Sunday, February 01, 2015 2:02:00 PM
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, January 01, 2015 2:08:00 PM
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.
Thursday, January 01, 2015 12:49:00 PM
Harlan Daudt had just finished truck driving school when he saw the job ad from the Metropolitan Transit Commission in the newspaper. Realizing he could drive and stay close to home, he applied. Daudt began his career as an operator at the old Northside Garage in 1978. He went on to spend the next 37 years as a bus operator, trainer and Garage Coordinator at the Martin J. Ruter Garage, where he spent the majority of his career. At his retirement, Daudt was remembered for having an influence on many fellow operators. Daudt spent nearly 25 years as a trainer, a role that led him to work with hundreds of young operators at the beginning of their careers. Looking back, Daudt said he liked working as a trainer because it meant he was helping people find meaningful work. “I got a lot of gratification from helping people get a job,” he said. Though Daudt dedicated a lot of time to training, scheduling and working with other departments to improve bus operations, he continued to drive through the end of his career. Daudt retired in January 2015 with plans to spend time woodworking, driving ATVs and traveling.
Thursday, January 01, 2015 10:55:00 AM
Tony Taylor has a motto: Don’t force the puzzle. The philosophy served him well over the course of his 36-year career at Metro Transit. “I would say that 99 percent of it (driving) is attitude,” Taylor said in one of numerous interviews in which he spoke about what it takes to be a successful operator. Taylor’s cool demeanor made him a role model to many of his fellow operators, a favorite among customers and an ideal representative for Metro Transit. Taylor was regularly called on to speak with the media about driving, appeared in employee training videos and became a “go to” operator for special events. His level approach also showed in his performance. Taylor accumulated 27 Outstanding Operator Awards and had 35 years of safe driving at the end of his career. In 2013, Taylor was recognized as the Minnesota Bus Operator of the Year by the Minnesota Public Transportation Association. Taylor retired as a call operator out of Heywood Garage and previously worked at the old Northside Garage, Shingle Creek, now the Martin J. Ruter Garage, old Snelling Garage, now East Metro, and Nicollet. Taylor began his career as an operator on Dec. 4, 1978, after working as a shoe salesman. In addition to being an operator, Tony worked as a relief dispatcher and spent 15 years as an instructor. Taylor retired in January 2015 with plans to travel, spend time with his family, ride his motorcycle and attend to several bucket list items, including a visit to the Westminster Dog Show.
> Star Tribune: Metro Transit bus driver makes final run of his 36-year career
> WCCO: Metro Transit driver retires to surprise after 36 years
Thursday, January 01, 2015 10:53:00 AM
When Dan Stout began working as a cleaner and mechanic at Metro Transit, conditions were difficult. The garages weren’t well heated, the floors were continuously damp, the ventilation was poor and the equipment wasn’t always up to the job. He liked it anyways. “The environment was tough but I thoroughly loved it to tell you the truth,” Stout said. Stout loved the job so much he ended up staying at Metro Transit for more than 38 years. During his nearly four-decade tenure, Stout worked at every garage and the Overhaul Base in St. Paul. After starting as a cleaner, he became a mechanic and spent time changing motors, swapping engines and re-building transmissions. At the end of his career, he worked as a maintenance electrician. Stout also spent five years as a part-time bus operator, which he said gave him a new level of appreciation for the organization. “It was a real eye-opener to go through that,” Stout said. Stout retired in January 2015 with plans to travel the United States in his RV and spend more time fishing and hiking.
Thursday, January 01, 2015 9:59:00 AM
Michael Meyer wore a lot of different hats during his time at Metro Transit. In 1976, at just 22-years-old, he started as a cleaner at the old Northside Garage. The early part of his career also included periods as a helper, brake shop mechanic and welder. The majority of his career, though, was spent working at the Metro Transit’s body shop. At the body shop, Meyer worked on wheelchair lifts, cut air vents into the roofs of un-air conditioned buses and assisted with a variety of other projects. Toward the end of his career, Meyer specialized in trim. The job involved putting decals and other finishing touches on buses and fleet vehicles. Meyer said he took a lot of pride in his work and enjoyed seeing the vehicles he worked on come together. “It was rewarding to see the finished product, to see everything go back on the bus and make it look nice,” Meyer said. Meyer joined Metro Transit at the urging of his father, Walter Meyer, who spent 37 years with the company as a mechanic and foreman. Meyer said he remained dedicated to transit because he enjoyed the people he worked with. Meyer retired in January 2015 with 38 years of service. In retirement, he plans to spend time with his family, including his wife Ann, daughter and two grandsons. His other hobbies include boating, motorcycles and classic cars.
Assistant Transportation Manager
Friday, August 01, 2014 10:58:00 AM
Lynn Beauclaire was working as a school bus driver when she spotted an ad for Metro Transit and reasoned she could benefit from making a change. In 1980, she began as an operator working out of Nicollet Garage. Beauclaire later moved into positions at Customer Service and the Transit Control Center, where she was an assistant manager. Beauclaire returned to bus operations as an Assistant Transportation Manager, working at Heywood, East Metro, South and Nicollet garages. Moving to different positions and locations was a way to keep the work interesting, Beauclaire said. “There was always the challenge of trying something new,” she said. “I didn’t want to be bored.” Beauclaire retired in August 2014 with 34 years of service. In retirement, she is spending her time restoring an old farmhouse in northern Wisconsin.
Assistant Manager, Rail Operations
Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:55:00 AM
When John McGuire began at Metro Transit in 1976, he drove one of the last Twin City Lines buses still in operation. More than 38 years later he closed his career by helping to open the region’s second light-rail line, the METRO Green Line. Having a hand in the expansion of services isn’t his proudest accomplishment, though. Instead, it’s playing a role in the hiring of so many great employees, he said. McGuire helped hire several rail supervisors and said it is a “privilege to say I was a part of the group that was able to offer employment to folks who were thrilled to come and work here.” McGuire knows the feeling, too. A Robbinsdale native, he was managing a convenience store when his wife urged him to become a operator because of the good wages. He applied during a hiring freeze and waited several weeks before hearing back. His first day on the job was March 22, 1976, at the old Northside Garage. He drove Route 14, passing his own home and transporting many friends and neighbors. McGuire transferred to Heywood Garage when it opened in 1984 and was among the first operators to work with Project Mobility. That experience was also among the most rewarding parts of his career. In 2003, McGuire joined the first class of rail operators hired for the Hiawatha LRT (now the Blue Line). While he drove test trains, McGuire became a supervisor before the line opened and never operated an in-service train. In his time at light-rail, McGuire saw one-car consists become three-car consists and the fleet expand to nearly 60 vehicles. He was also a part of the Operations and Maintenance Facility expansion, light-rail platform extensions and the track extension to Target Field. In his final six years of his career, McGuire worked as an assistant manager and played an active role in the construction, testing and opening of the Green Line. In retirement, McGuire plans to spend more time with his family and move to his cabin in northern Minnesota.