It’s been an impressive run for Transportation Services (TAPS) Director, Cliff Contreras, who after 33 years working with UC Davis--2 years with UC Davis Medical Center and 31 years on the main campus--retired in June.
Under Finance, Operations and Administration, TAPS is mostly known for facilitating the sale of parking permits and enforcement, but also oversees the goClub, the Bicycle Program, Construction and rental of Heavy Equipment, the Sign Shop, the University Airport, and programs to assist motorists when they are having troubles with their vehicles. TAPS manages parking for all major planned events, such as sporting and Commencement, as well as unplanned events, such as this past January’s memorial for fallen Davis Police Department Officer, Natalie Corona. Contreras orchestrates it all with the help of over 30 full time staff and roughly 75 student employees, and notes that, “…when called upon, [TAPS] can quickly assemble and meet our community’s parking and transportation needs.”
In his tenure, having held three titles; Manager of Transportation and Parking Services, Associate Director of Transportation and Parking Services, and his longest and most recent, Director of Transportation Services, Contreras reflects on his time with UC Davis. “I’ve enjoyed most the people at TAPS, both staff and students, who I consider my family away from home. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of talented people, some of whom have developed and transitioned into larger roles within the department.” TAPS is one of the largest employers of students on campus, with positions in event parking and the bicycle program. He emphasizes that the, “…student employees have also been a large part of our operations and the energy and perspectives they bring to the workplace is something I look forward to each year.”
Behind the scenes, or perhaps hiding in plain sight, are all the physical improvements to the parking and transportation infrastructure (roads, bicycle paths, sidewalks). TAPS is a self-funded entity on campus and must pay for these types of construction jobs, and as Contreras puts it, above all else must, “…regularly provide services that help keep our staff, faculty, students, and guests getting where they need to go.” On a campus that spans 5,300 acres, with 22 miles of bicycle paths, there’s always a job to be done in order to help keep the Aggie Community and campus visitors moving forward.
Michelle McArdle, who has worked closely with Contreras as Operations Manager, noted his, “…commanding presence,” and says, “…those who really knew him got to see the other side—a kind and compassionate person. He always reminded us to ‘work smarter, not harder’ and really promoted customer service.”
Just fresh into retirement, the now former Director of Transportation Services says, “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and visiting my son, who is a Lieutenant in the Air Force living in Colorado Springs. My wife has also recently retired and we’re planning on spending some time together in Spain, seeing the countryside and exploring her family roots.”
As of this posting, an interim director has not been named, to which Contreras offers, “Even though I’m retiring, I’ll remain available to help Transportation Services through this transition in leadership.”