Member of BLET Division 333 voted quintessential American worker

When the votes were tallied, the working people of America picked a BLET member, a Harley riding father of three from Minnesota, as the quintessential American Worker for 2008.

Brother Jason Lehnen, a Union Pacific locomotive engineer and member of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 333 in St. Paul, Minn., was announced the winner of the online contest on January 7. Brother Lehnen, 33, has worked for the UP for the past four years, joining the BLET on March 1, 2005. Prior to that he was a Harley Davidson motorcycle mechanic for four years, and said that he "proudly served as a United States Marine" for six years.

The "Search for the American Worker 2" competition was sponsored by The Working Person's Store of Lakeville, Ind., and Carolina Shoe Company.

Brother Lehnen won a $1,000 gift certificate from The Working Person's Store and the Carolina Shoe Company, which he will use to purchase new clothes and shoes from their website.

"He'll be getting a complete head to toe rework of his work wear," said Eric Deniger, CEO of The Working Person's Store.

The father of three daughters, he enjoys spending time with his family, riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and working out. The couple's youngest daughter was born in October.

Brother Lehnen said his wife, Jenna, entered him into the contest. He was selected as a finalist by a pool of judges from The Working Person's Store and Carolina Shoe Company. The winner was determined by an online vote at, and he needed the help of his railroad co-workers to win the contest.

Lehnen said members of Division 333 set up a website encouraging as many railroaders as possible to vote for him, and that even some UP managers supported him by circulating the website to other UP managers in Omaha, Neb.

The railroad community helped Brother Lehnen win the online voting contest and the $1,000 gift certificate.

"I want to thank my wife for entering me into the contest and my union Brothers and Sisters who voted for me," he said.

A road engineer, Lehnen normally runs trains from St. Paul, Minn., to Mason City, Iowa, or to St. James, Minn. Each run is approximately 132 miles.

"The most rewarding aspect of my job is in knowing that I am a part of the long standing tradition of the Union Pacific Railroad," Lehnen said. "American jobs for the American people."

He said he was first drawn to The Working Person's Store website because he wanted to buy American-made clothes for work. While he hasn't spent the entire $1,000 voucher yet, he said that nearly everything he's ordered has been made by American companies and/or made in the U.S.A He also plans to use part of his winnings to buy something for his wife.

"Without her I wouldn't have been in the contest," he said.



© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen