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Rider's Almanac Blog

Career Tracks

Career Tracks: David Hanson, assistant director of field operations

Posted by John Komarek | Monday, May 9, 2022 4:16:00 PM

Many people who work at Metro Transit take on new responsibilities and roles throughout their careers. Career Tracks highlights the paths employees have taken to their latest assignment and where they see themselves going next. To learn more about career opportunities at Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council, visit

How did you begin your career at Metro Transit?

As a kid, becoming a bus driver was never on my career list. However, as life has it, plans changed. After accomplishing my goals in education, serving as an Army Medic for 6 years, working for 8 years in dialysis, and 10 years in Real Estate, I landed in the seat of a school bus working part time. I found that I really enjoyed interacting with the kids and the parents and felt that I was delivering a benefit to the community. As there was not enough economic security in being a full-time school bus operator, I wondered how I could support my family as a bus operator. Then, I saw a “Now Hiring” ad on a Metro Transit bus. I learned that transit had opportunities for full-time positions with job security. And it was a reliable source of income with good benefits to support my family. So, I applied and started here as a part-time Operator on May 19, 1997. Today, all new operators are starting full-time. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before I went full-time. In December of 1997, I went full-time and was content working as an Operator for 7 years.

What were your career goals and what steps did you take to achieve them?

After I became aware of how big Metro Transit was, along with the opportunities with the Metropolitan Council, I felt that I had some acquired experiences, skills, and aptitudes that I could apply here and move up into the organization. I began that journey not fully knowing what that might become. I started by applying for the Relief Dispatch program to fully understand operations and did so for three years. Later, I was accepted into Leadership Academy, to learn about a career as a Transit Supervisor. From there, I was promoted to a District Supervisor where I performed that role for about another 7 years. Next, I was promoted to Assistant Manager of Street Operations, then Manager of Street Operations, and now my current position of Assistant Director, Field Operations, for 5 years and counting.

What advice do you have for others who want to take on more or different responsibilities?

Be positive and happy in your job duties. People will notice and want to be around that energy verses negative energy. Be aware of the opportunities available at the Council and Transit. Apply for everything that interests you and where you meet the qualifications. Work outside your job expectations (when appropriate), refute the “it’s not my job” attitude. And as my grandpa always said, “Whatever your job, do your best striving to be the best, whether it be a ditch digger, or an executive, just do your best!”

We’re hiring

Fast track your way to a new full-time career. No experience in bus operations is required and training is paid. Bus operators receive outstanding benefits like health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, and an unlimited-ride bus pass. And, as many Metro Transit managers start their careers as operators, there's also room for growth. Visit to apply.