Tuesday, January 01, 2013 11:06:00 AM
Growing up on St. Paul’s East Side, Mark Uzpen spent a lot of time traveling around town on streetcars and buses. One of the attractions to transit – his father, Robert Uzpen was a streetcar operator. Given his transit-rich upbringing, it wasn’t all that surprising that Mark Uzpen would pursue a career as a Metro Transit operator. After four years “working the railroad,” he began as a bus operator on Oct. 9, 1972. Uzpen spent the following 42 years driving buses, including a 40-year run as a Safe Operator, primarily in the east metro. His four-decade career came just a few year’s shy of his father’s 46-year tenure; Mark’s brother, Jon Uzpen, who worked as an operator and Safety Specialist, retired in 2013 with 40 years of service. At his retirement, Uzpen said remembered being told when hired that there would “come a time when you’d rather be driving your bus than your car.” “Toward the end,” he said. “That was definitely true.” In retirement, Uzpen said he plans to spend more time with his family, including five children, and to work on his golf game.