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October 24, 2013  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

14 phenomenal women in school transportation

In this new feature, we spotlight dedicated women from around the nation ranging from school bus drivers, trainers and administrative assistants to bus company executives, directors of transportation and state directors whose work helps to keep students safe.

by SBF staff


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Victoria DeCarlo made the Steffi Crossing Enhancer to help students see the bus driver’s hand signal when crossing the street.
<p>Victoria DeCarlo made the Steffi Crossing Enhancer to help students see the bus driver’s hand signal when crossing the street.</p>

Victoria Pierce DeCarlo
School Bus Driver
Lake Shore Central School District
Angola, N.Y.

How did you get your start in the industry?
The mother of one of my daughter’s friends was a bus driver at Lake Shore Central School District, and she told me about all of the advantages and her love for the job. It was enlightening. So I did it! I am still driving a bus over 20 years later.

What are your current job duties?
I’m at work on time and show and have respect for my employers, co-workers, students, parents, safety rules and regulations. I rid myself of all foreign thoughts that would distract me from doing my best behind the wheel of the bus. I am relentless in repeating safety instructions to my students on a daily basis.

You recently developed the Steffi Crossing Enhancer, a tool that can help students see the bus driver’s hand signal when crossing the street. Do you have any other safety-related projects in development?
I have made a photo luminescent (glow in the dark) arrow on Steffi Crossers. These would be great for the dark winter months and late sports and nighttime field trips. These Steffis only need a few minutes in the light to charge and they glow across a dark windshield. I also will be designing a more flattering safety vest one day.

What are some of your outside interests?
I design hats and accessories, along with many other things. I love to travel and experience other cultures.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I am shy. But when I have a passion and a strong belief on a subject, I have no problem projecting my insight and sharing it with the world!

What is the best advice someone has given you?
My father, George Pierce, would say, “If you have a problem, work on eliminating it. Look all around the problem and find the solution.”

What do you find most interesting about working in pupil transportation?
The trust that comes from many individuals to do what I do and to make safe decisions when the time arises. The joy of experiencing students’ wonderful personalities and sending them into school and home safely. I also find it interesting to have a supervisor who is so dedicated to his work.


 

Magda Dimmendaal is a member of Hartland Lake Country Rotary Club, and next February, she plans to travel to Haiti to work on a service project.
<p>Magda Dimmendaal is a member of Hartland Lake Country Rotary Club, and next February, she plans to travel to Haiti to work on a service project.</p>

Magda Dimmendaal
CEO
Dousman Transport Co. Inc.
Dousman, Wis.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out as a school bus driver in 1973 and progressed to driver trainer, dispatcher, manager, vice president, and I bought the company [Dousman Transport Co. Inc.] 25 years ago.

What are your current job duties?
Employee and customer relations are what I spend most of my time on now.

What are your top professional achievements?
From 2001 to 2003 I was president of the Wisconsin School Bus Association. In 2004, I was named Contractor of the Year by SCHOOL BUS FLEET, and I just completed my two-year stint as president of the National School Transportation Association [NSTA].

What are some of your outside interests?
I’m a member of the Hartland Lake Country Rotary Club. I’ve just signed up to go to Haiti for a week in February, where we do a vision project every year. I also love spending time with my family.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was born and raised in the Netherlands, so Dutch is my “mother tongue.”

What is the best advice someone has given you?
My dad taught me to not be afraid to ask. He’d say, “‘No’ you’ve got; ‘yes’ you can get.” Not giving up and taking no for an answer helped when I was trying to buy the company [Dousman Transport Co. Inc.].

You were the first female president of NSTA. Have you noticed growth in the number of women working in leadership positions since you started in the industry? If so, to what do you attribute this growth?
There has been noticeable growth, and I think there are many factors. I don’t like to stereotype, but I think women, in general, are more compassionate than men. I think we are better equipped to get employees to understand that the way they manage their roles and responsibilities as a personal reflection of their professionalism drives the success of our companies. I know I’ll probably catch flak for that comment!

What do you find most interesting about working in pupil transportation?
Working with people every day, from drivers to parents to school administrators and staff, as well as the students who ride our buses. It can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding.

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Read more about: First Student Inc., NAPT, NSTA

Finally, recognition for the fabulous women making student transportation customer friendly and improving safety. It's about time First Student has a female leader

Anonymous    |    Dec 28, 2013 08:36 AM

Congrats to all the well-deserving and hard working women recognized in your article. I have had the personal honor of working for Mrs. Kathy Houck and can categorically state that above her gender, she is a phenomenal leader of people.

Lionel Pinn    |    Dec 12, 2013 03:43 PM

I am very proud to tell folks I am a school bus driver, I live in a small community and have 36-50 student on my bus. Thank you ladies for being great role models to us and for going that extra mile. Keep up the great work! Our transportation supervisor is Mr. Todd Naylor and though he is a male I feel extremely safe and confident that our buses and routes are safe. I teach bus safety at our school so any new ideas you have to share is always appreciated. So proud to be in this bus family in Davie County NC.

Susan athey    |    Dec 10, 2013 07:40 PM

Congratulations to Wilma Crabtree, Kansas is indeed lucky to have her. She is always willing and beyond able to assist anyone who asked. She is one of the greatest in the school bus industry.

Kim Grandon    |    Dec 10, 2013 12:57 PM

@ Miss Diana Hollander, Let me answer that.... It is your love and passion for the industry, your down to earth qualities when communicating with others. You wear these qualities on your sleeve. Perhaps these make you a Phenomenal Woman!

Victoria DeCarlo    |    Nov 07, 2013 07:40 AM

Thank you for naming me one of the 14 Phenomenal Women in School Transportation in your November issue. I'm not sure what I've done to receive such an honor! Although I don't know all these women, some of them I do and feel honored to be considered one of them! Thanks for the nomination and nice article and for recognizing all the fabulous women who work in school transportation every day!

Diana Hollander    |    Nov 05, 2013 02:53 PM

WAY TO GO LADIES.....GREAT JOB!!

Ralph Knight    |    Oct 24, 2013 08:13 AM

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