Sunday, March 1, 2015 8:59:00 AM
Paul Liddicoat was just out of high school, living at home and looking for work, when his mom, a longtime bus rider, suggested he apply at what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission. Liddicoat hadn’t considered working as an operator – he thought he’d become a baker, a chef or a barber – but the $5 hourly wage was persuasive enough for him to put in an application. The manager Liddicoat spoke with shared his birth date, which was enough of a reason to give him a chance (if, that is, he agreed to trim his beard and get a haircut). Liddicoat began on June 17, 1974, and spent the next four decades behind the wheel. He retired in March 2015 with nearly 41 years of service. “Everyone says it goes by fast and it really does,” Liddicoat said while making his final trip through Minneapolis, joined by colleagues and his wife Jody, whom he met on the bus. At his retirement, Liddicoat, a 33-year safe operator, said the key to his longevity was having thick skin. “You take it one ear and out the other,” he said.
Fleet Service Supervisor
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 10:22:00 AM
LeRoy Robinson had pretty much done it all by the time he retired. Hired in February 1974, Robinson began his career as a cleaner at the old Snelling Garage. Within a month, he was working as a helper at the old Northside Garage. Another six months after that, he transitioned into a mechanic role, first at Northside and then at the Martin J. Ruter Garage. As a mechanic, Robinson worked on air conditioning systems and power trains. Robinson’s final move was to the Overhaul Base, where he rebuilt engine transmissions and swapped engines before taking a management position. As a Fleet Services Supervisor, Robinson spent the final five years of his career supporting mechanics and working to resolve recurring issues with HVAC and electric systems. Whatever role he played, Robinson said he worked hard to make improvements that benefited the company and his co-workers. “I did what I did to the best of my abilities,” he said. While the technology changed dramatically during his tenure, Robinson said he and his fellow mechanics still relied on their instincts to diagnose and address whatever problems presented themselves. Robinson retired on Feb. 4, 2015 – exactly 41 years after his first day on the job. In retirement, Robinson plans to spend more time with his family, including his wife, four sons and two granddaughters. He also plans to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle and relax at his lakefront property in northern Minnesota.
Sunday, February 1, 2015 2:02:00 PM
Ken Dolney didn’t know if driving a bus was his calling. But after working in retail and as an inspector at American Can, he decided to give it a shot. His decision to take a chance led to a 38-year career at Metro Transit. Dolney began working as an operator out of the old Snelling Garage on May 10, 1976, and worked there until it closed in favor of the new East Metro Garage. In 1980, Dolney became a dispatcher and worked closely with his fellow operators to make sure all the daily service needs were covered. “As a driver, your customers are the general public,” Dolney said. “As a dispatcher, your customers are the drivers you see every day.” Dolney said he enjoyed interacting with other drivers, especially when it involved giving Vikings fans a hard time (Dolney is a Green Bay Packers fan and shareholder). Working as an overnight dispatcher also allowed Dolney to spend a few hours each day with his son, Terrance Dolney, who also worked in dispatch at East Metro. Dolney’s wife, oldest son and daughter also worked at Metro Transit as operators. Dolney continued to drive periodically until he retired in February 2015, often on days when drivers were most in need. Driving in difficult conditions led to two memorable outings – one in which it rained so hard customers had to pick up their feet to avoid the water flowing through the bus and another in which the bus broke down, leaving him stranded and alone without heat for several hours. While the job had its challenges, Dolney enjoyed working with and advocating on behalf of the people he worked with. In addition to his job as a dispatcher, Dolney was a 24-year member of the ATU Board of Directors and said he is proud to have made numerous positive changes. In retirement, Dolney plans to spend time in Florida and to continue participating in some of the political- and church-affiliated groups he joined over the years, as well as the St. Croix Valley Corvette Association.
Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:14:00 AM
After finishing an office supply delivery at the old Snelling Garage, Thomas Yost decided to make a quick visit to the personnel department. His wife had spotted a sign on the building that said the company was in need of drivers and, since he already had his commercial driver’s license (CDL), he thought it was worth exploring. “She (the woman at the desk) asked if I had a CDL. When I said yes she just about jumped out of the chair and said, ‘When can you start?’” Yost remembered. “Two weeks later, there I was.” What followed was a 35-year career as a bus operator, as well as countless friendships and stories. At his retirement, Yost said he deeply loved driving, his co-workers at the East Metro Garage and the customers he came to know through the years. “I’ve enjoyed every day that I’ve been here,” Yost said. “I loved this job, the people I worked with and just walking through that door every day.” Yost said he thrived as an operator because he kept his sense of humor even when facing difficult situations. “If you enjoy driving, everything else falls into place,” he said. “That’s what happened for me.” Yost retired in February 2015 with plans to sleep in, spend time with his wife and children and attend more Twins games.
Friday, January 2, 2015 3:33:00 PM
Terry Isensee was going to school at the University of Minnesota when he began working part-time as an operator to help support himself. When the College of Forestry filled up, he decided to turn his part-time job into a full-time career. Isensee spent the next 35 years as a bus operator, driving multiple routes throughout the region. Isensee started at Nicollet Garage, but spent the majority of his career at Heywood Garage where he made many friends. In retirement, he plans to move north and spend more time fishing.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 2:08:00 PM
JoAnn Fetsch began her career at Metro Transit in 1970, working in Payroll at Nicollet Garage. She later moved to Benefits, which were her true passion. When Benefits moved from Finance to Human Resources, she moved departments. Throughout her career, Fetsch made it her business to help each and every employee, active or retired, who called on her for help. She was a straight talker with a heart of gold. Fetsch was also an active participant in her union, encouraging employees to get involved. Fetsch retired in January 2015 after nearly 45 years of service. If it was up to her, she would still be working and helping employees. Unfortunately, Fetsch passed away just a few months after her retirement. She will be remembered for all the dedication and support she gave to employees. Her heart was always true to Metro Transit down to the very end.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 12:49:00 PM
Harlan Daudt had just finished truck driving school when he saw the job ad from the Metropolitan Transit Commission in the newspaper. Realizing he could drive and stay close to home, he applied. Daudt began his career as an operator at the old Northside Garage in 1978. He went on to spend the next 37 years as a bus operator, trainer and Garage Coordinator at the Martin J. Ruter Garage, where he spent the majority of his career. At his retirement, Daudt was remembered for having an influence on many fellow operators. Daudt spent nearly 25 years as a trainer, a role that led him to work with hundreds of young operators at the beginning of their careers. Looking back, Daudt said he liked working as a trainer because it meant he was helping people find meaningful work. “I got a lot of gratification from helping people get a job,” he said. Though Daudt dedicated a lot of time to training, scheduling and working with other departments to improve bus operations, he continued to drive through the end of his career. Daudt retired in January 2015 with plans to spend time woodworking, driving ATVs and traveling.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 10:55:00 AM
Tony Taylor has a motto: Don’t force the puzzle. The philosophy served him well over the course of his 36-year career at Metro Transit. “I would say that 99 percent of it (driving) is attitude,” Taylor said in one of numerous interviews in which he spoke about what it takes to be a successful operator. Taylor’s cool demeanor made him a role model to many of his fellow operators, a favorite among customers and an ideal representative for Metro Transit. Taylor was regularly called on to speak with the media about driving, appeared in employee training videos and became a “go to” operator for special events. His level approach also showed in his performance. Taylor accumulated 27 Outstanding Operator Awards and had 35 years of safe driving at the end of his career. In 2013, Taylor was recognized as the Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year by the Minnesota Public Transportation Association. Taylor retired as a call operator out of Heywood Garage and previously worked at the old Northside Garage, Shingle Creek, now the Martin J. Ruter Garage, old Snelling Garage, now East Metro, and Nicollet. Taylor began his career as an operator on Dec. 4, 1978, after working as a shoe salesman. In addition to being an operator, Tony worked as a relief dispatcher and spent 15 years as an instructor. Taylor retired in January 2015 with plans to travel, spend time with his family, ride his motorcycle and attend to several bucket list items, including a visit to the Westminster Dog Show.
> Star Tribune: Metro Transit bus driver makes final run of his 36-year career
> WCCO: Metro Transit driver retires to surprise after 36 years
Thursday, January 1, 2015 10:53:00 AM
When Dan Stout began working as a cleaner and mechanic at Metro Transit, conditions were difficult. The garages weren’t well heated, the floors were continuously damp, the ventilation was poor and the equipment wasn’t always up to the job. He liked it anyways. “The environment was tough but I thoroughly loved it to tell you the truth,” Stout said. Stout loved the job so much he ended up staying at Metro Transit for more than 38 years. During his nearly four-decade tenure, Stout worked at every garage and the Overhaul Base in St. Paul. After starting as a cleaner, he became a mechanic and spent time changing motors, swapping engines and re-building transmissions. At the end of his career, he worked as a maintenance electrician. Stout also spent five years as a part-time bus operator, which he said gave him a new level of appreciation for the organization. “It was a real eye-opener to go through that,” Stout said. Stout retired in January 2015 with plans to travel the United States in his RV and spend more time fishing and hiking.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 9:59:00 AM
Michael Meyer wore a lot of different hats during his time at Metro Transit. In 1976, at just 22-years-old, he started as a cleaner at the old Northside Garage. The early part of his career also included periods as a helper, brake shop mechanic and welder. The majority of his career, though, was spent working at the Metro Transit’s body shop. At the body shop, Meyer worked on wheelchair lifts, cut air vents into the roofs of un-air conditioned buses and assisted with a variety of other projects. Toward the end of his career, Meyer specialized in trim. The job involved putting decals and other finishing touches on buses and fleet vehicles. Meyer said he took a lot of pride in his work and enjoyed seeing the vehicles he worked on come together. “It was rewarding to see the finished product, to see everything go back on the bus and make it look nice,” Meyer said. Meyer joined Metro Transit at the urging of his father, Walter Meyer, who spent 37 years with the company as a mechanic and foreman. Meyer said he remained dedicated to transit because he enjoyed the people he worked with. Meyer retired in January 2015 with 38 years of service. In retirement, he plans to spend time with his family, including his wife Ann, daughter and two grandsons. His other hobbies include boating, motorcycles and classic cars.