You don’t stay at the same job for a half century without really liking your colleagues.
“It’s the happy people,” said Revenue Processing Specialist Ian Stevens, who celebrated his 50th anniversary at Metro Transit on Jan. 27, 2022.
Stevens is just the second Metro Transit employee to reach that milestone. The longest-serving Metro Transit employee is Sy Sharp, who retired in 2016 with 52 years of service – a record the 71-year-old Stevens may or may not break.
“When people ask, I say, ‘What I like about it is if I don’t want to do it anymore, I don’t have to,’” Stevens said.
It was Stevens’ wife Micki who encouraged him to apply shortly after leaving the Army all those years ago. “I thought it was going to be party time, until 11 days later my wife said, `No, you’re going to go get a job,’” Stevens said.
But sorting cash and coins, it turned out, was a natural fit for Stevens, who excelled at math in school. A good work-life balance, friendly co-workers to picnic and go bowling with and good benefits have also kept him coming back.
Today, Stevens is part of a six-person crew that works out of the Heywood Garage, sorting cash and coins deposited into fareboxes.
Over the years, he’s trained just about everyone, including his supervisors, and has learned all the nuances of the job. For a while, he could pinpoint the unique sound of silver half-dollars running through sorting machines so they could be retrieved and sold to collectors. The practice has since been discontinued.
“When silver spiked, he would say, `Dennis, it’s time to sell the silver,’” recalled Dennis Dworshak, who served as Stevens’ manager 20 years ago.
Today, Stevens’ supervisor is Abdul Ahmed, who summed it up this way: “He is extremely reliable to a point where we almost take it for granted.”