28 years of commuting, carpooling and good conversation
HealthPartners colleagues say they’ve both made a great friend in each other – and saved thousands
In 1988, the average price of a new car was $10,400 and people were paying around $1.47 at the pump for a gallon of gas. Today, the price of a new vehicle has soared to more than $33,000 and gas has been teetering around $2.30 a gallon.
One thing hasn’t changed too much, though. HealthPartners co-workers Tim Hunecke and Todd Quist are still making the daily commute from their hometown of Hastings. And they are still doing it together.
Tim and Todd are dedicated carpoolers. Tim is HealthPartners’ director of Health Plan Systems Information Services. And Todd is a consulting analyst in our Information Services and Technology (IS&T) department. They make the 28-mile commute together about 3 to 4 times a week.
According to some calculations by their IS&T colleagues, the carpooling duo has saved more than 395,000 miles in gas. And with their savings in vehicle wear and tear, they guess that they have saved a car each!
HealthPartners is committed to caring for the places where we live and work so we can provide a healthier and cleaner community for our employees, members, patients and future generations. So we give Tim and Todd huge kudos for carpooling and slashing their fuel emissions almost in half!
Among all the great things they’ve gained through carpooling, Tim and Todd say they value the relationship they’ve formed with each other most.
“We work in the same department. So when we talk about our days during the drive, we can understand what the other one is talking about. We share the same lingo, and we both know the unique challenges of the job,” Todd said. “I learn a lot about from what Tim does in management. It’s been great to have insight into how he thinks and the decisions he’s making.”
Through the years, they have also bonded over Minnesota sports. In fact, that was the icebreaker for them initially.
“Each morning, we start out with KQRS. Then we switch it over to WCCO for their local sports update. And then we switch it to Mike and Mike in the morning or ESPN. That’s the lineup that gets us into work,” Tim said. “We’re definitely hometown fans. And I’m not sure what’d be like if we didn’t have that connection.”
Friendship and flexibility
Because they’ve formed a solid friendship, Tim and Todd have been able to overcome some of the challenges that may come with carpooling. They say flexibility and open communication are what is key.
“Even if I got sick or had to go home in the middle of the day, Tim’s always been flexible to pull himself off of his schedule and go home. That flexibility is huge,” Todd said. “And if we know ahead of a scheduling conflict, we just plan on driving separate that day.”
Plus, knowing that their carpool partner needs to be at work at a certain time motivates the other to get up and get going in the morning.
Carpooling tips for beginners
Both Tim and Todd know carpooling can seem like a difficult or even intimidating routine to get started on. But they encourage others to at least give it a try.
“I would say try it even though you may be unsure of how it’s going to work or how convenient it’s going to be,” Tim said. “But once you get into it, it will actually seem strange when you don’t come into work with someone.”