Subscribe Today

October 25, 2011  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Young guns in the yellow bus industry

In this new feature, we turn the spotlight on the younger side of school transportation. Find out how these movers and shakers got involved in the industry, how they contribute to its success and what they see in its future.


SHARING TOOLS   | Email Print RSS « Page 5 of 6 »

Jeff Walker worked as a bus driver while he was going to school for elementary education. He thought he would become a teacher, but his pupil transportation career took off. 
<p>Jeff Walker worked as a bus driver while he was going to school for elementary education. He thought he would become a teacher, but his pupil transportation career took off. </p>
Jeff Walker
Director of Transportation, Litchfield Elementary School District #79, Litchfield Park, Ariz.

What are your key responsibilities in your job?
I lead all aspects of the transportation department, including the school buses and district vehicles. I am also responsible for the school safety programs.

When and how did you first become involved in the school bus industry?

While I was going to school for elementary education, I began driving a school bus. It worked great with my class schedule. I thought I was going to be a teacher, and 10 years later, I'm still in transportation.

What did you do before that?
I was in high school and worked in a grocery store.

Tell us about any involvement you have with industry associations.
I've been involved with the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials for five years and served as committee chair for two years. I currently serve as president-elect for the Transportation Administrators of Arizona.

What do you like most about being part of the school bus industry?

My staff! They're a hard-working, fun-loving group to work with who are all 100 percent dedicated to their jobs and students.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging part is definitely working in an era of "do more with less," especially while working in a growing district and trying to please administrators and parents while staying within my tight department budget.

What's the best advice that someone has given you in your career?
When it comes to instituting change, "pick your battles" and prioritize the changes. Some changes require a lot more effort than others. Make sure when you are looking at a big change that you collaborate to ensure that all possible outcomes are considered.

How do you think the school bus industry will change over the next 20 years or so?
I look at how much it has changed over the last 10 years and can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring! I believe that technology will continue to play an integral role in student transportation and that most districts will have such items as GPS, cameras, etc. on their buses and various software in their office and shop.


Aaron Harris grew up around pupil transportation - his father sold textiles to the industry.
<p>Aaron Harris grew up around pupil transportation - his father sold textiles to the industry.</p>
Aaron Harris

Regional Sales Representative/Training Coordinator, BESI Inc., Hamilton, Ohio

What are your key responsibilities in your job?
I am the training coordinator and a regional sales representative for BESI Inc. and Tie Tech LLC. On any given day, I could be meeting with one of the bus manufacturers, training a school district on use of child restraint systems, working with dealers in the Southeast, or working with management on marketing strategy and product diversity.

When and how did you first become involved in the school bus industry?

I actually grew up around pupil transportation because my father sold textiles to the industry. In the summer, Dad would take the family around to the state and national trade shows, and we would vacation while he worked. I actually met the president and founder of BESI at a trade show years later, and within a couple of months, I was working with them.

Tell us about any involvement you have with industry associations.

I am a member of NAPT, the NASDPTS supplier council and NSTA. I attend the NASDPTS annual conference and supplier council meetings, and we recently became a member of NSTA after attending the last three conferences.

What's the best advice that someone has given you in your career?
Always be upfront and honest with your customers, even when you have bad news. They may not like what you are telling them, but they will appreciate your honesty.

How do you think the industry will change over the next 20 years or so?

I see more young children on large school buses every year, with a push for pre-K education. I think the average age of ridership will continue to decrease. I also think that technology will continue to be incorporated into the bus, making it even safer than it is now.

Do you see a need for the industry to attract more young people?
There have definitely been a lot of important people in the industry who have recently retired. I believe that we need some young, motivated people to step up as transportation officials and contractors, and on the supplier side as well. For this industry to continue to grow, we need to recruit and retain people who can innovate without losing sight of our mission: safely transporting our children.

PAGE   Prev123456Next

Post a Comment

Request More Info about this product/service/company

Sorry to differ with ms. Walton,but I fail to see the vast knowledge involved in the school bus industry. It's not exactly as challenging as per say a brain surgeon's or rocket scientist's education.

george lowinnger    |    Oct 25, 2011 11:37 PM

Post a comment





Related Stories

Premium Member

Get bus sales numbers, transportation statistics, bus specifications, industry survey results, bus loading and unloading fatality statistics and more in the School Bus Fleet Research Center. Become a premium member today!
Log in Button Register Button

Newsletter

Get breaking news, industry updates, product announcements and more.