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December 01, 1999  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

It’s been a great ride and will only get better

by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher


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Take dead aim. Many of you who play golf are familiar with this phrase. It’s attributed to the late Harvey Penick, the legendary golf professional who taught some of the game’s finest players. The concept is simple: Find your target and shoot straight at it. Since 1965, we’ve taken dead aim at the school transportation industry. That year, a magazine known as School Bus Transportation was purchased by our parent company, Bobit Publishing, and renamed SCHOOL BUS FLEET. Those of you who’ve been in the business for the past 35 years might remember the transition. We’ve come a long way since then. So has the industry. The changes in pupil transportation over the past three and a half decades have been dramatic. We’ve seen more stringent federal standards for design and construction of school buses, stricter driver licensing requirements and a much stronger emphasis on driver training, among other things.

Growing up together
In many ways, SCHOOL BUS FLEET and the pupil transportation industry have grown in tandem. I believe that we’ve had a hand in helping the industry evolve into what it is today. More than just reporting happenings in pupil transportation, we’ve collected, sorted and analyzed huge amounts of data — some of it used by state legislatures and federal agencies to justify regulatory and budgetary decisions. We’ve surveyed the industry for trends in safety, maintenance and management. Most importantly, we’ve focused our energy on generating articles that help you do your jobs with greater safety and efficiency. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. From issue to issue, year to year, we have added to the knowledge base within this industry. Our efforts have been recognized by our peers. Four times in the past six years, SCHOOL BUS FLEET has been a finalist in the best trade magazine category in a competition sponsored by the Western Publications Association. That’s not to say we’ve hit the target with every shot. As any golfer knows, perfection is not possible when you’re dealing with so many variables. Not even Tiger Woods stripes every shot. Our goal isn’t perfection; it’s steady improvement along with a better understanding of our readers’ concerns and needs.

A stronger partnership
As we head into the next century, we hope to play a larger role in growing the image of the industry. Our October/November 1999 issue, with the inaugural "Great Fleets Across America" section, is an example of that. By profiling exemplary school bus operations — public and private — in all 50 states, we focused a spotlight on what’s best and brightest in the industry. That spotlight has spilled over into the mainstream media. We’ve gotten calls from newspaper reporters all over the country for more information about these Great Fleets. They deserve the extra ink. In addition to continuing our Great Fleets coverage next year, we plan to expand our web site (www.schoolbusfleet.com) to increase its value as an industry resource. You can look forward to chat rooms, interactive training modules and expanded research material. This industry deserves a state-of-the-art web site to satisfy its thirst for knowledge and to feed its willingness to share information. Our association with this industry has been long and proud. We’ve seen it meet significant challenges triggered by the shifting priorities of lawmakers, school boards, educators and parents. No doubt the next millennium will provide more challenges, possibly tougher ones. We think you’re more than equal to the task, especially if you remember to take dead aim.


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