Tim Pearson recently was named “Ambassador of the Year” among his 80 or so colleagues who patrol 120 blocks for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID), the nonprofit business funded mostly by downtown property owners.
The four-year-old nonprofit works to make downtown a better, cleaner, safer place for businesses, employees and residents.
Last year, DID ambassadors, who are paid $13.42 per hour plus benefits after a year on the job, assisted nearly 120,000 pedestrians, collected more than 1 million pounds of trash and recyclables, tended to thousands of trees and plants and shoveled a lot of walks. Crime is trending down, thanks partly to their pro¬active work with citizens and the police.
Q: What do you do during a typical day downtown?
A: We meet and greet people. We consider ourselves the eyes and ears of downtown. We will carry bags to cars for shoppers, help them find their car or the bus stop or a taxi … or a restaurant.
We are visible in our bright caps and coats. And we like to think that we also deter crime. We work with the police. We contact our dispatcher if we see anything suspicious. And they contact the police and take it from there. In the summer, there are more people on the streets downtown, in the better weather and during the baseball season. We also use the pressure washers to keep sidewalks clean and we’re maintaining flowers and shrubs. I like working with people more than plants, but it’s all part of the job of keeping up downtown.
Q: Did the award come as a surprise?
A: A welcome surprise. I intend to do a good job every day. It’s easy to do the job if you like your job, and this fits me to a T. I like to communicate. I grew up in this town. I care about downtown. And I like people. That’s important to be successful in this job.