Now that you've flipped completely through the Top 25 Fascinating Personalities in School Transportation, let me explain why you weren't included — we didn't have room for you.
We did the best we could with only 25 selections, some of them prominent in the industry, others working in the background. I'm sure we could have found hundreds of equally fascinating people to feature, but we're happy with the choices we made.
When I say we, I mean the staff of SCHOOL BUS FLEET. The selections were made during a lengthy brainstorming session involving the publisher, the editors and the sales staff. In many cases, the selections were people we've met at industry conferences or other gatherings. But we also chose people we know by reputation only. The best part was that it was a highly democratic process. We reached a consensus on each candidate.
Who they are
OK, now that I've explained the selection process, let me tell you a little bit about the selections. We chose eight women and 17 men, apparently without much thought to creating a politically correct balance.
Seven of the selections are school district transportation managers, five are state directors of pupil transportation, four represent industry associations and the rest are an interesting mix of "others" — consultants, a school bus company owner, a state lawmaker, a state special-education specialist, a maintenance manager, a used bus dealer and a retired driver.
It was our intent to set up a format that allowed each of the participants to tell us their story. To that end, we devised a Q&A template that allowed each subject to share as much or as little information about themselves as they desired. As you've probably discovered, some were more forthcoming than others. Where one person shared some of his or her personal interests and achievements, another preferred to maintain a more private persona.
I should add that most, if not all, of the participants expressed some concern about being included in this feature story. Most thought it was immodest to be proclaimed a "fascinating industry personality." I understood their position, but I'm glad they allowed their collective arms to be twisted. I think all of you will have a greater appreciation for this industry if you get a closer look at some of the wonderfully talented, hardworking people who are part of it.
The personal side
Even though I know many of these 25 people, I learned a lot more about them in helping to prepare this article. It's especially nice to learn about their off-the-job pursuits and passions because, although everyone in this industry works hard to safely transport millions of schoolchildren, we do have our "other lives" that, one hopes, provide a balance to the rigors of the working world. One participant worked as a volunteer at a wolf sanctuary and hopes to become a bush pilot. Another rose to the challenge of a push-up contest against a cartoon character at a Universal Studios restaurant in Florida. Still another can mouth-slap the "William Tell Overture." I could go on, but it's probably best that I quit now.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed our first-ever article on fascinating people in the industry. (If you haven't already read it, click here www.schoolbusfleet.com/curiss2.cfm?rank=442) Depending on your response, we may bring it back for an encore performance next year. If you would like to see it again, drop me an e-mail (my address is listed below). Yes, it's OK to start lobbying for inclusion in next year's article. No, don't send me bribes. Not yet, anyway.