SAMPSON COUNTY NAMES ROSEMARIE OATES AS DIRECTOR OF SAMPSON AREA TRANSPORTATION
Sampson County has named Rosemarie Oates as Director of Sampson Area Transportation, effective September 4, 2018. Ms. Oates is currently the Director of Duplin County Public Transportation, where she began her career in public transportation in December 2001. Starting in a secretarial position, Ms. Oates has steadily advanced during her 17-year tenure with Duplin County, was promoted quickly to scheduler/dispatcher after mastering efficient transit scheduling, then to Assistant Director in 2008 with responsibilities in grant application processes, procurement, reporting, and program and operational oversight. She was ultimately promoted to Director in 2015, supervising 4 office staff and 22 transportation specialists/drivers and responsible for all aspects of the department’s operations including budgeting and grant writing, and vehicle maintenance and management.
“Ms. Oates certainly has the knowledge, technical skills and experience to lead this department,” stated County Manager Ed Causey. “But, coupled with her abilities, she has a steady, calm, approachable demeanor that is desirable in a department where many clients have special needs and the logistics of matching those clients with available services and managing fleet and personnel resources can be challenging.” Ms. Oates explains that the challenging work is nevertheless rewarding, “I love what I do; it is a necessary service, and unfortunately many people are not fully aware of just how much some citizens desperately need it.” She tries to instill in her drivers a compassion for those they transport, noting, “I tell them you never know what is going on in their lives, and it is up to us to treat them with respect and compassion.”
Raised in a military family that lived across the United States, Ms. Oates settled in Duplin County when her parents retired to Eastern North Carolina. She has three grown children and five grandchildren.The naming of a new Director is an important step in the continued development of the County’s public transportation services. Sampson Area Transportation is a consolidated transportation system that provides transportation Monday – Friday, primarily in fixed routes, but also on a more limited basis for demand response (client requested) needs. Previously a division of the Department of Aging, Sampson Area Transportation became a stand-alone department as of July 1 of this year, as the department has expanded to include previously-contracted Medicaid Transportation services. It is anticipated that the expansion of routes and resources for Medicaid transportation will ultimately allow the County to improve the access of transportation services in underserved areas and for underserved populations.