Friday, January 01, 2016 10:32:00 AM
Silas “Sy” Sharp never shied away from work. After serving in the Korean War, he spent his days working as a heavy equipment operator with the City of Minneapolis and his nights at the Minneapolis Athletic Club, full-time jobs that took 16 hours of his day even as he studied management at the University of Minnesota. In 1963, on the advice of a club member who worked in transit, he took a job in bus maintenance at what was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Commission, or MTC. For 22 years, he held full-time jobs with both the city and MTC. Sharp retired from the city after 30 years, and in early 2016 retired from Metro Transit with 52 years of service – the longest tenure in agency history. “I didn’t get much sleep sometimes – I averaged about three hours of sleep, four maybe,” Sharp said shortly after his retirement. “I’m the type of guy, I just love working.” At 28 years old, Sharp began his career as a cleaner sweeping buses at the old Northside Garage in Minneapolis. He later became what was known as a “hustler,” fueling and moving buses around the garage. His strong work ethic and history as a Sgt. in the Army led him to be recruited as a garage foreman, the first of several management positions he held in Bus Maintenance. Sharp also worked as a foreman at the old Snelling Garage and as the Maintenance Manager at the Nicollet and Martin J. Ruter garages. Sharp is particularly proud of his tenure at Nicollet, an underperforming garage he was tasked with turning around. “There were a lot of people here who said it couldn’t be done,” Sharp said. “I said, ‘There’s no such thing as can’t,’ because that’s what I was taught. That it can be done if you apply yourself. And Nicollet went from being one of the worst to the best. I was very proud of that.” In retirement, Sharp is spending more time with his family, including wife Mary, three daughters, two sons and 12 grandchildren, enjoying a new home in Florida and fishing.