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2015
| Tuesday, September 01, 2015 10:28:00 AM

Assist. Director-Facilities Maintenance

Wayne Schafer was working at the A Mill loading 100-pound sacks of flour onto freight trains when his dad advised him there were jobs available at the Metropolitan Transit Commission. Wanting more variety – and a job that would be a little easier on his joints – he applied. Schafer began his career in transit in April 1976, as a cleaner at the Old Snelling Garage. He later held jobs as a helper, fueler and mechanic at the old Northsisde, Shingle Creek (Ruter) and Nicollet garages. In 1984, Schafer moved from bus to building maintenance, fulfilling his continued desire for a job that wasn’t guided by routine. “Once I saw people doing that, I knew that was where I wanted to go,” he said. “There was no questioning it. It appealed to me a lot more than working on greasy buses.” Schafer’s tenure in building maintenance started at the Overhaul Base and later included stints at the Nicollet, South and Heywood garages. The job had just the kind of variety Schafer was looking for, involving everything from the installation of overhead doors to HVAC repairs and snow removal. “It was a jack-of-all-trades kind of job,” he said. “You worked to your comfort level or you just took something apart and tried to put it back together – it was always a self-learning process.” In 1999, Schafer took a supervisor roll and became the first member of Metro Transit’s fledgling Engineering & Facilities Department (“I had to find my own office,” he said). Within a year, he became the Manager of Facilities and took an active role in planning new buildings and transit facilities. Schafer was involved in the design of the East Metro Garage, several building renovations and the creation of dedicated space for Public Facilities and Transit Police’s East Command (Transfer Road). Schafer also participated in the planning for the Blue and Green Lines, Northstar and light-rail extensions. One of his enduring contributions was coming up with the concept for the standard customer waiting shelter, which prominently features Metro Transit’s logo (the shelter was inspired by a Hennepin County shelter placed in North Minneapolis). Over the course of his career, Public Facilities grew from 14 to 41 technicians and workers. Schafer said he was proud to have been a part of the department’s growth and the expansion of the region’s transit network. “It’s been a very rewarding job, because I think I did make a difference,” he said. Schafer retired in September 2015 with plans to spend time riding his dirt bike and going back to the thing that got him into building maintenance to begin with – “puttering” around.”

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