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Posts in Category: On Off The Clock

On Off The Clock

On the Clock/Off the Clock: Mechanic Technician Dan Aasen 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, May 09, 2019 1:45:00 PM

On the Clock/Off the Clock features provide an introduction to the people who spend their days working at Metro Transit and their free time involved in a variety of interesting hobbies. Read more On the Clock/Off the Clock features here

Lives: Rock Creek, Minn.

Job: Mechanic Technician, Heywood Garage

Years of Service: 25

Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Coon Rapids and attended North Hennepin Technical College to become a diesel mechanic. I worked for Medicine Lake Lines as a driver and mechanic for ten years. While I grew up in the north suburbs, I’ve always been a farm boy at heart. Since 1996, my wife, son and I have lived in Rock Creek, Minn. It’s a long commute (approximately an hour) but worth it to have a chunk of farmland.

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

Twenty-five years ago, a friend of mine mentioned a job opening for a skilled helper at Heywood Garage. I got that job and, six months later, moved into a mechanic position. You’ve been able to find me at Heywood Garage doing general repairs and maintenance on the hoist ever since. 

What is your favorite part about working for Metro Transit?

I work with great people who are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and cross training so we’re able to keep our buses ready for the street. And as a mechanic there’s no shortage of projects that make work more challenging and interesting. From diesel to hybrid, and now to electric, technology is always changing. Today, most of my days are spent on the electric bus team. It’s a welcome challenge to be a part of the team ensuring the electric bus fleet is prepared for the opening of the METRO C Line.

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or are “Off the Clock”

I’m a mechanic on and off the clock. Except off the clock I work on vintage tractors, like my 1929 McCormick Deering tractor or 1951 Farmall. I find understanding these old machines interesting and so do a lot of other people. We get together at old time tractor and thresher shows in Almelund, Rock Creek and other places throughout Minnesota. It’s a great community of people who not only share their love of tractors but the stories around the machines. My son shares a love of vintage tractors, too. Between the two of us, we have eleven vintage tractors!  

On Off The Clock

On the Clock/Off the Clock: TCC Supervisor Meredith Tvrdik 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, April 16, 2019 2:29:00 PM

On the Clock/Off the Clock features provide an introduction to the people who spend their days working at Metro Transit and their free time involved in a variety of interesting hobbies. Read more On the Clock/Off the Clock features here

Lives: Big Lake

Job: Transit Control Center Supervisor

Years of Service: 15

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

I began as a travel booth agent and trainer at the Transit Information Center (TIC). Six short years later, I was promoted to work in the Transit Control Center (TCC). At the TCC I help bus operators with any problems they experience. On any given day, I could be dispatching police, sending a technician for repairs, calling the shop if the bus breaks down or making sure trips are filled so we deliver trips on time to our riders. 

Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in California but I grew up in the Iron Range. After graduating high school, I moved to the Twin Cities to pursue a degree in animation. That’s when I met my husband and started a family. I’m a proud parent of a 12-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.

What is your favorite part about working for Metro Transit?

The people I work with. They make me laugh every day, even though the work can be challenging at times. Every day is different, so this job never gets old. 

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or are “Off the Clock”?

I enjoy spending time with my family when we go camping and traveling, but I also enjoy "me-time" when I go for a run. While running is still new to me – I started running a little over 2 years ago – I recently completed the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon.

I ran to commemorate my father who died from a heart aneurysm when he was 37 years old, the age I am now. As a kid in California, I fondly remember going to Dodgers baseball games with my dad. It was meaningful to me that this marathon starts at Dodger stadium, a place we shared so many memories. 

This commemoration was even more special when another TCC supervisor, Belinda Hanson, surprised me the morning of the race. I knew she was coming to be a spectator but she surprised me with the news that she planned to run by my side and encourage me the whole 26.2 miles! Like I said, the people I work with are one of the many reasons I love my job! 

Want to share your story or suggest a co-worker for an On the Clock/Off the Clock profile? E-mail insights@metrotransit.org​​

On Off The Clock

On the Clock/Off the Clock: Senior Planner Adam Smith 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Metro Transit Senior Planner Adam Smith at the Heywood Office Building in Minneapolis.

On the Clock/Off the Clock features provide an introduction to the people who spend their days working at Metro Transit and their free time involved in a variety of interesting hobbies. Read more On the Clock/Off the Clock features here

Senior Planner Adam Smith lives in south Minneapolis. He began working at Metro Transit in late 2018. 

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do? 

After seven years as a planning consultant in California and the Twin Cities, I wanted to spend more time working on transit projects. I’d been a big fan of Metro Transit’s vision for Bus Rapid Transit and applied when I saw an opening to serve as a senior planner. 

I’m now serving as the planning lead for the B Line, a BRT line that will operate on Lake Street in Minneapolis and Marshall Avenue in St. Paul. I coordinate efforts within Metro Transit, work with other agencies and the public to move the project toward successful implementation.

Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.  

I’m originally from Kenosha, Wis. I moved to Minnesota to attend Carleton College in 2003, which gave me a chance to get to know the Twin Cities and make friends here. I always thought of it as a place where I might end up long-term. 

After receiving a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin, I spent four years working on environmental and water infrastructure issues as a planner in Sacramento, Calif., before I got tired of all the warm, sunny weather and relocated to the Twin Cities in 2015. Since then, I’ve been working primarily on transportation projects, though I’ve always been especially passionate about transit. 

What’s your favorite part about working for Metro Transit? 

Every day we strive to improve the quality of life for people in our region. That could mean figuring out how to reduce delays and shorten travel times or providing amenities that will attract new riders and make for a more positive transit experience. I really value the fact that what we do makes a difference in our communities. I also need to mention the incredible dedication and commitment of my co-workers throughout Metro Transit. It’s easy to come into work every day when you have such welcoming co-workers who really care about their work.

What are your favorite activities when you’re working or “On the Clock”?  

I love being able to sort through data, extract the most important information and communicate that information to a broader audience. In some cases, the main “takeaways” from our analyses are simple and maybe even obvious to many of our customers. However, when we have data that confirms what we, as transit riders, are experiencing, it helps reinforce many of the improvements that we’re trying to make.

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or “Off the Clock”?  

Since moving back to Minnesota, my partner and I have been immersed in Minnesota soccer culture. We’re season ticket holders for Minnesota United, and we’re members of the Dark Clouds, one of the club’s supporter groups (i.e. the people who stand through the whole game, often yelling, chanting, waving flags, or singing out of tune). It’s been a great way to meet people in the area and we are particularly involved with the volunteering and community service arm of the Dark Clouds, which is, of course, called Silver Lining. We’re looking forward to riding Route 21 and the A Line to watch games at Allianz Field this season. 

Learn more about taking Metro Transit to Allianz Field

 

On Off The Clock

On/Off the Clock with Alec Robbins 

Posted by John Komarek | Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:48:00 AM

Lives: Becker 
Job: Mechanic, Commuter Rail
Years of Service: 2

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

After working as an auto mechanic for a few years, a friend who works at the Northstar Operations & Maintenance Facility in Big Lake referred me to an open commuter rail mechanic position. I started in late 2016 and work on third shift.

Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.

I've lived in Becker most of my life, graduating from Becker High School in 2010 and continuing my education at St. Cloud Technical College where I earned my degree as an automotive technician. I worked at various repair shops and dealerships up until I started at Metro Transit.

What is your favorite part about working for Metro Transit?

It’s a job with great benefits and, better yet, I get to work with a great group of people.

What are your favorite activities when you’re working or “On the Clock”?

I was a car person, but now I think it’s safe to say I enjoy trains! I enjoy my duties, which include completing daily inspections of each train and preparing them for the next day. As a mechanic, I really enjoy getting my hands dirty and fixing and maintaining the vehicles. It’s always fun being able to operate locomotives around the yard!

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or “Off the Clock”?

I’m still a gear head so in my spare time I fabricate and modify vehicles and build race cars. I especially enjoy racing in Formula Drift competitions. Drifting is sort of an unconventional type of motorsport. Two cars race on a winding course but rather than winning by being the first to the finish, it is judged on car control and your ability to navigate the course while sliding sideways at high speeds. We get to travel around the country and compete with some of the best drivers in the world. It’s a ton of fun and a huge challenge!

On Off The Clock

On/Off the Clock with Elaine Warren 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, February 01, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Job: Principal Administrative Specialist, Transit Police

Years of Service: 5

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

After 30 years as a store alterations manager for bridal, couture and men’s and women’s clothing, the company I worked for was sold. I thought it was an opportunity to do something different. I was informed of a temporary administrative position at the Metro Transit Police Department.

My father and spouse were in corrections, so I had a little knowledge of what this could be. I kind of went out on a wing and a prayer hoping it would transition into something permanent, and here   am five years later, Principal Administrative Specialist at West Command (Minneapolis).

What is your favorite part about working for Metro Transit?

I’m most likely your first point of contact when you come to West Command. I like the diversity of my job responsibilities here, dealing with people from many aspects of life or business in and outside of Metro Transit. I especially like the camaraderie of the police family. This is an awesome group of folks who have great care and concern for each other. That makes it a pleasure to work here. 

What are your favorite activities when you’re not working or are “Off the Clock”?

I like to volunteer with Transit Police and at other events where I can be creative. For the last four years, I’ve worked with a few other seamstresses to alter garments for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival royalty. We spent the weekend in a hotel room with our sewing machines, working around the clock to get them ready. (Above, Warren makes alterations to a dress worn by Alison Gunter, the 2019 Saint Paul Winter Carnival's Queen of the Snows.)

I also volunteer with Operation Glass Slipper, which provides prom gowns and accessories at no charge to high school girls throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin who would be unable to afford them. At the organization’s annual Princess Event in mid-March, more than 1,000 girls are outfitted for prom with the help of hundreds of volunteer Fairy Godmothers like me who make alterations. I also enjoy Latin dancing and family time. I have two sets of twin grandchildren!

Ride free to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival continues through Sunday, Feb. 3, with events at Kellogg Mall Park, Union Depot and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. With a downloadable pass, visitors can ride Metro Transit for free from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Learn more and download a free ride pass

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