Dave Jablonski was working as a part runner and drag racing a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 when a friend suggested applying at what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission. He applied, passed the entrance exam and started as a cleaner at the Nicollet Garage four months later. Jablonski would end up spending the next 44 years working in bus and facilities maintenance, retiring in 2019 with a reputation as one of Metro Transit’s most dependable technicians. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I went with the flow, was getting raises and liked what I was doing,” Jablonski said. “One thing led to another and I just ended up staying.”
Jablonski moved around quite a bit in his first few years. After starting at Nicollet, he moved to the old Northside Garage where he worked overnight as a fueler. He later returned to Nicollet, where he worked as a helper and technician, and came to Heywood after it opened in 1984. As technician, Jablonski primarily worked early-morning shifts, repairing buses that were going into service for the day. He later moved to the Overhaul Base where he worked in the brake shop and body shop, applying decals to new buses as they arrived. Jablonski also spent more than a decade in non-revenue, maintaining everything from weed whips to skid steers.
Jablonski’s last 11 years at Metro Transit were spent in facilities maintenance, where he was able to work alongside several longtime co-workers who had also become friends. “That was by far the best job I ever had,” he said. “I liked the partners I worked with, and it offered a lot of variety. One day I’d be changing glass, the next day I’d be working on irrigation, plowing snow or putting up a fence. If the public touched it, it was our job to fix it, clean it or replace it.” At his retirement, Jablonski was described as a knowledgeable technician who could always be counted on.
Jablonski retired in August 2019. In retirement, he planned to spend more time with his family and tending to his hobby farm.