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2014

Lee Bennett, #912 

Assistant Manager of Street Operations
| Wednesday, January 01, 2014 11:07:00 AM

Lee Bennett

With a love for motoring, Lee Bennett began his career at Metro Transit in March 1980 as a part-time bus operator out of the old Northside Garage. After seven years behind the wheel, Bennett became a Transit Supervisor. As a Transit Supervisor, Bennett worked in the field with operators on detours and schedule adherence. One of the major projects Bennett worked on during his time as a Transit Supervisor was the construction of Interstate 394, which led to frequent route changes. Bennett later became the Assistant Manager of Street Operations where he organized and directed Metro Transit’s team of Transit Supervisors. Between 2010 and 2013, Bennett oversaw service to the Minnesota State Fair. Bennett retired in January 2014 with 33 years of service. In retirement, he plans to return to his roots of driving commercial vehicles but will also spend time traveling, including visits to his northern Minnesota cabin.

2014

Bob Marson, #3477 

Mechanic Technician
| Wednesday, January 01, 2014 9:42:00 AM

Bob Marson was working as a mechanic at a service station in St. Paul when a Metro Transit supervisor suggested he apply to work at the agency. When the service station closed, Marson made the move. He began at the old Snelling Garage on Oct. 17, 1977. After a year as a sweeper, Marson became a mechanic. Marson worked at several garages and the Overhaul Base before ending his career at Nicollet Garage in January 2014. In addition to vehicle maintenance, Marson spent time working on bus shelters, building maintenance and in the brake and body shops. “I just wanted to learn more and some of the people were so skilled at what they were doing,” Marson explained. “I wanted to get the expertise and it worked very well.” In retirement, Marson plans to travel with his two children and continue working as a part-time casino card dealer.

2014

Mark Leier, #2745 

Operator
| Wednesday, January 01, 2014 8:57:00 AM

In 1975, Mark Leier applied to work at Metro Transit and the U.S. Postal Office. When he got calls from each on the same day, he decided to go with Metro Transit. “I couldn’t see myself being a postman so I picked Metro Transit and it was the best decision I ever made,” Leier said. Leier started at the old Snelling Garage on Feb. 10, 1975. He drove several different routes before spending his last 18 years driving Route 63, with service on Grand Avenue. Leier developed such strong relationships with his customers that he became a godparent to four children whose parents he met on the bus. He also attended weddings for eight different customers. “I had such a rapport with the people,” he said. “They all treated me like family.” Leier retired in 2014 with 39 years of service. The River Falls, Wis. resident plans to spend his time hunting and fishing in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota and North Dakota.

2013

Jon Uzpen, #2602 

Safety Specialist
| Friday, October 04, 2013 11:05:00 AM

Jon Uzpen began his career at Metro Transit on May 21, 1973 as an operator out of the old Snelling Garage. Uzpen worked as a bus operator for 15 years, including nine years as an instructor, before becoming a Safety Specialist. As a Safety Specialist, Uzpen performed in-service road tests and worked with operators to improve their driving skills. Uzpen spent time at each of Metro Transit's garages, working with hundreds of operators over the course of his 40-year career. Upon retirement, Uzpen said the favorite part of his job was watching other drivers succeed. Uzpen was named Rookie of the Year at the 1985 bus Roadeo and helped continue the annual driving competition in the latter part of his career (Uzpen was featured in a 2013 news story about the competition). Uzpen worked at Nicollet Garage from 1991 until his retirement on Oct. 4, 2013. In retirement, Uzpen said he plans to travel and spend time with his wife Cheri and grandchildren.

2013

Joel Terrell, #716 

Bus Operator
| Saturday, July 06, 2013 10:59:00 AM

Joel Terrell spent more than 30 years at Metro Transit, working his way up from a bus operator to an instructor and, finally, garage coordinator at Nicollet Garage. Before moving to Nicollet Garage, Terrell spent time at the Snelling, South and Heywood garages. A 25-year Safe Operator, Terrell was one of the original Transit Ambassador trainers, a Roadeo participant and longtime peer support member. He retired on July 6, 2013. An avid camper and traveler, Terrell plans to hit the road in his retirement and to continue rooting for his beloved Chicago Bears.

2013

Signe Martell, #150 

Bus Operator
| Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:43:00 AM

Signe Martell spent three decades moving around the Twin Cities as a bus driver. Following her May 16, 2013, retirement, she won't be in a driver's seat and she certainly won't be sitting still. Signe plans to do yoga, hike in national parks bike, travel (she just returned from India) and spend more time with her grandkids. Signe was regularly involved in United Way campaigns at the three garages – Northside, Nicollet and East Metro – where she worked. In addition to achieving 29 of her 30 years of service without an accident, Signe's supervisor stated she received "too many awards to count!"

2013

Irene Cline, #3169 

Administrative Lead Money Counter
| Friday, May 10, 2013 12:28:00 PM

Irene Cline

Perhaps Irene Cline's earlier experience as a bank teller was the reason for her success in Metro Transit's Finance division. She came to Metro Transit in 1977, working in the main administrative office. Over the next 19 years, she occupied positions in nearly every area in Finance. In 1996, Irene transferred to the Central Counting Money Room and became the first Administrative Lead position in that department. Her colleagues will miss her dedication, professionalism, willingness to help and the huge fresh tomatoes she would share from her garden each fall. Irene retired on May 10, 2013.

2013

Garfield Martichuski, #1207 

Bus Operator
| Wednesday, May 01, 2013 9:44:00 AM

Garfield Martichuski retired May 1, 2013, after being a bus driver at Metro Transit for 33 years and six months. He began work in 1979 at the Northside garage on 24th & Washington Avenue, then moved to Heywood Garage when it was built in 1984. Garfield was awarded a gold watch for 25-years of safe driving. He'll spend his retirement with his wife, children and grandchildren.

2013

Larry Pederson, #1162 

Mark Up Distpatcher
| Saturday, March 30, 2013 10:18:00 AM

Larry Pederson joined Metro Transit in 1979 and retired after 33 years of service. As a bus operator, Perderson worked at both Snelling and South garages and received 18 Safe Operator Awards, 12 Distinguished Driver Awards and was a Rodeo finalist. Pederson also served as an instructor and relief dispatcher. In 1999, he became a full-time dispatcher and worked at the Fred T. Heywood, Martin J. Ruter and South garages. In retirement, Pederson is spending time with his family, fishing and camping.

2013

Julie Johanson, #4222 

Deputy Chief Operations Officer – Bus
| Wednesday, March 06, 2013 3:39:00 PM

Julie Johanson started with then-MTC as Director of Human Resources in 1976 – a job she held for 16 years. In 1992, she became Director of Transportation, responsible for the day-to-day operations of one of the nation's largest bus systems. She had a turn serving as Acting General Manager in 1996 and 1997. For the next decade, Julie was Assistant General Manager – Administration. In 2008, Julie returned to bus operations as Deputy Chief of Operations. Julie has been a strong advocate of diversity in the workplace – in particular as a voice for developing women as leaders. Julie also cultivated relationships with local civic leaders and national industry leaders. When she retired on March 6, 2013, General Manager Brian Lamb said, "Her leadership and her contributions to this organization have been profound and enduring. We are better because of her."

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