After 41 years with First Transit Inc., one could easily say that area vice president Dennis Jensen knows a fair amount about public transit.
“I’m not allowed to retire,” jokes Jensen. “They won’t let me.” His good humor and his transit expertise are just two of the qualities that First Transit colleagues love about Jensen.
First Transit President Brad Thomas sees Jensen as reflective of the company’s core values. “Routinely, Dennis illustrates our company’s commitment to our customers and our dedication to safety. He sets the bar high and holds himself, as well as his colleagues, accountable to achieving high standards. Dennis is supportive of his First Transit colleagues and is highly regarded by them.”
Jensen’s demonstrated commitment to those First Transit values goes back to his early beginnings in public transit. Beginning his transit career at the age of 29, it took Jensen no time gaining industry attention. It wasn’t long before First Transit recruited him to manage an airport contract that the company had been awarded. “It was supposed to be a temporary assignment, but it lasted for three years,” laughs Jensen. “In fact,” he continues, “First Transit continues to manage that contract today.” He is modest in this statement. The fact is that every contract Jensen has been involved with during his 41-year tenure is still managed by First Transit.
Jensen has extensive experience in marketing and operations, as well as in labor negotiations, grievance and arbitration proceedings. He has had primary responsibility for transit capital improvement programs, including vehicle procurement; the construction of operation centers, as well as maintenance and transfer centers in Minnesota, Texas and Maryland.
As area vice president, Jensen oversees four managed transit systems within the Great Lakes region, even serving as general manager at the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA). Since 2001 Dennis has directed the procurement and administration of the DTA’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technology. He also manages systems in South Dakota and Texas.
Jensen earned his BFA degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy. He is a member and past president of the Minnesota Public Transit Association; a member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Urban and Rural Transit Association; and, serves as a Director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance. He also serves as a Governor Appointee and Vice Chair on the Citizens Board of Directors of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Congratulations go out to Dennis on his long and successful transit management career and his many contributions to First Transit.