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October 28, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

15 Fascinating Personalities 2010

This edition of SBF’s Fascinating Personalities series focuses on suppliers to the school transportation industry. Find out who is the longest active member of NAPT, who has climbed the Mexican pyramids in Cozumel, who plays hockey every week and who has a background as a U.S. Army Ranger.


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Kent Tyler
President, Collins Bus Corp., Hutchinson, Kan.

Kent Tyler holds an Apollo Lunar EVA (Extravehicular Activity) helmet, and behind him is a Russian Orlan spacesuit, just a few of the artifacts at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Current job duties?
Leading the largest manufacturer of small school buses in North America, representing the Collins, Mid Bus and Corbeil brands through a family of over 50 distributors.

Top achievements?
Without question, it would be my involvement with our company over the last four years, a period that has seen transformational change in how we manufacture Type A buses. We’ve consolidated and grown by utilizing principles of Lean manufacturing to involve employees, reduce waste, communicate better and improve all processes. In our attempts to just get better, we’ve seen the “can-do” attitude of our employees lead to major improvements across the whole organization. The team really believes that we are only as good as the last bus to leave the plant.

Notable previous jobs?
In college, I took a semester off to run state legislative races for the Oklahoma Republican Party. It was a great experience that taught me a lot about how to deal with people.

Outside interests?
I enjoy golf, Oklahoma State University sports and spending time with my family.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a proud member of the board of directors of the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, located in Hutchinson. One of the first-ever Smithsonian affiliate museums, they have an incredible space artifact collection that includes the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. On display are the actual flown spacecraft from all three of the first U.S. manned space programs, including the Apollo 13 command module. Truly an incredible museum!

What do you like most about being in the industry?
Beyond our yellow bus business, I’m passionate about our efforts to rid our communities of nonconforming vans or passenger vehicles used by churches, day care centers and others to transport students. There’s no doubt about it — the certified school bus offers the most economical and safest method of transportation on the road today, and we want to do our part to help these organizations replace their vans with certified small buses.

The last thing you do before you leave the office at the end of the day?
On my way out the door, I often pause for a look at “Old #1,” the first Type A school bus we produced, which is on display in our lobby. She serves as a reminder of our history — 43 years of commitment to our community and the school bus industry.

Born: Oklahoma City
Home: Hutchinson, Kan.
Years in industry: 13

 


Bob Rubin
Vice President of Sales, Easy Way Safety Services, Cincinnati

Bob Rubin is the longest active member in NAPT, having attended every annual conference since 1974.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I was asked to become involved in manufacturing seat covers and safety vests in 1969 when we added a new dimension to our business.

Current job duties?
Sales of all products, including seat covers, car seats, safety vests and SafeGuard Star.

Top achievements?
Receiving the Distinguished Service Award from NAPT [National Association for Pupil Transportation], several honors from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Associations, as well as commendations from local hospitals for volunteerism.

How many times have you attended NAPT’s Summit?
Every year since 1974, when our association was formed. I am the longest active member of NAPT.

Outside interests?
I mentor two sixth grade schoolchildren and provide them with guidance and companionship. I am also active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association of Cincinnati Inc.

If you could travel anywhere …
There are so many European and Asian countries to which I have not been; it would be difficult to make a choice.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I play Santa Claus at Christmas and the Easter Bunny at Easter at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and even own my own suits.

What do you like most about being in the industry?
The dedication of all in this industry to safety.

The last thing you do before you leave the office at the end of the day?
I verify inventory and make notes to prepare for the next day.

Born: Huntington, W.Va.
Home: Cincinnati
Years in industry: 42
Notable previous jobs: My first job was in sales for a large pawn shop.

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