Executive Operations Director Marie Olson talks with staff at the Pioneer Square Station center platform.
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Executive Operations Director Marie Olson talks with staff at the Pioneer Square Station center platform.

Inside Sound Transit: Leading the way to rail expansions

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We here at The Platform thank all of our Link light rail riders for your patience as we close out the first month of reduced Link light rail service during the Connect 2020 construction to integrate light rail from the Eastside with the existing line.

Planning for this work goes back several years as our Engineering/Construction and Operations departments ironed out plans to keep the trains running while major construction is happening in and around the International District-Chinatown Station (IDS).

Marie Olson, Executive Operations Director, has been in the thick of this planning work.

The 37-year-old Montana native leads the Link light rail operations team responsible for planning and implementing the reduced Link schedule to accommodate the 24/7 construction work at IDS.

“Making Connect 2020 work has been a huge team effort,” Olson said. “I’m proud of how well our operators and the entire agency has come together to keep trains rolling through an active construction site.”

And she’s this month’s “Inside Sound Transit,” guest. It’s our regular feature introducing you to the people working to make it easier to get to where you live, work and play.

Before joining Sound Transit in 2014, Olson worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for ten years in multiple transportation roles around the country.

She started at Sound Transit as the Link Transportation Manager and today is in charge of the Transit Expansion division in the Operations department.

Executive Operations Director Marie Olson on the Pioneer Square Station center platform.
Olson on the Pioneer Square Station center platform.

Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?

A: Well, I tell my son (3-years-old) I help run the trains. I tell my friends I am in light rail operations, helping the light rail to grow successfully throughout the Puget Sound and I work for the most awesome, mission-driven agency there is!

Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?

A: I’m a home body. I prefer spending the day with my family. Plus I have to work out often to keep up with my 3-year-old, who is getting faster day by day.

Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit? 

A: Work-life balance, doing something larger than myself, AND (not gonna lie) my spouse was working here at the time so commuting in with her was awesome. (She has since left for a new job elsewhere, so maybe I am not that great to commute with.)

Q: How do you get to work?

A: King County Metro 214, Sound Transit 554, or my car on days when off-site meetings and daycare get tricky. 

Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?

A: I watch a LOT of Naked and Afraid, so pretty much an expert here - 1) fire starter, 2) some sort of knife (mostly to look cool) & 3) a bed - with a 3-year-old it may be the best sleep I’ve gotten in the last few years.

Interested in being part of the team that's planning and building once-in-a-generation new rail lines? We're hiring!

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