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On Off The Clock

On the Clock/Off the Clock: Carri Sampson-Spande

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, February 27, 2020 1:42:00 PM

Job: Rail Transit Supervisor
Years of Service: 18 months

How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?

After studying sociology and political science, I started working at Alpha Human Services, a Minneapolis-based non-profit that serves adult male sex offenders in rehabilitation. I was responsible for checking on adults who were in rehabilitation and was the first woman to do that kind of work for the organization. Eventually, I started looking for a new career path and applied to become a 911 dispatcher with the City of Minneapolis. I spent 20 years doing that and really loved working in city government.

When I saw that Metro Transit was hiring, I thought this would be an exciting new opportunity and thought there would be a lot of room for growth because the system is expanding. I started as a rail transit supervisor in late 2018 and have been learning more about transit ever since.

What do you enjoy the most about being “On the Clock”?

Because you’re always dealing with emergencies, being a 911 dispatcher can be really taxing. When I came here, I was really impressed by the way people talked about how much they valued the organization and wanted it to be better. I’m an optimist, so I really liked hearing that.

And the job itself is never dull. You’re constantly multitasking to help keep trains on schedule and support the customers, operators and maintenance staff who are out on the system. That could mean moving tracks at switch points, responding to the scene of a collision or even returning baggage or other lost items to a customer. There are all kinds of contingencies and variables at play. At the same time, we have really high standards and follow strict rules and procedures. It was hard going from an expert in one field to a novice in another, but it’s been really rewarding, too.

Can you talk about your role as vice-chair of Advancing Women in Transit, a peer support group?

I’ve always been interested in the bigger picture and finding ways to get involved. I also recognized right away that transportation is a pretty male-dominated field. Of Metro Transit’s 31 rail supervisors, just four are females. We face some unique challenges – the uniforms don’t always fit well, for example. I think AWT can play an important role in bringing people together and hopefully achieving more representation for women in our industry.

What are your interests when you’re “Off the Clock”?

I’ve got a son, a daughter and two stepdaughters who keep me busy, and I serve as the director of the City of Bloomington’s volleyball program. Mostly, I just like spending time with family and friends. 

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