Rufus Smith loves grooving to jazz tunes, spending time with his wife and carrying on conversations with his cat, Toby.
Branch Manager, Laidlaw Education Services, Savannah, Ga.
Born: Aurora, Ill.
Home: Savannah, Ga.
Years in industry: 10
Notable previous jobs: Served 21 years and retired from the United States Navy as a chief petty officer.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out as a school bus operator in Memphis, Tenn. I came up “through the ranks,” working as a trainer, driver development and safety supervisor, assistant branch manager and finally as branch manager.
Current job duties?
I serve as branch manager of the largest Laidlaw branch in the Atlantic southeast area. We operate a combined total of 307 regular and special-education bus routes. I plan, direct and supervise the work activities, customer satisfaction, profitability and the day-to-day operations of the branch.
Top achievements in life?
I’m most proud of my military career in the United States Navy. Another achievement I’m proud of is being recognized as “Branch Manager of the Year for a Large Branch” in the 1999-2000 school year.
I really enjoy just trying to relax when away from work. I like to listen to jazz music, catch an occasional movie and enjoy being with my wife, since all three of our children are no longer living at home.
Favorite book or movie?
Although I don’t read nearly as many books now as I did in the past, I do read scripture from the Bible on a daily basis. Reading scripture keeps me spiritually focused, and that allows me to better understand the ups and downs of life.
Most interesting place you’ve been?
As a sailor, I had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I spent three years in Guam (from 1991 to 1994). One of the most interesting places I’ve been is a small resort island there called Cocos Island, where the ocean is turquoise blue and very beautiful.
Strangest job you’ve had?
The strangest job I’ve had was working as a carhop at an A&W Root Beer stand during my early teenage years. The tips were great, and I learned how to earn a dollar.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
People might be surprised to learn that I’m a cat lover. I only have one cat, and his name is Toby. We carry on conversations daily, and he fills the void of not having children living in the house.
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