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Race Cars and Buses, Best of Both Worlds

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Staff profile of Jolynn Franke, planner I

May was a milestone month for Jolynn Franke. She celebrated her birthday, a four year anniversary with Cherriots, and a promotion.

She is now the new Planner I in the Transportation Development Division. To this role, she brings both private and public sector experience as well as four years as the administrative assistant to the Transportation Development Division.

Jolynn came to Cherriots in May 2015 from the state’s Cover Oregon initiative.

“I was really picky about my next employer,” she said. She wanted to
find the right team, a second family, and a culture that had a positive impact on the community.

Encouraged by a retired Cherriots operator, she applied for the administrative position. “I knew I would be making a difference in people’s lives.”

Jolynn has been a recurrent and active participant in outreach events for the District. “I appreciate the direct involvement with riders,” she said. “With the outreach events and through surveys I admire the aspect of gathering feedback from people that could potentially be put into action.”

Widely known at Cherriots as a professional who is a reliable and efficient quick study, she is less known for the passion that has been the centerpiece of her personal life for more than two decades: auto racing.

She grew up in what she describes as a car culture. Her father had a passion for cars and there was always an American classic in the driveway or garage – Chevelles, a 1941 Chevy pickup, ’62 Corvette, and a ’66 Corvair, among others.

Her childhood was a series of car shows, including a memorable one in Reno, Nevada, when she was in her young teens. “It was called Hot August Nights,” she said. “I remember vividly to this day -- that was the tipping point for me and car culture.”

While she started with drag racing, she later found passion for another motorsport category – autocross, which places demand on car handling and driver skill over engine power and speed.

“I discovered I like to turn corners,” she said. While modest on the subject of how good she is on the road course, other actions speak for her: she is a certified motorsport instructor and is passing along her well-honed skills to help others.

Whether personally or professionally, Jolynn said that people in these helping and supporting roles assure the success of other people, teams, and organizations.

For her, promoting from Administrative Assistant to the Planner I has been an easy transition.

“It’s a supporting role, but with a deeper dive,” she said. “I appreciate that from the data collection and analysis reporting, we can develop an actual, executable plan. It’s a good fit for me.”

Her new supervisor agrees. “In planning, we have a good team dynamic,” said Chris French, senior planner. “But with Jolynn, it’s even better.”

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