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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.

2015

Ken Dolney, #2641 

Dispatcher
| Sunday, February 01, 2015 2:02:00 PM

Ken Dolney

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.

2015

Thomas Yost, #364 

Operator
| Sunday, February 01, 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.

2015

Terry Isensee, #1182 

Operator
| Friday, January 02, 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.

2015

JoAnn (Cronholm) Fetsch, #51902 

Benefits Administrator
| Thursday, January 01, 2015 2:08:00 PM

JoAnn (Cronholm) Fetsch

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.

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