Following his father’s lead, Alan Anderson started working on cars when he was a young teenager. He regularly rode the bus from his home in Columbia Heights to his first job, at Burger King. And a brother-in-law and uncle both worked for what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission. So it wasn’t at all surprising that, looking for work between jobs, Anderson found himself applying for a job in Bus Maintenance. He landed the job and would spend the next 39 years working at Metro Transit. “I was probably destined to do that kind of work,” Anderson said as he reflected on his career shortly before retirement.
In August, 1980, Anderson began his career the same way other aspiring technicians at the time did – as a cleaner. It wasn’t long before he’d worked his way up to a technician role at the old Snelling Garage, though. Anderson spent around 15 years at Snelling, primarily working the overnight shift. While Snelling became familiar territory, Anderson spent time at every garage except for Nicollet. One of his more enduring roles was as an engine builder at the Overhaul Base. For seven years, he was part of a small team that tore down and rebuilt engines there. “I bounced around a lot, but I generally found that I liked all the jobs I had and could set things up to work for me,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s do-it-yourself father also introduced him to construction at an early age, providing valuable experience that would help him in the second phase of his career. Anderson spent the last seven years of his career in Public Facilities, where he never quite knew what the day would bring. That variety, he said, kept the job interesting, even when it meant being outside in some of Minnesota’s coldest weather. “The weather never really bothered me, even when it was 20 below,” he said. “You just have to dress for it.”
Anderson retired in May 2019 with plans to spend more time boating, fishing and traveling the country in an RV with his wife. He also looked forward to putting a lot more miles on his motorcycle, meeting people while exploring out-of-the way towns, and spending more time with family. At the time of his retirement, Anderson had three children and was soon to have six grandchildren.