NAPT President Lenny Bernstein says that one of the biggest advantages of the association's annual conference is the opportunity for face-to-face networking.
Big family bridges the gap
It is with great pleasure that I write this article for our partner, SCHOOL BUS FLEET magazine. In my initial article for the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NAPT) News & Views [see November 2005 issue, pg. 18, or click here], I wrote about what the NAPT Board of Directors will do for our membership. Now, I will share with you what our membership can do to best utilize the resources available.
NAPT is an organization filled with many individuals who are dedicated to safety. When we look at safety, there are many facets to our jobs that, when combined, result in the safe transportation of our “precious cargo.” As your professional organization, it is our responsibility to provide you with all of the latest technology, all of the cutting edge management skills and all of the training necessary to make you better at what you do.
We must stay focused on our mission, and NAPT must supply the resources that will keep our membership energized. We will focus on and highlight the following resources that are important to our growth:
Our partnerships. SCHOOL BUS FLEET offers us a tremendous opportunity to expand our communications and gives us a venue to tell our story. Another important partnership is that of our three national associations (NAPT, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the National School Transportation Association). The “Three Ns” is but one of the names that we go by, but the cornerstone of our relationship is solid communication.
Conference/networking. Our annual conference is held to provide you with tools to keep you professional. Each year, we attempt to make the conference informative, exciting and innovative. The conference also provides you with face-to-face networking opportunities that are unequaled. We cannot overlook the fact that sometimes our best resources are each other. Being an active NAPT member ensures your ability to network with your peers.
For more information on membership, look to our Website (www.napt.org) and, as always, feel free to call your officers or Board of Directors (who are all listed on the Website). Mark the dates now for NAPT’s 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Show: Nov. 5-9, 2006, in Kansas City, Mo.
Committees. Another great opportunity to expand your professional horizons is to join an NAPT committee. I know what you’re thinking: “How do I fit one more thing into my already-hectic schedule?” My assistant, Teresa, asks me that question every day. I find that more work means being more organized. Additionally, serving on committees has provided me with a strong professional foundation. So, for those of you who think that you have no time in your busy schedule to join a committee, I respectfully ask you to think again.
The work of our committees not only provides added strength to our organization — it also provides the vehicles that have already made our day-to-day operations run more efficiently. One case in point involves our NAPT Certification Program. The Board of Directors has made it a priority to complete the course design so that more members will be able to avail themselves of critical issue courses leading to NAPT Certification. Realizing too that not all of our members can attend our annual conference, we, as the Board of Directors, will work to develop ways of bringing information to you. One example is that I have charged the Professional Development Committee to offer the certification course of study in an online application as well. More information will follow in this column.
Another very important committee is our Strategic Planning Committee. All strong organizations commit major time and effort into developing and implementing strategic long-range planning. In my opening News & Views article, I set as a board goal that we will “review and renew” our strategic policy. In fact, I called it monumental.
Our Board of Directors will be meeting in February and will hold a strategic planning session. Again, our best resources are our members. All strategic plans, once developed, are then assigned to the appropriate committees for action.
Remember that NAPT is your association! Without your involvement, our planning cannot move forward. To that end, please visit the NAPT Website to explore the committees that would welcome your involvement, and look to this column in the next issue of SCHOOL BUS FLEET to find out how you will make a difference in the future of NAPT. Until then, keep in touch!
— LENNY BERNSTEIN