Since its start in 1974, SMOOTH's leadership has been shared by just three previous Executive Directors, Nancy Poultney (70's-80's), Betty Fisher (80's-1998), and Harry Watson (1998-2006). 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".
Jim Talbott, Executive Director
Jim started working for SMOOTH in 2000 to manage the newly created social service division, the SMOOTH Consolidated Transportation Service Agency (CTSA). Since then, Jim has guided the growth of SMOOTH and the CTSA from just two service contracts, a fleet of four vans, and two daily routes, to an organization with a multi-million dollar annual budget utilizing a fleet of 40 state-of-the-art buses and passenger vans.
Talbott was promoted to Executive Director in 2005 to succeed retiring Director Harry Watson.Highlighting Jim’s efforts since then have included the 2008 construction of SMOOTH’s new office and maintenance facility in Santa Maria, securing the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program in 2012, and the purchase of the vacant lot next door to the office facility for anticipated future growth.
Jim was born in Puunene, Maui and raised in Hilo, Hawaii.He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in 1975.Calling the Central Coast home since 1991, Jim resides in Orcutt with wife Cheryl where they happily attempt to keep pace with their two children, Maile (Kevin) and Hazen (Tiffani), and THREE grandchildren.
In addition to his many community service associations, Jim is an active member of THE Rotary Club of Santa Maria.
Fil started at SMOOTH in 2005. A career business manager with experience in retail operations and sales as well as many years in transportation, he was brought into the organization for the purpose of managing daily operations. From the Central Valley, Fil has also lived and worked in Washington State. He oversees the organization through follow-up of the Administrative Staff, the Route Specialist, Dispatchers, and Drivers. Fil also manages and assures the required compliance of SMOOTH's DOT Drug and Alcohol Program. Fil is responsible for the productivity of the company, performance compliance, fleet maintenance, client services, contract services, facilities maintenance, regulatory compliance, and customer service and interaction.
Deanna started with SMOOTH in 2008 as a driver and eventually worked every possible SMOOTH service segment. With many year's background and experience in office administration, Deanna was promoted to the position of Office Manager in 2012 and to the position of Operations Manager in September 2016. She is responsible for Human Resource and Office Administration as well as Dispatch Management. Deanna has over 21 years of Office and Clerical experience.
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.
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.
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.