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 metrocouncil.org/employment.
How did you begin your career at Metro Transit?
When I was a little girl, I told my cousin Theresa, “When I grow up, I want to be a truck driver or a teacher.” Flash forward, I became I school bus driver on a 5-speed stick shift. I loved driving but needed better wages and healthcare than a small town school bus company could give, so I headed to the Twin Cities. On March 24, 1990, I started as a part-time/weekends, and holidays Operator at Metro Transit. In those days, there weren’t as many women in the profession. I was the only woman in a class of 12 operators. We all wanted to go full-time, but it didn’t happen as quickly as we’d hoped – it took two years and 1 day to get there. I love my job and it shows: I waited and juggled two and three jobs while waiting to get here!
What were your career goals and what steps did you take to achieve them?
Like all operators, the first goal is simple -- get to work on time. With personal struggles and driving a car with bald tires, that wasn’t always easy, but it was the best place to start. After ten years, Nicollet Garage had an opening for a relief dispatcher. I had to advocate to be considered, and I earned the position. Six months later, a relief instructor position opened. The following year, I applied to be a full-time instructor. For nine years, I was in my ultimate job—a teacher and a driver! Then I took a giant step and was elected Vice President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005. All the trials, tribulations and successes prepared me for this important work to serve 3,000 members. I am especially proud of my work taking care of medical disqualified members, helping them return to work or medically retire. After 12 years of service, I’ve returned to instructing and driving. It’s a lot less stress and a wonderful place to finish out my career.
What advice do you have for others who want to take on more or different responsibilities?
Become fearless and independent in whatever you do! There were many points in my life when I felt injustice, like when I was working through a divorce or lost my husband Brad Maki to cancer in 2007. Instead of giving into grief, it created a fearless and independent attitude in me. I hope that whatever issues you may face in your career and in life that you can use it to motivate your growth. As new operators begin their careers at Metro Transit, I wish them a long successful career! I’ll toast to that!