When Ethiopian-born Tashitaa Tufaa lost his civil service position with the Minneapolis Housing Authority in 2003, he saw two possible directions: either go back to his former job as a bus driver, or take a leap of faith and start his own bus company instead.
Fortunately for himself and the 200 people he now employs, he took the entrepreneurial option.
Tufaa brought in family members to help run the business, Metropolitan Transportation Network
, and began garnering contracts with public and private schools, steadily growing the Coon Rapids-based company over the years.
"We seem to grow faster every year," he says. "We stay on top of it by working day and night, and also by empowering our management team. They're responsible for big decisions, instead of everything coming from me. I think that builds trust."
With more contracts coming in and expansion into other communities like Crystal and St. Cloud, Tufaa expects to hire at least 50 more people in the next year. He also anticipates that buying more vehicles, broadening the current fleet of 300, and constructing a new building on a six-acre lot in Fridley should help in the effort.
"We're excited by the opportunities that we see ahead," says Tufaa. "We want to start providing public transportation in different cities, that's a major goal. In the meantime, we're just going to work hard and provide excellent service."
Source: Tashitaa Tufaa, Metropolitan Transportation Network
Writer: Elizabeth Millard