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Dave Zapata 

Skilled Helper
| Monday, April 02, 2012 11:16:00 AM

Dave said goodbye to Metro Transit on April 2, 2012, after 32 years of service. A skilled helper, Dave was known for his attention to detail and for taking pride in his work. He spent most of his career at Nicollet Garage. He was a member of Nicollet Club, an employee organization at his garage, and often cooked meals at events that the Nicollet Maintenance department sponsored. Dave also was a representative for ATU #1005 during his career.


Thomas Wannarka, #476 

| Sunday, April 01, 2012 11:08:00 AM

Thomas Wannarka spent six months working at the Bloomington Bus Company before it was bought out by the Metropolitan Transit Commission in 1974. After moving to MTC, Wannarka worked at the old Northside Garage and Heywood Garage driving a variety of routes. For the last five years of his career, Wannarka worked at Nicollet Garage. As a driver, Wannarka was not shy about speaking with customers and said he enjoyed meeting new people. Wannarka even met his wife on the bus. Wannarka retired in April 2012 with 38 years of service. In retirement, he enjoys exercising, spending time with his family and traveling.


Ron Keuseman, #1112 

Bus Operator
| Friday, February 24, 2012 3:50:00 PM

A 36-year Safe Operator, "Big Ron" particularly enjoyed driving express service to the State Fair every year. He was also known for assisting other operators as they learned new routes. Ron worked most of his career at the Fred T. Heywood Garage in Minneapolis and at Martin J. Ruter Garage in Brooklyn Center, from which he retired on Feb. 24, 2012.


Bruce Bakke, #1201 

Transit Supervisor
| Friday, February 10, 2012 2:36:00 PM

Bruce Bakke

Bruce began work as a bus driver in October of 1980. He was also a phone representative in the Transit Information Center. He became a supervisor in the Transit Control Center, where he kept radio contact with bus drivers on their routes and he completed his career as a Transit Supervisor in the street operations department, monitoring day-to-day conditions, detouring routes when necessary and supervising drivers. Bruce was most known for his work with the City of Maple Grove. For the last years of his career, Bruce worked closely with Maple Grove and supervised the service Metro Transit provides for the city by contract. He retired on Feb. 10, 2011, with 32 years of service.


Tom Kotila, #2632 

Rail Operator
| Wednesday, January 25, 2012 3:52:00 PM

Tom began driving bus at Snelling Garage in August 1973. He worked at Shingle Creek Garage, was at Northside Garage when it closed and at Heywood Garage when it opened. Tom finished 30 years of bus driving at Ruter Garage, but his transit career wasn't finished. He moved to Rail Operations as one of the first operators on the Hiawatha light-rail system, and left his mark in helping with the start-up of light rail. Tom, known as Tom4 on the railroad, safety-tested the first four light-rail vehicles, putting them through technical tests and ensuring they met operational standards prior to carrying customers. He also was among the first class of operators to become instructors to future operators. Tom retired Jan. 25, 2012, with 38 years of service.


Diane Hehr, #1068 

Bus Operator
| Wednesday, January 04, 2012 2:32:00 PM

Diane Hehr

Diane retired Jan. 4, 2012, from Heywood Garage. She had 32 years of service.


Bernadine Woodards, #545 

Bus Operator
| Wednesday, January 04, 2012 11:11:00 AM

Bernadine retired Jan. 4, 2012, with 35 years of service. She was a bus driver at Nicollet Garage. She spent her entire transit career at that location, except for a brief time when the garage was closed for renovation. Bernie looks forward to retirement to spend time with her two children and grandchildren and to enjoy her love of gardening and travel.


David Jungwirth, #2840 

Bus Operator
| Monday, January 02, 2012 3:48:00 PM

David retired Jan. 2, 2012, from East Metro Garage. He had 36 years of service.


Kenneth Zimanski, #2741 

Bus Operator
| Friday, September 23, 2011 11:17:00 AM

Ken was born in London, England, and served in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He began his transit career in January 1972, driving Route 4. The first bus he drove, a GMC "Jimmy" #1399, currently resides at the Minnesota Transportation Museum. He drove out of Northside for nearly three years then transferred to Snelling Garage, then finally to East Metro Garage when Snelling was closed. He retired after driving in St. Paul for 37 years. Within his 39 years of service, he posted 33 years and 8 months of safe driving. Ken retired Sept. 23, 2011, and plans to travel to England with his family to visit relatives. 


John Frederick, #879 

Bus Operator
| Friday, September 09, 2011 2:13:00 PM

John Frederick

John retired from South Garage on Sept. 9, 2011, with more than 32 years of service. He was among the first group of drivers to begin work from the then brand-new South Garage upon its opening in 1980. During his career, John received Metro Transit's Safe Operator Award 28 times. He received the Outstanding Operator Award 20 times, qualifying him as an Elite Master Operator – one of only 26 Metro Transit employees to have attained that status.

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