INDIANAPOLIS — Although you might not know the name, you probably know the face of General Laborer Tyrone Rowan. Most often, you can see him around IndyGo properties, handling various maintenance duties, setting up for events, spreading his creative visions with flowers and holiday decorations and, most notably, assisting other IndyGo teammates when they’re in need. Rowan has an impeccable reputation around IndyGo, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by anyone, including President and CEO Inez Evans.
“Tyrone has a servant’s heart,” Evans said. “When we say IndyGo is a family, you think of Tyrone. If you’re in need inside or outside of this building, and it’s within his power, he will help.”
It’s for reasons like these, and much more, that he was recently nominated for the Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Awards, which honor non-managerial hospitality employees or volunteers who provide excellent customer service. His hardworking attitude, problem-solving abilities and helpful demeanor make him the epitome of an outstanding IndyGo teammate.
“Tyrone goes above and beyond to help others here at IndyGo,” Rowan’s supervisor, Director of Facilities Ed Parsley, said. “He’s a good example of what being an IndyGo employee should be about, always willing to give 110% at work, no matter the task. Tyrone takes pride in his work. He never shies away from it and will go to great lengths to make sure the given task or project gets done.”
Rowan said his motivation to work and help others is something he learned from his grandmother, who told him you should always go over and beyond what’s asked of you and never rely on someone else to push you. He also said knowing that others notice his efforts motivates him.
“When I hear Ms. Inez say that I have a servant’s heart, and when someone that high up is noticing me and the job I do, that makes me want to work even harder,” Rowan said. “It makes me feel really good that she thinks I shine like that.”
When Rowan isn’t doing favors for those around him, he enjoys many hobbies, including collecting and fixing cars, gardening and traveling.
Rowan said his love for cars began when he went to a junkyard with his stepfather to pull out a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle. At the time, Rowan was a child and didn’t know much about cars. Yet, he somehow managed to get the Beetle running after mimicking what he’d seen his stepfather do.
“He came running over to me all excited,” Rowan said. “I mean, we both were excited. And ever since then, I’ve liked Volkswagens.”
In addition to repairing and personalizing cars, Rowan also collects them. He currently has a 2008 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, two 1969 Volkswagen Beetles and a 1953 Plymouth, which he received from a schoolteacher who passed away.
His love of gardening was born from watching how his grandfather cared for plants. Rowan said he personally took more to planting flowers because of their colors, which remind him of his travels, like visiting his favorite place, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. But overall, he loves being outside, doing his yardwork and sitting near the pond he built.
In his teen years, Rowan worked at the Marriott hotel as a housekeeper, where he helped with banquets and learned how to set up large events. While employed at IndyGo, he also drove tour buses in his early 20s, which helped satisfy his longing to travel. The tours allowed him to take smaller trips to Chicago in addition to much larger trips, like when he ventured to Washington, D.C. for the Million Man March. He enjoyed driving the tour buses so much, he said if he wasn’t at IndyGo, he’d still be participating in the tours.
Rowan is a longtime employee of IndyGo, having held a variety of different job titles and performing a multitude of tasks over the 37 years he’s worked for the agency. Fulfilling a dream of his as a kid to work at a bus company, he started his career at what was then called “Metro.” He started as a duster and graffiti cleaner and then transitioned to other jobs such as an outside maintenance worker and shelter cleaner. As a shelter cleaner, Rowan received special recognition from the IDI Cleaning Advisory Committee of Indianapolis for his outstanding work in helping to keep the downtown IndyGo shelters clean.
“We all put the ‘go’ in IndyGo, no matter what your job is,” Rowan said with a nod of assurance. “We all just have different titles.”
Rowan said the fellowship of being nominated for a ROSE Award means a lot to him.
“People were coming up to me after the announcement and before the ceremony asking me, ‘are you going to win a ROSE Award?’” Rowan said. “But the fact that people thought of me enough and nominated me for the award makes me feel like I’ve already won.”
(Rowan with a few of the cars in his collection)
(Rowan in Gatlinburg, Tennessee)