When Lenny Moen took one his favorite groups on its annual trip to soak up some Icelandic heritage, the Voigt's Bus Service driver didn't immediately realize just how special the trip was — during the outing, Moen hit a million career miles.
Moen hit the milestone on July 30 on his way to Grand Forks from Minneapolis. He was driving his favorite coach, the MCI® E4500 that is assigned primarily to him. True to form, he didn't even notice the odometer achievement, focusing instead on the Icelanders in his care. "It's like having a birthday," says Moen. "It's just another thing in life."
Moen also points out that his million miles only date back to 1992, and he's been driving for Voigt's since 1973 — the earlier records have been lost. "One of the reasons I've stayed is because they're a total MCI company," says Moen. "I prefer MCIs. Some of it is what you're used to, and some things you just like — to me, the feel is better in the MCIs."
Moen joined Voigt's Bus Service in St. Cloud, Minnesota, after serving in the United States Navy from 1969 to 1972. He worked for Voigt's part-time until 1982, when he left to follow his wife, Josie, as she pursued her U.S. Air Force career. They returned to the area upon her early retirement, and Moen returned to Voigt full-time in 1992.
"He's one of our shining stars," says Troy Voigt, who heads the company. "When he came to us, we knew we wanted him. We didn't have a position for him right away, so we put him in a temporary spot in the shop until a driver's spot opened up."
Moen has driven just about every model Voigt's has owned, starting with the company's 1953 Flxible. He later drove MC-8s, MC-9s and other MCI models. He says he gets a lot of compliments on his current MCI E4500, which he also favors for its handling and turning radius. "Most groups are impressed," says Moen. In addition to all of its luxury touches, Moen's E4500 is festooned with trees, loons and other bits of northern scenery. "Every driver knows where that coach is," says Moen. "It's easy to spot, and the design makes people take notice."
Moen says some of his favorite groups, like his million-mile Icelanders, are those from other countries. "They're more apt to appreciate the simple things," says Moen. "They actually enjoy how flat the land is. They're interested in Native American information. They're excited to see a buffalo in a pasture."
Voigt also hauls his share of college students and senior citizens, and he especially appreciates the E4500's easy-boarding spiral stairway for the latter.
On his million-mile achievement, he's matter-of-fact. "I never thought this would be a lifelong job for me, but I always enjoyed driving a bus."
These days, he also has company. His son, Tim, also drives for Voigt's (another son, Neal, is in another line of work).
"It's enjoyable to go out and drive a bus and meet up with him at a destination," says Moen.
Whether or not Moen goes for another million miles, it's a sure bet he'll continue to go all out for his company and his passengers.
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