They enjoy building models and greenhouses. They minister to the members of their church communities and help people with their taxes. They listen to music, read poetry, take photos and even enjoy good barbecue.
They represent over two centuries of driving experience. The operators who drive your bus are as unique as you, and all of them love driving and giving back to their community.
Meet your Operators of the Month for September and October 2023.
We love to hear from our riders about their operators! Please leave your comments about our drivers. Interested in becoming a transit operator? Visit “Start your Metro career” to explore well-paying positions with full benefits and a pension in transit operations, trades, rail operations, customer information and countless other fields.
(Information and photos provided by the operators)
Atlantic Base | September 2023: Mohamed Abdalla
Mohamed joined Metro in January 2017 as a part-time operator and went full-time in December 2017. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and nine commendations.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Mohamed graduated from Alexandria University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He joined Metro because he loves driving and always enjoys interacting with people.
Mohamed is married with three children ranging from university to elementary school. In his free time, he likes watching television and enjoying barbecue.
Mohamed’s advice to other operators: “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Passenger praise: “I really appreciate this driver for picking up the passengers and informing them of route changes!”
Atlantic Base | October 2023: Estifanos Yemane
Estifanos started at Metro in 1998 as a part-time operator and went full-time in 1999. He has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and four commendations.
Estifanos was born in Asmara, Eritrea where he attended Saint Mary High Asmara.
Married for 25 years, Estifanos has two sons and a daughter. In his free time, Estifanos enjoys art, music, and poetry.
Estifanos’ advice to other operators: “Be polite and courteous to everyone and every time.”
Passenger praise: “This driver is always so kind when I get on the bus. He’s a smooth driver, attentive to riders, and consistently on time. I’m always happy to see him when the doors open.”
Bellevue Base | September 2023: Paul DiazPaul started as a part-time operator in 2017 and went full-time a year later. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
On the recommendation of a friend, Paul joined Metro after working in the tech industry.
In his free time, Paul enjoys learning about history, playing board games, and tabletop role-playing party games.
Paul’s advice to other operators: “People are people – don’t forget that.”
Passenger praise: “He says good morning to every passenger in a very friendly and genuine voice!”
Bellevue Base | October 2023: Sergei Yakouta
Sergei joined Metro in 2007 as a part-time operator and went full-time in 2008. He has earned a multiple Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
Sergei was born in the country of Georgia. He and his wife enjoy traveling and hiking together. Sergei is also interested in photography, video, and computers.
Sergei’s advice to other operators: “Let’s adhere to traffic rules, be vigilant, and always strive for professionalism.”
Passenger praise: “This driver is working hard to get us all where we need to go through traffic and bad weather. Please thank him for all of us.”
Central Base | September 2023: Pamela Summy
Pamela joined Metro in 2017 as a part-time operator and has been full-time since 2022. She has earned several Safe Driver Awards and five commendations.
A Seattle native, Pamela has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and theology/spiritual studies from Seattle University. She joined Metro because she enjoys being a liaison for helping people.
Pamela is married with seven bunnies and a cat. She enjoys reading, dancing, and working out as well as spending time with family and friends.
Pamela’s advice to other operators:
“I try to be grateful as much as possible during the course of the day.”
Passenger praise: “The assertiveness and confidence in driving made me feel very comfortable in the trip and that I was going to successfully make it to my destination.”
Central Base | October 2023: Daryl Gibson
Daryl began as a part-time operator with Metro in 2004 and has been driving full-time since 2006. He has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and nine commendations.Daryl was born in Dunsmuir, Calif., where he attended Bethany Bible College.
He has two grown sons who always come home for Thanksgiving.
A self-described “die-hard Sounders fan, holding season tickets, Daryl is also a fan of all Seattle sports teams.
In his free time, Daryl enjoys riding bicycles and vintage motorbikes. He belongs to multiple motorbike clubs.
Daryl’s advice to other operators: “Be yourself! And try to be good at it.”
Passenger praise: “He is always so pleasant to everyone that gets on the bus. In addition, I feel safe. He waits until everyone is seated before taking off, and I appreciate that greatly.”
East Base | September 2023: John Abercrombie
John started as a part-time operator in 1996 and went full-time in 1998. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and five commendations.
John joined Metro after being referred by a driver using the comfort station at the building where he worked as a security officer.
John has been with his wife since 1982 and has five daughters, 19 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
In his time away from work, John enjoys leather crafts, building things for family, and serving his church.
John’s advice to other operators: “During major reroutes, keep passengers informed. Posted signs may be confusing and they may not see them.”
East Base | October 2023: Krishant Kumar
Kris joined Metro as a part-time operator in 2013 and went full-time in 2015. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
Born in Fiji, Kris attended Lynnwood High School where his senior project was about King County Metro! However, it wasn’t until after working for Southwest Airlines that he started with Metro, joining his brother, who’s currently a first-line supervisor.
Kris enjoys traveling, as well as watching and playing basketball.
Kris’ advice to other operators: “The mindset isn’t about seeking a result-it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach.”- quote from Kobe Bryant
Passenger praise: “Great driver. Always kind, safe, professional, and uplifting. Helps old ladies with directions all the time.”
North Base | September 2023: Kenneth Dunn
Starting as a part-time operator in 2007, Ken has been behind the wheel full-time since 2015. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and several commendations.
Born in Salinas, Calif., Ken spent most of his adult life as a computer consultant for large-scale manufacturing software. He joined Metro to interact with other people.
In his free time, Ken enjoys skydiving and scuba diving.
Ken’s advice to other operators: “Respect your coworkers and don’t be ‘the other driver’.”
Passenger praise: “The driver is very friendly and always smiles and says good morning!”
Ghazi was born in Tehran, Iran, and brought his family to the United States in 2014. He joined Metro because he enjoys being around people and supporting them.
In his free time, Ghazi enjoys home improvement. His projects including building a greenhouse.
Ghazi’s advice to other operators: “Good things come from positive thinking, talking, and then acting.”
Passenger praise: “Really appreciate my driver for being so friendly and warm with every passenger who boarded and left.”
Ryerson Base | September 2023: Johnny George
Johnny has been a part-time operator since 2006. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and seven commendations.
Johnny joined Metro because he saw an opportunity. Johnny has served three years on the Base Safety Committee.
Married with three children and one grandchild, when Johnny’s not driving, he enjoys fishing, coaching basketball and baseball.
Johnny’s advice to other operators: “Keep your head up. People do appreciate what we do.”
Passenger praise: “He was patient, kind, and resourceful. I’m very happy that such knowledgeable, kind drivers work for Metro!”
Ryerson Base | October 2023: Joseph Rettenmaier
Joseph joined Metro in 2017 as part-time operator. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and five commendations.
Joseph joined Metro because he wanted to be of service to the city’s community.
Joseph holds a master’s degree in divinity. He was ordained as a parish minister in 2021 and currently serves his congregation in Everett part-time.
Joseph’s advice to other operators: “Welcome all customers with a quick greeting and nine times out of ten, you’ll all enjoy a happy, respectful ride.”
Passenger praise: “The driver was welcoming when we got on the bus, thoughtful in waiting for us to take a seat before continuing from the stop and took special care to wish us well when we got off the bus.”
South Base | September 2023: Tom Armon
Tom has been with Metro since 2007 as a part-time operator. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and one commendation.
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Tom graduated from Cornwell College with a degree in Communications and Ashworth College with an associate degree in paralegal studies.
As a part-time operator, Tom dedicates his full-time job to his tax services business: Tax Gallery LLC.
Tom is an Army veteran and is widowed with three grown children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, water sports, music, traveling and coaching/mentoring youth.
Tom’s advice to other operators: “Follow the three S’ (Safety, Service, Schedule), don’t get in a hurry and treat others the way you like to be treated.”
Passenger praise: “The driver did a really good job of informing an agitated passenger about the rules. The driver stayed calm and did not escalate the situation.”
South Base | October 2023: Ted DerheimTed started at Metro in 1998 as a part-time operator and has been full-time since April 2002. He has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
Ted was born and raised in Helena, Mont. When he and his family moved to the Seattle area, Ted joined Metro, because he liked a profession that allowed him to be home every night.
Ted loves spending time with his wife and two children. In his spare time Ted enjoys model building.
Ted’s advice to other operators: “Smile”
Passenger praise: “My driver was nice and made sure that I crossed safely, which means a lot since I’m visually impaired.”
Every month, operators from King County Metro’s seven transit bases select an Operator of the Month. Each operator recognized demonstrates safe driving skills, is courteous and helpful, and pays conscientious attention to attendance appearance and discipline.
Please join us in congratulating them. Our Operators of the Month later vote on who among them will be chosen as Metro’s Operator of the Year!