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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.


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Before becoming Wyoming's state pupil transportation director last year, David Koskelowski worked for a year with industry veteran Leeds Pickering, who was retiring from the position.
<p>Before becoming Wyoming's state pupil transportation director last year, David Koskelowski worked for a year with industry veteran Leeds Pickering, who was retiring from the position.</p>
David Koskelowski

Program Manager, Traffic Safety/Pupil Transportation, Wyoming Department of Education, Cheyenne, Wyo.

When and how did you first become involved in the school bus industry?
I became involved in 2009, when Leeds Pickering [the former state director of pupil transportation for Wyoming] asked if I would be interested in a new line of work. I applied, interviewed and was offered the position.

It was a wonderful combination of timing and opportunity. The timing was that Leeds was retiring, and the opportunity was that I could still work with him for a year and pick his brain for 30 years of industry knowledge and expertise. I can never thank Leeds enough for that year.

What did you do before that?
I started as a project analyst at the Wyoming Department of Education in 2008. I was a retail manager for two years from 2006 to 2008.

Prior to that, I served in the United States Air Force for 21 years, one month and 22 days (that is what my retirement certificate says). I was in the Security Forces for 17 years and was a first sergeant for the last four years and a bit.

Tell us about any involvement you have with industry associations.
I served on the Resolutions Committee and School Bus Inspection Committee at the 15th National Congress on School Transportation. I am a member of NASDPTS and NAPT. I also work with an incredible team of pupil transportation professionals in the Wyoming Pupil Transportation Association.

What do you like most about being part of the school bus industry?
It is the passion and commitment of the people in the school bus industry that inspires me. We are all in this business to get students to and from school, activities and field trips, ready to learn, in the safest form of transportation possible: the yellow school bus.

There is no better industry or profession I would choose to be a part of. It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this industry.


Brandon Billingsley believes the industry should focus on recruiting people who can bring a unique skill set to their position, regardless of their age.
<p>Brandon Billingsley believes the industry should focus on recruiting people who can bring a unique skill set to their position, regardless of their age.</p>
Brandon Billingsley

CEO, Heavy Duty Bus Parts Inc., Willis, Texas

What are your key responsibilities in your job?
I oversee the daily operations at Heavy Duty Bus Parts Inc.

When and how did you first become involved in the school bus industry?
In the late 1960s, my grandfather developed the universal axle bend exhaust system, and my father left the Secret Service shortly thereafter to work with him. I was born in 1972, and the school bus industry is all I've ever really known.

Tell us about any involvement you have with industry associations.
There are various industry associations at different levels (local, state and national), and working with them represents the best part of my job. To be involved with a group of people, have the ability to set aside competition and just work on doing the right thing and making a difference is rewarding.
As for personal involvement, the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation (TAPT) has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. It's always been a very positive experience, and I've met most of my best friends, mentors and role models through TAPT.

What's the best advice that someone has given you in your career?
To develop positive role models and mentors who contribute to a greater cause and always expect the best from me.

How do you think the school bus industry will change over the next 20 years or so?
Consolidation. Over the past few years, we seem to have been developing a "new normal," and this will force greater efficiencies as we learn to do more with less. We'll see technological innovations as well, just as in the past.

Do you see a need for the industry to attract more young people? If so, how can it be done?
Not necessarily young or old, just new talent — people who bring a unique skill set to complement the industry and choose pupil transportation as a long-term career. How can we recruit such talent? Water tends to seek its own level. If we really are getting by on fewer personnel and take into account the current economy and job situation, we'll be fine. We should remain focused on training and retaining good technicians and bus drivers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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