Meet Derek Olson, a builder in the shop here at ZBAG for over a year.

“My brother works at ZBAG, and he told me what a great place it is,” Derek recalled. He’d been working construction jobs, beginning with eight or nine years of roofing, and then two years of commercial construction that was mostly concrete work, such as footings and poured walls and floors, but included other interior work.

Derek liked the various aspects of construction work, and enjoyed being able to do side jobs for people to help them out and make some money on the side. “I just recently remodeled a kitchen,” he noted. “I did the demo, and installed new cabinets and flooring—it was fun.”

But Derek was looking for more stability in his job situation. “With union work, there were always layoffs,” he said, “and you had to go where the work was.” When he began his employment here, Taylor trained him to tear down transfer cases, then to build them: the 246, 273, 271, and others. “Now they’ve got me doing manual transmissions, the Mazda built F150s and Rangers.”

Derek has always worked on his own vehicles. His first car was a Delta 88. “I changed the manual transmission in my dad’s garage,” he recalled. And now, Derek admits gets a lot of satisfaction each day when he comes to the shop, gets a work order, puts on his headphones, and works with his hands.

During his free time, if Derek loves spending time with his family, especially outdoors near water. He goes kayaking on the Zumbro River, from Zumbrota to Zumbro Falls, and enjoys trout fishing in area streams. “I like to go early and get the first ones to bite,” he comments. Camping, along with hunting pheasant, deer and turkeys round out his recreational activities.