2022 40 Under 40: Jenapher L. Dues

Aug. 23, 2022
Jenapher L. Dues, Manager of Human Resources, C-TRAN

One word to describe yourself: Optimistic   

Alma Mater: Marylhurst University   

Fun fact about yourself: I have two boys 14 years apart. Gavin, who is 18 and Lynkin, who is four.   

Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): My favorite route is C-TRAN’s #30 on Burton Road. This route gave me a glimpse of independence when I was growing up because I would walk to the top of the street of 103rd and Burton and catch my bus to the mall.   

Jenapher L. Dues joined C-TRAN as a staffing generalist and was then promoted to recruitment and compensation specialist. She is currently the human resources manager and has been integral to the selection and retention of the organization’s employees since 2014. Since joining, Dues’ colleagues say few reflect the words of C-TRAN CEO Shawn Donaghy more solidly than her: “C-TRAN’s world-class employees are the reason for our success.” 

Dues is known throughout C-TRAN—and among partners and stakeholders—for her passion and compassion: passion for public transit and what it represents to the community and compassion for applicants and employees. Unsurprisingly, Dues spent the majority of 2020 and 2021 tirelessly navigating myriad of COVID-19 issues for the entire agency. She managed the vastly increased numbers of unemployment claims, which were complicated by the $650 million spike in fraud cases that Washington state experienced at the height of the pandemic. She helped the team manage the multitude of absences related to COVID-19 exposures or illness. But she never lost her desire to help, routinely checking on colleagues who were ill or awaiting test results, regularly working evenings and weekends to provide support for C-TRAN staff. She also led the directive to get more than 250 of C-TRAN employees – well over half the workforce – vaccinated as soon as the state allowed.      

Dues is credited with keeping C-TRAN's service levels intact thanks to her innovative and relentless efforts. She met with management at all levels to hear their thoughts and concerns about recruiting and retaining employees, especially operators. After much research and re-evaluation of processes, she crafted a multimedia program that featured several C-TRAN employees across the organization, showcasing the positive culture by allowing employees to speak unscripted in a genuine, impactful way. The results were almost immediate. Applications started increasing soon after the ads started airing locally. The attrition from the training program has dropped from approximately 30 percent to less than five percent, creating significant savings related to the hiring and training costs.     

Her diligence and far-reaching efforts have helped make C-TRAN an example to other employers in the local area and the industry. In Clark County, Wash., minorities make up 22.5 percent of the overall population while women make up 50.6 percent. Today, two-thirds of C-TRAN’s executive leadership team are women; the minority workforce has grown to 30 percent; and the overall female workforce holds steady.     

Outside of C-TRAN, Dues is active in the Washington State Transit Association. She is a regular contributor to a web-based job description repository used by transit agencies across the state and routinely shares general information and best practices. She also participates in responding to American Bus Benchmarking Group requests for information and data analysis. 

Colleagues say Dues offers “exemplary support and service to all divisions within the agency,” and that her “consistent compassion for all segments of the work force, her tireless work ethic and her grace under pressure make her an incomparable co-worker.” 

What do you enjoy most about your job?   

I enjoy working with people who believe in the mission of what transit does for the community. I was born and raised in Vancouver, Wash., and it’s an honor to serve the community I grew up in. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to offer employment to people in the community.    

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?   

I am most proud of being able to obtain my degree while working a part-time job, a full-time job and having a family.    

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?   

Be fair and be kind. Always be open to receiving feedback.   

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