Patrick T.

Patrick T.Where do you work and what is your role at the company?

I am the production manager at Sekisui Aerospace (formerly AIM Aerospace) in Sumner.

How do you get to work?

I’m the driver of our Pierce Transit vanpool, which started in late summer 2019. Most of our six riders meet at my house in Centralia. Then we make two stops on our way north to Sumner: the Grand Mound park and ride, and Farm Boy restaurant in Little Rock.

How long is your commute?

Our morning drive is about an hour and 15 minutes. Going south, it’s usually one and a half to two hours.

When did you start ride sharing?

Initially I rounded up people to carpool to our facility in Auburn; we drove a Prius. When we opened the Sumner location, our leaders reached out to Pierce Transit about starting a vanpool.

What’s the benefit to the vanpool?

We’re always looking to hire great people, and the vanpool is a nice employee benefit. The company covers the cost—it’s free for employees to ride. The vanpool expands the geographic reach of where we can recruit new workers. It’s a tremendous help to people who otherwise wouldn’t come this way for work because of the commute.

What do you tell people about being a vanpool driver?

I like it! You have someone to talk to, rather than being in the car alone. Driving the van isn’t much different than driving a car or truck. Our guys like being able to sleep. And it doesn’t cost them anything!