Duane “Paul” Lundgren is retired now. Well, semi-retired really considering he is active in many pursuits. Paul has kept a busy dance card, quite literally, as a ballroom dance student and instructor in addition to his voice talent work after a 34-year career with Metro Transit.
It’s clear to see Paul enjoys people, has an easygoing nature, is passionate about teaching and is open to new opportunities down unknown roads. While putting himself through broadcast school, he took a job right out of high school driving school bus for eight years before he joined Metro Transit.
“I got my broadcasting degree and FCC license, but knew a radio career would require moving around to various markets and working my way up,” said Paul. “I had kids and didn’t want to be away from them. I stuck with Metro Transit because I liked what I did and I was good at driving a bus.”
In fact, Paul was so good at driving a bus that he was one of the first mentors in the Metro Transit mentoring program and was selected as an instructor for other drivers. He even entered the International Bus Roadeo, a competition of driving skills, and had a perfect safety record – a feat less than 3% of bus and truck drivers achieve.
So, what does it take to be a great bus driver? Good driving skills are essential in addition to patience and good customer service skills. Perhaps most important is the need to not let stuff bother you. “There were times when customers would call you a name or riders would be inebriated. You had to have a hard shell to let the tough stuff bounce right off you.”
Fortunately, Paul had ballroom dancing as an outlet to shed any frustrations of the day. His passion for dancing started about 20 years ago when ladies at a club told him he had a good sense of rhythm and should join them at dance class. He took them up on the offer and literally stumbled into dancing. “I was a klutz when I started beginner classes. My head and feet weren’t talking with each other and I was really uncoordinated.”
Within a few months, Paul joined the intermediate classes and was hooked on ballroom dancing. After a while, Paul started teaching classes while he continued his own advanced dance lessons. “I teach beginner and intermediate classes, so if you want to appear on Dancing with the Stars, I’ll need to refer you to another instructor.”
Paul found teaching dancing was a fun part-time way to earn income during retirement. “I have just as much fun as my students and am a bit sad when the session is over. I love teaching people of all skill levels. When I started I had 17 left feet, so if a complete klutz like me can learn and become an instructor, anyone can learn to dance.”
In his spare time, Paul also pursues work for commercials and corporate videos through his voice talent business where he has narrated ads as well as health and training videos. “I would love to achieve the status of having such a recognizable voice like James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman.”
One place where they instantly know his voice? The Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union branch in Coon Rapids. “If I call the branch, they’re like, ‘Hi, Paul, I knew it was you.’ And whenever I walk into the branch, I feel like Norm from the TV show Cheers. They’ll call out my name, ‘Hey, Paul.’”
Paul has been a member of Affinity Plus for more than 15 years. “Everyone with Affinity Plus has been wonderful and so helpful with my questions. I’ve had a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan with them in the past and I recently talked with one of their financial advisors about purchasing a new vehicle as well as some home improvement projects. He let me know I was on the right path to minimize the amount I’d have to finance in order to stay on track with my retirement budget.”
Affinity Plus technology has also been there for Paul’s financial needs. “I love that I can set up and label a number of accounts according to how I want to save money – Christmas, car, escrow, house maintenance and more. It really helps me save for life’s planned and unplanned adventures.”