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2012

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.

2012

Diane Hehr, #1068 

Bus Operator
| Wednesday, January 4, 2012 2:32:00 PM

Diane Hehr

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

2012

Bernadine Woodards, #545 

Bus Operator
| Wednesday, January 4, 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.

2012

David Jungwirth, #2840 

Bus Operator
| Monday, January 2, 2012 3:48:00 PM

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

2011

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. 

2011

John Frederick, #879 

Bus Operator
| Friday, September 9, 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.

2011

Robert Horbach, #2626 

Bus Operator
| Monday, August 1, 2011 2:50:00 PM

Robert Horbach

Robert retired Aug. 1, 2011, with 38 years of service. He completed his transit career at East Metro Garage.

2011

Mark Miller, #3005 

Rail Operator
| Sunday, July 10, 2011 10:02:00 AM

Mark was hired as a bus driver in July 1972, driving for 32 years at several garages, and ending his career at East Metro. Mark enjoyed the people aspect of driving, but his heart belonged to trains. Prior to Metro Transit, he applied at Burlington Northern but taking that job would require leaving Minnesota. As a young father he chose to stay and drive buses. When light-rail service began in 2004, Mark jumped at the chanced to become a train operator. He was known for his attention to detail and love of a clean train cab – he always washed the windows so they were spotless. Mark retired on July 10, 2011, and lives with his family in western Wisconsin.

2011

Ralph Juckel, #513 

Bus Operator
| Friday, July 1, 2011 3:47:00 PM

Ralph was hired by Metro Transit in April of 1981. He began his career at Snelling Garage, moved on to Nicollet and ended at Heywood with 30+ years of service. He received the Safe Driving award 24 times. He retired on July 1, 2011. In his spare time, Ralph enjoys fishing, hunting and gardening.

2011

Richard Krafty, #761 

Bus Operator
| Saturday, June 11, 2011 3:54:00 PM

Richard started with Metro Transit on June 11, 1979. He spent most of his career working from Heywood Garage. In his 32 years of service, Richard logged 29 years of accident-free driving and earned numerous customer commendations. He earned the agency's Outstanding Operator Award – the agency's mark of excellence in customer service, attendance and safety – 25 times, earning him the title of Elite Operator. Richard retired on June 11, 2011.

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