Payroll and Accounts Payable Specialist for an international education firm with over 2,000 peak season employees.
With over eleven years of work experience with internet-based payroll systems, Laurie was instrumental in moving SMOOTH's manual payroll system to a fully computerized internet-based payroll system. With SMOOTH's fund-based accounting and payroll system and over a dozen employee payroll classifications, this was no small task.
Laurie is a native Santa Maria resident and graduated from Santa Maria High School and Santa Barbara Business College where she earned her degree in Computerized Accounting.
Martina Arreola began her career with SMOOTH in 2014 as a Substitute Driver and quickly learned all of SMOOTH's service routes. Martina eventually accepted a fulltime position driving one of SMOOTH's daily routes serving developmentally disabled passengers. During this time Martina continued to demonstrate a high level of customer service, reliability, and problem-solving skills that led her to succeed in that position.
Having acquired office administration skills in previous jobs Martina was a natural candidate for cross training in SMOOTH's office, she made a fulltime transition into the office as an Administrative Assistant in 2017 and quickly mastered the many computer software systems, data retention, and report tasks. Martina's strengths as a licensed Commercial Driver, Administrative Assistant and her positive TEAM attitude played a large part in the decision to promote Martina to SMOOTH Office Manager in December, 2020. Martina's experience and dedication will undoubtedly benefit her and SMOOTH's overall operations for years to come.A devoted mother and grandmother, Martina loves spending all of her spare time with her family.
Bill started his career with SMOOTH in March of 2011.Prior to this Bill was employed with the City of Santa Maria for over thirty four years as a Fire Engineer / Driver Operator. During these years Bill served on numerous committees including Driver Training, Defensive Driving, Driver Accident Review Board, Safety Committee and the Apparatus Committee. Bill brought a vast amount of driver training knowledge and professional driving experience to the SMOOTH organization. Bill was promoted to full time driver in March 2012, to part time Driver Trainer in August 2012 and to the full time Driver Trainer in May 2016.
Bill is responsible for training drivers on their contracted service assignments by monitoring the various routes for safety, efficiency, company procedures and the training of new drivers.
Bill's position is unique in that he routinely interacts with drivers, management, dispatch and maintenance personnel for routine service and or repairs. He also oversees the Quarterly Safety and Health Program along with bus inspections.