Name: Paul Hollen
Job: Assistant Transportation Manager, South Garage
Years of service: 5 1/2
How did you come to work at Metro Transit and what do you do?
After working 20 years in a few different industries, I found myself laid off from my management job at a big box home improvement store. After hearing my story, a member of my church and retired Metro Transit employee, Alphonso Gayle recommended that I apply to be an operator. I followed his advice and the rest is history.
My first job was as an operator at the Nicollet garage. After three years, my managers recognized my potential and I became a relief instructor. I served in this role for two years until I was recently promoted to assistant transportation manager. Nine months and counting, you can find me at South Garage serving in this position helping plan and manage bus operator performance. I’m responsible for ensuring timely and safe delivery of bus transit services within the region.
Where are you from originally? Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born in Minneapolis and lived here most of my life. I grew up in a minister’s home and thought maybe I’d follow my father in church work. But, after becoming an ordained minister, I found that I wasn’t that good at it. While I didn’t glean my father’s talent for ministry, what I did take away from my childhood was how to fix things. In a small church, we had to fix everything ourselves. He taught me to do floors, walls, windows, doors, heating, cooling, finish carpentry, rough in carpentry, trim work, cabinets and countertops, mechanical, and electrical. So, that has come in handy throughout the years when I had work to be done, when someone else needed help, or in one of many careers I’ve held through the years.
What do you like the most about your work?
I love people. I enjoyed driving the bus and meeting all the passengers. And now I am getting to know the 250 plus drivers at South Garage. I really enjoy working in a place where I can positively affect the community of the council, one operator at a time. I’m a firm believer that if you are in trouble or have a need, there is help if you know you have a problem and want to change. I was taught early on to correct in private and praise in public.
What are your favorite activities when you’re “Off the Clock”?
I enjoy helping others – it brings me joy. It’s why I enjoy playing the part of Santa Claus, making appearances all around the city at parties, charities, and even on Metro Transit buses and light rail. Seeing the kids’ faces when I enter the room is priceless. And even when I’m not wearing the costume, I take my role as Santa seriously. It’s probably why I find myself busy making little toys for the children in my workshop.
Outside of my seasonal alter-ego, I also enjoy being outdoors, hunting, fishing, and working at our family cabin on the tractor. I enjoy having a cup of coffee with friends and family playing games and making memories. I enjoy a good hot sauna in the back yard. I also enjoy tending the garden. I have pear, apple and cherry trees; red and black raspberries; rhubarb; blueberries; and grapes. To help the environment, I am also an Apiarist and have twelve bee hives.