On Being Buddies: Celebrating a 30 year bond on “National Make a Friend Day”
In honor of “National Make a Friend Day” on February 11, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) talked with four long-time best buddies and co-workers.
Mike Allen, David Butler, Greg Lewis, and Kevin Pumphrey first met each other while working for another company and then migrated to MCTS. The interview asked the four about their early years with MCTS, and what it takes to remain close over 30 years of friendship.
When and where did you all first meet one another?
- Greg: Over 30 years ago.
- David: First at Loomis Armored Car Company.
- Kevin: We were all working together at Loomis Armored as Driver/Guards. I was a night guard replenishing TYME machines. When I first met Greg, he started as my driver. Dave and I worked together sparingly on a variety of routes. Mike and I worked together for a long-time servicing check cashing places and doing the Madison to Wisconsin Dells routes. These were very heavy routes.
Who came to work for MCTS first? Who came next?
- Greg: I did.
- Kevin: Greg left Loomis Armored after he walked in on a robbery. Then Dave left Loomis and came to MCTS. I delivered oil and ice, worked in a foundry, then I came to MCTS in 1998. Mike saw driving the bus as a career and had already applied. He started later in the year.
- Mike: Greg, Dave, Kevin and then me.
What were your early years like working as bus operators?
- Greg: Really good – I drove for six years before moving into management (Fond du Lac Station Division Manager)
- David: I enjoyed being a bus operator. I drove for 11 years at Fiebrantz Station before getting a promotion to Route Supervisor (Now Fond du Lac Station Supervisor).
- Kevin: It was tough coming in as an entry level Bus Operator but the hard work paid off (Now Assistant Director of Transportation).
- Mike: It was interesting meeting a variety of different people, and trying to stay on schedule to get passengers to where they need to be in a timely manner (Now Bus Operator – Fond du Lac Station).
How have you supported each other throughout your careers?
- Greg: Yes, three out of four of us are in Management today, which says a lot.
- David: We communicate mostly by phone and I now work at Fond du Lac Station with Greg.
- Kevin: I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with all of them and we’ve watched out for each other and supported each other.
- Mike: I learned from the others because they were here first.
Who is the “Yoda” (the wisest not the shortest) of the group?
- Greg: Not sure.
- David: Greg is.
- Kevin: Greg, HE KNOWS EVERYTHING.
- Mike: Kevin.
Who is the best-dressed?
- Greg: Of course, I am 😉
- David: I think we all are in competition with that title.
- Kevin: Although the others will try to claim they are, hands down it’s me.
- Mike: Me.
What’s the key to being a good friend?
- Greg: Good men each wanting to make the best life for their families. Staying real with yourself and each other (respect).
- David: Being honest, understanding and supportive to one another.
- Kevin: Always being there when needed. A good friend can listen to you and give advice when asked.
- Mike: Being there through the good times and the bad times.