Displaying a strong commitment to service excellence and lifting of industry standards, Barry Stock, senior vice president of Stock Transportation Ltd., was named SBF's Contractor of the Year. Stock, who became the 30th recipient of the award, was honored in July at the National School Transportation Association's (NSTA's) annual convention in Portland, Ore. Stock Transportation, based in Aurora, Ontario, operates approximately 1,500 school buses in Ontario and Nova Scotia and has garnered the respect of Canadian competitors as well as counterparts in the United States. "Barry understands in order to succeed in the next millennium you have to have a competency that distinguishes your company from any other," says Terry Thomas, president of Special Busing Inc. in Youngstown, Ohio. "He has a commitment to excellence, and he doesn't just use it as a buzz word." Meeting the needs of his customers is Stock's fundamental concern. "As we see it, the customer is the child that we deliver to and fro every day," Stock says. "We provide contracted student transportation service with an emphasis on service." Thomas points to Stock's innovative ideas as one of the major reasons for his success. For example, to measure his company's performance, Stock sets up and maintains specific benchmarks. "He is in the business of doing the right things the right way," Thomas says. Stock Transportation's commitment to excellence doesn't prevent it from being competitive in today's down-sized business environment. According to Thomas, Stock's goal is to create such an efficient maintenance program that he can raise his bus-to-mechanic ratio to 70. "That dropped people's heads on the table in Portland," Thomas says. "We usually feel really good at 30 to 35. Now it sounds like he is just trying to save money, but the reality is that he passes the savings on to the school districts. It's a young, enthusiastic, organized, lean team. You don't see a lot of people, and you certainly don't see people with nothing to do." Roots back to 1958
The company has its roots in Stock Brothers Bus Line, which Barry's father and uncle founded in 1958. Travel Ways bought the company in 1968, but the brothers founded a second company, Stockway Transportation, in 1979. Today, Stock Transportation exists as an amalgamation of school bus companies that began with Stockway Transportation. Industry participation is a key concern at Stock Transportation. Vice President Dan Stock is a past president of the Ontario School Bus Association, while Barry is a member of NSTA. The company is also involved with several education associations. "Community relations is a key component of our mission," Barry Stock says. "We give back on an annual and ongoing basis to charities. We give not only financial resources, but we also believe in giving our human resources. A lot of our drivers and management staff members are personally involved."