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2015

Tom Mevissen, #5342 

Facilities Technician
| Saturday, August 01, 2015 9:58:00 AM

While he was in high school, Tom Mevissen spent time working at his father’s Phillips 66 service station. The experience led to his interest in auto mechanics and, eventually, to the doors of Metro Transit. After a short time as a taxi driver, Mevissen began as a Cleaner at Nicollet Garage on Oct. 17, 1977. Within just a few years he was working as a mechanic. In all, he spent 25 years working in service garages performing a variety of tasks. While his career began at Nicollet, Mevissen also worked at the old Northside Garage, the old Snelling Garage, Heywood Garage and the Overhaul Base. “It just seemed like it (working in the garage) was a natural fit for me,” Mevissen said. “I enjoyed all the jobs I had.” Nonetheless, Mevissen sought a different path and began training to get his boiler license. After receiving his certification, he moved into building maintenance, first at Overhaul Base and later at the Northstar Operations & Maintenance Facility. Mevissen said he enjoyed being at Northstar because it gave him an opportunity to see another side of Metro Transit. “Even though I didn’t work on the trains, it was fun to be around them and learn how they work,” he said. Mevissen retired in August 2015 with more than 37 years of service. In retirement, he plans to travel on his motorcycle and spend more “quality time” with his family, including three children and three grandchildren.

2015

Tim Cusick, #5483 

Facilities Technician
| Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:46:00 PM

Tim Cusick

When Tim Cusick started at Metro Transit in March 1980, his father bet him $1 he wouldn’t last more than a year. He won the bet handedly, building a career that lasted more than 35 years. While he stayed with the company, his roles changed several times. Cusick began as a Cleaner, washing buses at the Old Snelling Garage, but soon moved into a position as an overnight mechanic at the Martin J. Ruter Garage (formerly Shingle Creek). He later spent time at the old Northside Garage, the Overhaul Base and South Garage, working at different times as a Skilled Helper, Parts Cleaner, Fueler and in the Body Shop. Working on buses was a fitting role for Cusick: as one of ten children, his father often entertained him and his siblings by giving them a box of Cracker Jacks and letting them ride Route 12 to and from their St. Paul home. In 2009, Cusick transitioned to Facilities, working in building maintenance, installing and repairing waiting shelters, landscaping and replacing thousands of pavers at light-rail stations. Throughout his career, Cusick said he was motivated to work hard. “I had a golden opportunity to work in a lot of different places, but whatever I did, I owned it and took pride in doing it right,” he said. In July 2015, Cusick celebrated his retirement alongside his wife and two daughters. In retirement he plans to spend more time fishing, traveling in the U.S. and abroad, working on house projects and entertaining children who live nearby. Cusick has also “adopted” several neighborhood children whom he plans to keep entertained.

2015

Jerry Olson, #1504 

Operator
| Wednesday, July 01, 2015 10:10:00 AM

Before Jerry Olson started working at the Metropolitan Transit Commission, he did not have a sterling driving record. In fact, he’d wrecked so many of his personal vehicles early in life that he’d earned the nickname “Crash.” After four decades of driving buses safely around the metro, the moniker had taken on more than a little bit of irony. Olson’s 41 years and 9 months of safe driving is believed to be among the best ever recorded among Metro Transit’s operators. His record as a safe driver is just one of the reasons Olson was remembered at his retirement as one of the agency’s most beloved operators. Olson spent 18 years as a trainer and had earned a reputation for being a strong mentor to his peers. He also won praise for his customer service skills and deep knowledge of the bus network (as an on-call operator, Olson drove many of Metro Transit’s routes). Olson’s commitment to safe driving and customer service earned him 28 Outstanding Operator awards. In 2014, the Minnesota Public Transit Association named him their Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year. Olson spent the bulk of his career at South Garage, where he met his wife Lynnette Olson, a fellow operator (#1624). Olson retired in July 2015 after nearly 43 years of service. His retirement plans include spending more time with his family, including five children and eight grandchildren, camping, travel and golf. Before retiring, Olson took one final trip that included friends, family and General Manager Brian Lamb. Pulling in for the last time, Olson said he was sad to part ways but that he was excited for the next phase of his life to begin. “I’ve spent more than two-thirds of my life here (at Metro Transit), so it wasn’t an easy decision to retire,” he said at the time. “But there comes a time when you just have to say goodbye.”

2015

Stephen Babcock, 3128 

Head Stockkeeper
| Friday, June 05, 2015 2:37:00 PM

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock was working as a truck driver when a roommate encouraged him to consider applying at Metro Transit. Babcock was hired and began as a bus operator at the old Northside Garage on March 5, 1973. Babcock spent nearly nine years driving before he was medically disqualified and transferred with ATU support to vault puller. Babcock also spent time working as a farebox reader, money counter, revenue clerk, data collector, cleaner and Transit Information representative, one of the richest and most diverse careers among agency employees. Babcock spent the final 20 years of his career as a stockkeeper.  Babcock was a strong advocate for the ATU who believed in a balanced work place and that you could be a good employee and union member. After a strike in 1994, he joined the ATU Education Committee. He also contributed to the ATU paper, The 1005 Line. Babock retired in June 2015 with more than 42 years of service. With his talent in computers and his love of genealogy, he hopes to produce a book with his family tree that has over 6,000 documented individuals.  He is also planning to research and visit the places of his ancestors. 

2015

Frank Collins, #435 

Dispatcher
| Monday, June 01, 2015 12:42:00 PM

Frank Collins

When Frank Collins started as a bus operator in 1979, he found a place in agency history by becoming one of the first two drivers to work at Metro Transit on a part-time basis. But his 25-hours-a-week schedule didn’t last long. After just eight months on the job, Collins decided to move into a full-time role and make a career in transit. “It seemed like a good, solid future,” he said. “Where I grew up, getting one job for life was the norm and this seemed like a place where I could stay a while.” Collins career took him to nearly every garage, including Nicollet, old Northside, old Snelling and South, where he spent the last 15 years before his retirement. He began working as a Relief Dispatcher around 1983 and moved into a full-time Dispatcher role in 1998. As a Dispatcher, Collins said he enjoyed doing what he could to help his fellow operators. “I like to try and keep them happy,” Collins said. “They’ve got a hard job, so when I can I give them what they want.” Collins retired in June 2015 with more than 36 years of service. In retirement, he plans to spend time traveling, enjoying his grandchildren and pursuing several hobbies, including fishing, brewing beer and gardening.

2015

Terry Summers, #1635 

Operator
| Friday, May 01, 2015 10:40:00 AM

Terrance Summers was considering a career in music when he decided that working at Metro Transit might offer a bit more stability for his wife and three children. So in 1984, he put down the guitar and started driving the bus. His career began at the then Shingle Creek Garage and eventually to stints at Heywood, Snelling and East Metro. He spent the final ten years of his career at South Garage. Summers said he enjoyed driving because it gave him an opportunity to meet people and make new friends. One of his most memorable days on the job was the Halloween blizzard of 1991, when he was stuck for more than six hours at the Theodore Wirth Chalet. Summers retired in May 2015, with more than 30 years of service. In retirement, he plans to spend more time with family, traveling and playing music.

2015

Joe Stauffer, #5434 

Mechanic-Technician
| Wednesday, April 01, 2015 10:38:00 AM

When Joe Stauffer came to Metro Transit in 1980, he had little experience working on diesel engines. But after moving from cleaner to skilled helper to mechanic, he had little choice but to dig in and give it his best shot. “You watched other mechanics or were given a job and had to figure it out,” Stauffer said. “You just tore into it, whatever it was.” Three decades later, Stauffer had picked up more than a few tricks of the trade. During his time at Metro Transit, he spent time at every service garage and the Overhaul Base. His work included transmission replacements, welding, HVAC, electrical and a variety of other tasks. In addition to the routine work, Stauffer prided himself on finding ways of making garage more efficient. In one example, he welded a hitch to a service bay cart so trailers could be used to quickly move batteries around the garage. “I found lots of things that made the job just a little bit easier,” he said. Stauffer grew up on St. Paul’s northside and frequently took transit to and from school. At the time, he had no way of knowing he’d end up spending 34 years working on buses. But Stauffer said he was glad to have made a career at Metro Transit and will miss working alongside many of his peers. Stauffer retired in April 2015 with plans to spend more time with his family, including two sons and two daughters, and to work on a number of classic cars, including a 1928 Model A.

2015

Pat Parnow, #1412 

Operator
| Wednesday, April 01, 2015 10:16:00 AM

Pat Parnow was working as a photographer, selling her work at art fairs, when she sought a job as a Metro Transit bus operator. She began her career at Metro Transit in August 1980 out of Nicollet Garage. As a part-time operator, Parnow was able to drive in the morning and still have time during the day to continue her photography work. The job also provided some inspiration: driving in Minneapolis and the west metro she would often pass scenes she thought would make for good photos and return later with camera in hand. Parnow said she also liked observing all of the changes that occurred and experiencing all types of weather, including quiet roads in bad weather. Among her most memorable experiences was an on-board fire that she put out shortly after pulling out of the garage. Parnow also met her wife through a customer she knew. Parnow retired in April 2015 with 34 years of service. In retirement, Parnow continues to work on her photography and is involved in many area art fairs.

2015

Paul Liddicoat, #420 

Operator
| Sunday, March 01, 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.

2015

LeRoy Robinson, #5120 

Fleet Service Supervisor
| Wednesday, February 04, 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.

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