As an Air Force officer, Jay Kammerer was responsible for overseeing the schedules and maintenance work for some reconnaissance planes.
In civilian life, he's put that experience to work. But now buses rather than military planes are the focus of his attention.
Since December, Kammerer has been the transit manager for the MIDAS Council of Governments in Fort Dodge. He's in charge of Dodger Area Rapid Transit in Fort Dodge; the Regional Transit Administration buses in Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties; and the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District buses.
''It's an important community service,'' Kammerer said. ''A lot of people don't realize how many individuals would be unable to get around without the transportation services we provide.''
''We touch a lot of lives and we provide a really good service to the community,'' he added.
Kammerer doesn't drive or repair buses. Instead, he hires and manages the people who do that. He also prepares the annual budgets. And his schedule is full of meetings with city and school officials.
Name: Jay Kammerer
Position: Transit manager, MIDAS Council of Governments
Office: MIDAS building, 530 First Ave. S.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays
How to reach him: 576-7183, ext. 217
Because the buses are a primary means of transportation for many elderly people, Kammerer became a member of the Senior Coalition and the Foster Grandparents Advisory Board. He also attends Webster County human services providers meetings at which representatives of various agencies discuss ideas.
''Every day is different because we have our hands in so many different things,'' Kammerer said.
Bad weather can really make for a different day on the job for him. During snowstorms last winter, Kammerer was out and about at 4:30 a.m., checking on road conditions.
The transit manager is a native of Albert Lea, Minn. He graduated from Albert Lea High School and attended Wartburg College in Waverly. After graduating from college, he worked for a couple of years before deciding he wanted to be in the Air Force. He enlisted and went to Officer Training School. Upon being commissioned as a second lieutenant, he trained as an aircraft navigator.
He was a navigator for RC-135 reconnaissance planes. Later, he became what the Air Force calls a scheduling officer.
Kammerer served in the military for 10 years, and for most of that time he was assigned to Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. He was a captain when he was discharged last year.
As he was looking for a civilian job, his in-laws in Fort Dodge sent him a help wanted ad announcing the transit manager vacancy. At first, he kind of laughed at the idea of seeking the job. But he changed his mind.
''The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good fit,'' he said.
Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org