School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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Page 43 of 77

42 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 Kellie Dean President/CEO Dean Transportation/Dean Trailways of Michigan Lansing, Michigan How did you get your start in the school bus industry? My career began as a teacher and administrator in special-ed- ucation programs for Lansing Public Schools. During my career, I was the director of the area Special Olympics as well as the ad- ministrator for the physically or otherwise health impaired and hearing impaired programs in the area. Mr. Lyle Stephens, own- er of Special Transportation, recruited me to come and join him in business. After completing nearly 15 years as a school em- ployee, I entered private business with Lyle to assist him in his business, which was providing door-to-door special-education transportation services for persons with disabilities. Current job duties? As president and CEO, I oversee the fnancial status of the business and our training and education and HR programs, pur- chasing and fnancing vehicles, supporting the overall well-be- ing of nearly 2,000 employees, and fulflling the responsibilities as the owner, leader and partner with over 125 school districts throughout the state. Top achievement? Without question, my family, and most importantly my two sons, Patrick and Christopher, who have both joined me as business partners. Most interesting place you've been? I was honored to be invited as part of a delegation from the Mich- igan National Guard and traveled to Riga, Latvia. My role was to con- sult with the Latvian government in matters of transportation. Fol- lowing this great experience, Dean Transportation donated a lift- equipped school bus with wheel- chair tie-downs to an emerging special-education school and shipped it to Riga from Michigan. We were told this was the frst lift-equipped vehicle of its kind to trans- port handicapped students in the country. Something people would be surprised to learn about you? I was recruited to Michigan State University to play football in the early '70s. Our captain and teammate John Shinsky became my dearest, lifelong friend. John was an orphan. His mission in life was to give back by building an orphanage. I've been assist- ing John in his effort to build the orphanage in Matamoros, Mex- ico. We have nearly 60 abandoned, homeless children. Besides housing, the orphanage provides schooling. Nicole Portee Executive Director of Transportation Services Denver Public Schools, Denver How did you get your start in the school bus industry? I got my start after my kids started in middle school. I wanted to play a more active role in their education. Since I'd worked in the transportation industry for 13 years at United Parcel Ser- vice, I decided to stay in the industry but in school bus transpor- tation. An opportunity arose, and I accepted the role of training manager in 2003 and have successfully been able to support my students and play a huge role in making a difference in student transportation in the district. Current job duties? I oversee the entire Denver Public Schools (DPS) transporta- tion operation. While all of my duties are important, the top one for me is providing leadership and oversight for the 550-plus employees and 38,000 students we transport. My daily duties include interaction/communication with staff, students, school leaders, board members and community to bring about greater awareness of the services we provide. I particularly work to- ward developing and implementing operational service agree- ments and work from strategic plans to drive effectiveness and effciency within our operation. Top achievements? I was a teen mother and was told that I would not be able to have a successful career as a result. Because of this very state- ment, I was deter- mined to reach my goals. After success- fully working two jobs and putting my- self through college, I've become an ex- ample to other teen moms that you can become whatever you put your heart to. I have served in many leadership roles, with "Mom" being my greatest achievement. My three children, Tramayne, Quin- cy and Breona, are the reason I live. I now have three wonder- ful grandsons, Quinn, Elija and Tahj, whom I am thankful for every day. Outside interests? Traveling, singing, shopping and spending time with my wonderful husband, children and grandchildren. Most interesting or strangest job you've had? My most interesting job was working part-time while in school at a food bank, where I often heard personal stories of success and failures. That had an impact on my life journey. Kellie Dean (right) is pictured here with orphanage founder and friend John Shinsky at an NFL Hall of Fame golf event for the Shinsky Orphanage. Nicole Portee (third from left)'s family in- cludes (from left) son Tramayne, grandson Elija, husband David, daughter Breona, son Quincy, grandson Quinn and grandson Tahj (not pictured). Born: Pontiac, Michigan Home: Lansing, Michigan Years in industry: 29 Born: Tulsa, Oklahoma Home: Denver Years in industry: 11 Fascinating Personalities

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