Archived Story

Progress 2011: The Sweeper

Published 11:30am Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hero: Tim Donahue

Secret identity: heavy equipment operator

Tim Donahue, an Albert Lea Street Department employee, stands in front of the street sweeper he operates during the spring, summer and fall. He has worked in the department for 37 years. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Base of operations: Albert Lea Street Department

Superpowers: trying to do his job to the best of his ability and trying to perform his job duties the right way

Kryptonite: his mechanical abilities, fixing equipment

Affiliations: wife, Pat; daughter, Deb; son, Ryan; grandchildren Kasey and Tanner

Origin: Donahue, who has worked for the city of Albert Lea for 37 years, is the most senior heavy equipment operator in the city. He operates a front end loader, a motor grader and a sweeper. He is also trained in chip sealing and crack filling.

He sweeps city streets in the spring, summer and fall and plows alleys and parking lots in the winter, among other responsibilities.

He said it takes him a full shift for him to plow the alleys, and he is often called in to work at 2 or 4 a.m. in the winter with the regular snowplowers. Safety is always a top priority.

Donahue has lived in Albert Lea his entire life except for three years.

2,300
average number of miles Donahue sweeps in Albert Lea from March through November

13
parking lots Donahue plows in the winter

6 1/2
hours it takes Donahue to plow the alleys after each snowfall