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February 16, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Student Transportation appoints new exec, acquires bus company


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WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation Inc. (STI) has appointed Patrick Vaughan chief operating officer (COO) for the North American school bus division.

Vaughan will be responsible for maintaining STI's service standards, leading the operations team and integrating new business from the company's 'A-B-C' growth strategy.

Vaughan joined Laidlaw Transit in 1991 as district director of operations. In 1996, he was appointed senior vice president of operations. Vaughan led one of two operating units spanning from Maine to Florida and Texas to Pennsylvania consisting of $700 million in revenue, with over 250 locations. After Laidlaw Transit was acquired by First Group plc, he served as COO from 2007 to 2008.

"I am extremely excited to have Patrick join the STI management team, where we will benefit immensely from his experience, proven record of success and passion for the pupil transportation industry," said Denis J. Gallagher, chairman and CEO. "I had the opportunity to work with Patrick as one of my direct reports in a former company, and he is well-known by many on our team. Patrick's leadership will help ensure we harness the potential of our greatest assets, our employees, and to realize the growth opportunities before us."

Vaughan said that he appreciates "the many opportunities provided to me during my 19-year career, and I'm thrilled to bring that experience to the STI family and to work again with Denis and the highly skilled team of professionals he has put together."

In other news, STI has acquired school bus operator Ocean State Transit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Salter Transportation, based in Middletown, R.I. The transaction and closing were contingent upon meeting certain conditions and receiving various consents and renewals, which have been obtained. Management expects the deal to be immediately accretive to shareholders of its common stock.

Rhode Island is a new state for STI's operations. The acquisition will add over 118 vehicles, annualized revenues of just over $7.2 million and four new locations for STI over the balance of this fiscal year. The company utilized increased availability under its new current senior credit facility to fund the acquisition.

"With this acquisition, we have completed all three previously announced letters of intent we signed in December," Gallagher said. "Ocean State opens a new area of expansion in Rhode Island and complements our existing operations in the surrounding states of Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. We are both family-focused companies delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation solutions to school districts."

Gallagher noted that Ocean State President Tony Murgo, Vice President Greg Stinson and their entire team will join the STI family, and the Ocean State Transit name will be retained in Rhode Island.


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