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Team Member Spotlight: Stephen

Team Member Spotlight: Stephen
September 24, 2020 Jerry Vallely
Image of employee Stephen in front of the Cortex MetroLink Station

As a tour guide at the Gateway Arch National Park for the last eight years, Stephen has found a job that is a perfect fit for him at Bi-State Development.

It’s his dream job. A teacher at heart, Stephen always wanted to be a professor, but didn’t like the idea of dealing with grades. Fortunately, he’s been able to use the Gateway Arch National Park as his classroom – no grading needed – and he loves coming to work to interact with visitors and provide them with an incredible experience as he helps them learn everything there is to know about the Gateway Arch.

Being a tour guide at the Arch means wearing a lot of different hats. You will find Stephen greeting visitors and answering questions, sending the trams up and down the legs of the Arch, or giving tours to the guests and walking them through their journey to the top. During his time at BSD, Stephen has been recognized with the Customer Service Hero Award and has served as a tour guide trainer.

Stephen first realized that he enjoyed giving tours several years ago, during his work with the Clubhouse Independence Center in St. Louis, a community-based rehabilitation program for adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses in the St. Louis area. Their mission is to provide all the services and resources to help others manage symptoms, find belonging and purpose, and gain the independence to live a healthy, quality life. They help provide members with a transitional employment program, housing, and social activities, and also have an upscale resale shop.

He first became a member of the Clubhouse Independence Center in December 1992 and served on their Board of Directors for six years. Today, he is a Member Leader, and volunteers to train new members and staff, interviews new staff candidates, and helps with colleague training within the clubhouse network.

It was at the clubhouse that Stephen first started giving tours and realized that he enjoyed doing it (and was really good at them!) So, he looked to apply his talents elsewhere, and eventually found a home with the Gateway Arch.

Outside of work, Stephen enjoys reading about baseball, philosophy and science fiction, and writes essays, poems and stories of his own. He is also a chess player, and has even won prize money from chess tournaments.

And, Stephen likes to ride Metro Transit, and you can often find him on MetroLink or his favorite MetroBus route, the #10 Gravois-Lindell. Click here to read his passenger profile, and check out our Q&A below to learn more about Stephen.

Q&A with Stephen

What energizes you at work?
I like it when I make the visitors laugh or smile, when they say thank you. And when my supervisor tells me I did a good job.

What was your first job?
Dishwasher at Pope’s Cafeteria, but I actually only lasted one night there.

What is a secret talent you have?
I write short science fiction stories, autobiographical pieces, and philosophy essays. One day I would like to publish a book with all of my short stories.

As a frequent Metro Transit rider, have you noticed the changes to our Public Safety efforts?
I like seeing the security much more often than I have before.

What is your favorite way to spend your commute?
I used to like to read, but these days I like to sit and look out the window and look at the people around me. It is relaxing to ride MetroLink.

If you wrote a book about your life, what would you call it?
“My Rebirth” or “My Resurrection”

Next time you make a trip to the Arch, look for Stephen welcoming visitors and make sure to say hi!