Being employed by the same company for a quarter of a century is no small feat. An Arrowhead Transit employee reached that honorable milestone earlier this year.
“It’s a really nice feeling,” said Julie Olson, who’s a bus driver in Carlton County. “I’ve met a lot of really nice people throughout the years, which I really enjoy. I’m definitely a people person.”
On the surface, 25 year sounds like a fairly long time. Olson assured there’s never a dull moment when she’s driving a bus.
“I’m usually pretty busy,” she said. “There are always different things to do, different runs to go on. The variety is really nice.”
Prior to working for Arrowhead Transit, Olson was employed as a cold-weather tester for Range Rover and BMW. She wasn’t actively seeking new employment when an opportunity with Arrowhead Transit arose while taking her certified driver’s license (CDL) exam in one of the company’s buses.
“I got a 96 percent on the test, and I’d never driven a bus before,” she said. “One of Transit’s supervisors at the time was so impressed that he brought me an application, and hired me on the spot.”
Assistant Director Joe Gentile has known Olson for 21 years, dating back to when he was the transit manager for Carlton County.
“She’s always been a very good employee,” he added.
The first thing that comes to Gentile’s mind when thinking of Olson is reliability.
“She always comes to work,” he said. “I never have to worry about her.”
Julia Dupla, who’s the transit manager for Carlton County, echoed those sentiments.
“Julie is such a great employee,” she said. “She knows all of the routes, and all the riders like to see her.”
Dupla recalled a ride-along she took with Olson, who at the time was driving for Head Start.
“All the kids were very excited to see her, and Julie would make sure to greet each one by name,” she said. “The experience taught me a lot about how much Julie cares for our riders, and makes sure everyone is comfortable and has a good interaction with Arrowhead Transit.”