Blake Krapf (center) receives the Contractor of the Year award from SBF Publisher Frank Di Giacomo. At left is NSTA President Donnie Fowler.
Blake Krapf is now CEO of his family's business, Krapf Bus Companies, but he certainly had to work his way up to that spot.
Krapf first came to work for the company scrubbing buses when he was 12 years old. During his high school years, he did bus maintenance and repair work after school. When he graduated, he got his CDL and drove his first routes and trips.
After college and two years as a nighttime supervisor and bus driver at Telluride Transit in Colorado, Krapf returned to Pennsylvania and the family business in 1994.
Now, more than 15 years later, Krapf has become an integral member of national and state school transportation associations, as well as in the success of Krapf Bus Companies.
For his exemplary efforts at the local, state and national levels, Krapf has been named SCHOOL BUS FLEET's 2010 Contractor of the Year.
SBF Publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the annual award to Krapf, the 43rd recipient, at the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) Annual Meeting and Convention in St. Louis in late July.
Growing with the company
When Krapf rejoined Krapf Bus Companies in 1994, he became a supervisor for George Krapf Jr. and Sons, the school bus division. (The company's other divisions provide charter, public transit and shuttle services.)
Krapf, who is in the third generation of the family since the company was founded in 1942, continued to move up the ranks. In 2006, he was named to his current positions of CEO of Krapf Bus Companies and president of the school bus division.
Krapf has led the business through significant growth in recent years. Last year, he secured a groundbreaking contract to privatize a school district operation in Virginia, Roanoke City Public Schools. Before that, all districts in the state ran their own operations.
"I think it absolutely is historic," Dale Krapf, Blake's father and chairman of the board, says of the Roanoke conversion. “It opens new doors to us and other contractors. In this economy, there are lots of eyes on how we do there, and it has gone very well.”
This year, George Krapf Jr. and Sons moved up to No. 8 in SBF’s Top 50 Contractors list, which is ranked by fleet size. The company now runs nearly 1,200 school buses, transporting about 100,000 students daily in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware.
Blake Krapf has served for several years on the NSTA board of directors as an at-large delegate. He also chairs the association’s membership committee. In that role, Krapf has overseen the creation of first-time attendee orientations for the annual convention and new board member orientations. Additionally, Krapf has led efforts to bring in new benefits for members of the association.
Blake Krapf’s kids, (from left) Sierra, Sage, Ella and Logan, congratulate their dad on his award.
“He’s an active and sincere board member that constantly strives to understand and deliver what is best for our membership,” says Tim Flood, secretary-treasurer of NSTA.
At the state level, Krapf is a key figure in the Pennsylvania School Bus Association. He is currently second vice president and chairs the association’s safety committee. And he recently served on the transportation committee of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.
Krapf is also active in his local community. He currently serves on the board of YMCA of the Brandywine Valley and is a former board member of the Coatesville Area Partners for Progress and the Lionville Community YMCA. He is also a past graduate of the Chester County Leadership Connection program of the United Way.
Most of all, Krapf is dedicated to his family. He and his wife, Stacey, have four children: Sierra (8), Logan (6), Sage (3) and Ella (2). They may still be too young to start working on buses, but give them a few years.