School Bus Fleet

September 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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industry news 14 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4 Top school bus drivers, contractors honored CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Nation- al School Transportation Association (NSTA) hosted the 44th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Com- petition here in July, and saw a mix of familiar faces and new winners in the top rankings of each category. On July 19, 100 contestants began with a written exam testing their un- derstanding of the rules of the road. The next day, drivers got behind the wheel of a school bus and completed the road course, competing in one of three categories: conventional, small bus or transit. "The safety competition is our best event of the year as it recognizes the outstanding drivers that transport children safely every day," NSTA Pres- ident Tim Flood said. Here are the top contestants by category: SMALL BUS 1. Russell Altizer of Montgomery County Public Schools in Chris- tiansburg, Virginia 2. Lisa Loring of Mid-Columbia Bus Co. in Toledo, Oregon 3. Chris Helmer of Portland Public Schools in Portland, Oregon CONVENTIONAL (TYPE C) 1. Ed Rollins of Harrison County Schools in Clarksburg, West Virginia 2. Gene Thrasher of Bend-La Pine Schools in Bend, Oregon 3. Billy Wiseman from Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia TRANSIT (TYPE D) 1. Mark Miller of Bellingham (Wash.) Public Schools 2. John Welsh of Lower Merion School District in Ardmore, Pennsylvania 3. Angelica Ortiz of Allen (Texas) Inde- pendent School District For full results from the 2014 School Bus Driver International Safety Com- petition, go to www.yellowbuses.org and click "Safety Competition." Also during NSTA's gathering in Charleston, the association presented annual industry awards. "We are very proud of the dedica- tion and commitment this year's hon- orees have displayed to the industry," Flood said. "Each, in their own way, has left a lasting contribution on the school transportation industry, and we commend them for their efforts." Here are the award recipients: • Outstanding Driver Service Award: Alfred "Al" Lewis of First Student Inc. in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. • Go Yellow, Go Green Award: The Trans Group LLC of Spring Valley, New York. • Hall of Fame Award: Robert "Bob" Pudlewski of Fleet Ops Consulting LLC in Orchard Park, New York. • Thomas Built Buses Continuing Education Grant: Justin P. Olson of GO Riteway Transportation Group in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. • Meritorious Service Award: Bill Loshbough of Execuwest Consul- tants in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NSTA also presented its Golden Merit Award to 10 recipients and rec- ognized members who achieved lev- els of certifcation in the association's Green School Bus Fleet Certifcation Program. Also, Student Transportation Inc. CEO Denis Gallagher was named SCHOOL BUS FLEET's Contractor of the Year (see story on pg. 32). At this year's School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, 100 contestants competed in one of three categories: conventional, small bus (pictured) or transit. NSTA President Tim Flood (left) presented Robert "Bob" Pudlewski of Fleet Ops Consulting with the Hall of Fame Award. Act. EPA provided $2 million in 2012 for school bus pur- chase rebates, and the program received more than 1,000 applications for the 28 awards made. Rebates provide access to funding for the purchase of new vehicles with a minimum of red tape, NSTA offcials said. With the reduced administrative bur- den, awards are made quickly using a random selection process. EPA anticipates starting the process in the fall, with awards following quickly thereafter. The funds are available to state, local and privately contracted school bus operators. "We are pleased to see that the EPA found this program as successful as we did," NSTA President Tim Flood said. "The ease in the administrative burden cre- ates a better environment for all, allow- ing for more money to be available for the purchase of newer, cleaner buses." To get updates about the 2014 rebate program, go to www.epa.gov/clean diesel/dera-rebate-schoolbus14.htm. For more news from NSTA's annual meeting, see story above. cont. from page 11 The Environmental Protection Agency will provide another $3 million in rebates for the purchase of new school buses.

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