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Posts in Category: Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Joseph Sturdevant  

Posted by John Komarek | Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:16:00 PM

After 20 years serving as a police officer, Joseph Sturdevant left the force and began to make a difference in his community at Metro Transit.

Ever since, his riders are thankful he made the switch. He is among Metro Transit's most-complimented operators.

To Sturdevant, the transition from police work to bus operations was easier than he imagined. Riders have noticed it the way he approaches his work, too. Passion, gratitude and respect are among Sturdevant's hallmark attributes. 

“Both jobs require patience and awareness of the people you’re serving,” Sturdevant said. I always remember that a rider’s problem is usually not about me, but another situation they’re experiencing.”

Sturdevant said he learned long ago that life is about relationships with people. He credits his praise to simple things like saying hello. Sturdevant said he didn’t think twice about such gestures, but that he now sees how they can make a rider’s day.  

One rider told him, “You drive well” then got off the bus. He didn’t think twice about that conversation until he later received a glowing review from that rider who compared his bus ride to the comfort of sitting on his couch at home.

As he continued to read his reviews during this interview, he needed to take a moment to let them sink in.

“I’m really glad I got the time to read these,” Sturdevant said. “They really make me feel good.”

He takes his role as a bus operator seriously because of the big responsibility it requires. A bus operator is often the first and last person a rider sees during the day.

“If you’re behind schedule or not in a good mood, your actions can have a compounding impact on someone’s day,” Sturdevant said. “I’m responsible for every single rider on my bus, and they’re depending on me.”

Currently, Sturdevant works a part-time split-shift, beginning at 4 a.m. He plans to grow into other positions with transit and has no plans to leave because he loves its democratizing affect.

“Whether you’re low- or high-income, feel powerful or powerless, everyone who rides the bus is treated the same: with respect and courtesy,” Sturdevant said.

Operator at a Glance

Hired: November 2001
Routes: 19, 721,781, 782
Garage: Martin J. Ruter
Lives: Fridley
Family: Wife and a daughter and a son – they’re twins!
Best Advice: “Be patient and aware – a rider’s problem is usually not about you, but a situation they’re experiencing.”

Help make an operator's day with a commendation

Submit a commendation for good work on our website or on Facebook or Twitter. If you don't know your operator's name yet, check for their operator number on their shoulder. It helps us get the good news to the right person.

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Shamara Baggett 

Posted by John Komarek | Sunday, December 09, 2018 1:37:00 PM

After years of exhaustion working two jobs to make ends meet, Shamara Baggett decided to upgrade her career to achieve a work/life balance as a Metro Transit bus operator.

Whether she put on the uniform of a nursing assistant, private care provider or school bus driver, her weeks would consist of working eight hours overnight, then followed by six during the day.

“I made it to work, but I was exhausted,” Baggett said. “It got to the point that my life was work, and I couldn’t remember the last time I slept well.”

It was in one of those tired moments she remembered Metro Transit and the good pay and benefits they offer.

“It’s something a lot of young people just don’t think about,” Baggett said. “Being able to work one job and go to the doctor are very important, especially as you get older.”

She started the application process, but quickly found out that even with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and school bus experience, becoming an operator can be difficult. “It was a lot harder than I expected, but I was determined to get this job,” she said.

It took three tries to earn her uniform, but she was bound and determined to get the job -- and the set hours, good benefits and pension that came with it. Becoming an operator allowed Baggett to to purchase her first home.

Baggett's persistence served as an inspiration for a customer who similarly aspired to land a job as an operator. While driving Route 4, a regular rider named Willie Moses shared his story about failing the operator test and said he was going to give up.

“I told him I failed it three times before passing, but I learned from it, and I’m here now,” Baggett said. “I told him to go back, that he can pass it!”

Years went by and she started to wonder what happened to Moses. By a stroke of fate, as she was walking down the hall in South Garage, she stopped and did a double-take. She was standing across from Moses and they were both wearing Metro Transit uniforms.

“A big smile immediately came to my face,” Baggett said. “He made it!”

They still see each other often on the job and are happy talk about the conversations they’d have when she drove him home each night on the Four.

However, she likes their new job-related arrangement better. “I’m glad he’s driving someone else now. Maybe he can inspire another person to keep trying, too!”

Operator at a Glance

Name: Shamara Baggett
Hired: May 2013
Routes: 14, 113, 134 and a Relief Garage Instructor
Garage: South
Lives: North Minneapolis

Family: A 4-year-old daughter; expecting a second child in 2019

Hobbies: My daughter is my life and it’s great! Whenever I’m not at work I spend time with her. We love going to the park or the Children’s Museum.

Best Advice: “Persistence pays off” and “Don’t hold on to things – let them go.”

Learn more about becoming a bus operator at Metro Transit

 

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Duane Moore 

Posted by John Komarek | Saturday, November 10, 2018 1:51:00 PM

Duane Moore #9045 drives four and six wheels for work, but he rides two wheels everywhere else.Twenty-eight years ago, Duane Moore decided he wanted to upgrade his career.

As a young man working at a local grocery store, he had had enough of working long hours on his feet all day.

He came across an advertisement for drivers at Metro Transit and chose to apply. Today, he’s a Garage Instructor, but like some other applicants, he didn’t pass the course the first time around.

“A lot of people don’t understand that it’s not easy to get this job,” Moore said. “The process is important. It’s how we make sure there’s qualified operators on the road.”

He took not passing the first round in stride and came back ready to prove he was qualified. It’s one of many lessons he can teach the next generation of operators as they take their first routes.

“When I started, the buses didn’t even have power steering,” Moore said. “Even then, I enjoyed being the captain on board a big bus.”

He’s had plenty of experience and new operators will notice his arm replete with 25-plus years of service awards.

“Every five years, you gain a lot from experience on the road,” Moore said. “Some things you learn in a classroom, others from your co-workers, and others from experience.”

In the classroom, he tailors his lessons to help meet the needs of each operator. He finds they all have different strengths and different questions.

After 28 years of service and counting, Moore still finds himself thinking, “This job is worth it.”

Operator at a Glance: Duane Moore

  • Hired: 1990
  • Routes: Serves various routes as an extraboard operator
  • Garage: Heywood
  • Family: Wife and three children. The kids have moved out, but if you ask him, his German Shepard named “King” is now his stay-at-home kid.
  • Lives: Minneapolis

Hobbies: Motorcycling, boating, traveling and being with family.

Accomplishment: 25 year (and counting) safe operator

Memorable trip: 1,200 miles roundtrip on his Indian motorcycle to the National Biker Roundup in Springfield, Ill., to celebrate with 90,000 other riders.

Best Advice: No matter what happens, remember to take it slow and take it easy.

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Julie Trosen  

Posted by John Komarek | Monday, October 08, 2018 2:05:00 PM

For twelve years, Julie Trosen drove school buses, but then she upgraded her career at Metro Transit. And, if you ask her, she’s never looking back. She found the pay and the benefits second-to-none.

“I plan to be here until I retire,” Trosen said. “Even on the toughest days, I love my job.”

Which is good news for Metro Transit and its riders. In under a year, she not only went from part-time to full-time employment, but she’s received multiple commendations on multiple different routes for her positive interaction with riders, who compliment her on her communication.

“When a rider boards with a negative mood, it can change the energy on the bus. I aim to keep my bus positive by greeting people the minute they step on,” Trosen said. “The little things like saying hello and asking how people are doing go a long way.”

This is important to Trosen who gets her energy from people. After six years of working with children on special education buses, which can include kids with behavioral problems, she’s learned a thing or two about keeping a situation positive.

“You just have to listen. Not just hear but listen to what your rider is telling you.” Trosen said. “There’s a lot of negativity in the world, so it’s just about how you respond to it.”

She specifically recalls a situation where what she did helped create a positive mood onboard. Recently, she noticed a rider carrying a cake. Trosen asked her what it was for, and she responded that she was throwing a birthday party for herself because her kids forgot it. Trosen immediately said “Happy Birthday, I hope you have a great one.”  Every rider who walked by her followed suit and wished her a happy birthday.

“I wish I could have done more,” Trosen said. “But, just wishing her a happy birthday and having the rest of the bus respond must have made her day.”

After being at the wheel just under a year, the praise keeps coming in about Trosen. But, she wants to keep the focus on more than just herself.

“I’m not the only great bus driver out there!”

Operator at a Glance: Julie Trosen

Hired: January 2017
Routes: 5, 14, 61, 643, 663. If you ask her, she loves every Route she drives.
Garage: Heywood
Family: Husband and a seven-year-old boy. "My husband is my rock."
Lives: Blaine

Hobbies: Reading and watching crime novels and TV shows. NCIS is her favorite show. She loves reading Lee Childs and Nora Roberts.

Accomplishment: Julie has received commendations and compliments for her communication with passengers on express Route 672, local Route 19, and State Fair routes.

Best Advice: Say “hi,” “bye,” and “have a good night” no matter who they are or how you’re feeling that day. And, always remember to take things in stride.

Learn more about becoming a bus operator at Metro Transit

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Kossivi Loko 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, September 11, 2018 9:37:00 AM

Kossivi Loko is no stranger to patience, dedication, and community.

As an immigrant from the West African nation of Togo, it took a decade’s worth of patience, dedication, and a desire for community to successfully become a citizen of the United States, unite his family, and secure a job.

“I came here to find opportunity and to build a better life,” Loko said. “I was lucky. I won the immigration lottery.”

Even when he was accepted, however, he couldn’t bring his entire family. His eldest daughter would have to stay in Togo for years until she could be accepted into the country. Today, she is the first of his family to attend college.

“I am so very proud of her.” Loko said. “Her graduation is one of three days I’ve taken off in six years of working here.”

Loko chose Minnesota because a friend already lived here. As they both grew up in a tropical climate, his friend warned him about winter, but Loko looked forward to the change.

“I remember my first snow. It was so white. I was excited to shovel it.” Loko said. “Today, I still love snow, but I’d rather use a snowblower.”

He arrived in Minnesota on a green card in 2003. He initially found work as a truck driver. Eventually, he earned his citizenship in 2010.  Two years later, a call went out for bus operators. In 2012, he put on his first Metro Transit uniform.

After years of driving trucks, the major change was the addition of passengers.

“I like to serve people, and in this job, people need you,” Loko said. “In my interview, I said exactly that: I wanted a job that would serve people and help me to become part of my community.”

Transit is a community, and like all communities, they require relationships, like the one between operators and riders.

“You have no idea what people have been through that day when they get on your bus.” Loko said. “I try to treat everyone nice. And when I’m not having a good day, I remember to take a breath and count.”

At his home base at the Martin J. Ruter garage, he’s found another community: his fellow operators.

“We support each other, and we help each other out.” Loko said. “People care about you. We do our part to make Metro Transit great.”

Loko looks forward to continuing his career at Metro Transit and to growing into new positions.

Operator at a Glance

Hired: Dec. 31, 2012

Routes: 5, 14, 22, and 722

Garage: Martin J. Ruter

Hobbies: Working out, bicycling, traveling

Country of Origin: Togo (West Africa)

Family: Wife and four children, two girls and two boys.

Lives: Brooklyn Park

Memorable Trip: Mount Rushmore with his wife and kids. Was in awe of the craftsmanship of carved faces in the mountainside.

Fun Fact: Although he’s from a tropical African nation, he loves snow and the cold.

Best Advice: Be kind to people. You don’t know what they’re going through or where they just came from.

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