Management

20 Fascinating Personalities (Part 3)

<i>SBF</i> staff editors Steve Hirano, Thomas McMahon and Albert Neal
Posted on November 1, 2005
As a train buff, Bill Loshbough enjoys riding the narrow gauge railroads of northern New Mexico and Colorado.
As a train buff, Bill Loshbough enjoys riding the narrow gauge railroads of northern New Mexico and Colorado.

Bill Loshbough

Owner, ExecuWest Consultants, Albuquerque, N.M.

Born: Alva, Okla.
Home: Santa Fe, N.M.
Years in industry: 39
Notable previous jobs: Director of safety and security, state supervisor of school bus safety, state transportation director, VP of human resources, general manager.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I began driving a school bus part-time while in college.

Current job duties?
Currently, I am owner of ExecuWest Consultants. I provide transportation consulting services and do meeting planning and trade show management. I serve as trade show manager of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and conference coordinator of the New Mexico Pupil Transportation Conference. I also do management training and seminar presentations in the area of pupil transportation.

Top achievements in life?
My top accomplishments include serving as chairman of the National Safety Council Motor Transportation Division and School Transportation Section, past president of the NAPT, competition director of the International School Bus Driver Safety Competition, conference chair for the 9th and 10th National Conferences on School Transportation and resolutions chairman for the 11th and 12th. I was the recipient of SCHOOL BUS FLEET’s Administrator of the Year award in 1980, the National Safety Council’s Distinguished Service to Safety Award in 1982, the NAPT Distinguished Service Award in 1992, the NSTA Golden Merit Award in 1996 and the NSTA Hall of Fame Award in 2001.

Outside interests?
I enjoy spending time with family, hiking and fishing. I am also a train buff, so I enjoy riding the narrow gauge railroads of northern New Mexico and Colorado.

Favorite book or movie?
My favorite movie is Oklahoma. Since my family roots were in the farm country of Oklahoma, I’m interested in not only the music but the image of the rural areas of our country. I enjoy reading the history of settling the west.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
The river country of Alaska, where the salmon fishing is great.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
That for more than 25 years, I have been a “pyro” doing the fireworks for the Zozobra Burning, which is a part of Santa Fe Fiesta. I also worked for a year as a limousine chauffeur.

 


 

John Matthews converted a 1961 Greyhound bus into a motor home, dubbed the "Strayhound," in which he and his family have traveled the country.

John Matthews

Transportation Director, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Md.

Born: Baltimore
Home: Laytonsville, Md.
Years in industry: 32.5
Notable previous jobs: Newspaper carrier and route man, school bus driver, driver trainer supervisor, area supervisor, technology manager, fleet maintenance manager, assistant director.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I began driving a school bus part-time as a college student and finished college as the training supervisor. While in college, they never taught me how to get a real job, so I just stayed with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

Current job duties?
I currently manage all aspects of pupil transportation for MCPS (the sixth-largest publicly-owned fleet in the United States), which includes the operations and maintenance of 1,252 buses, maintenance of 750 other vehicles, five depots, 2,300 employees and a budget of $70 million-plus.

Top achievements in life?
Aside from raising four wonderful and successful children, my best accomplishment was to convert a 1961 Greyhound bus into a motor home (the “Strayhound”) and travel the country with my family.

Outside interests?
I enjoy building/making things, garages, refinishing/building rooms and basements, fixing anything that breaks —VCRs, air conditioners, cars, buses, etc. — and, of course, traveling.

Favorite book or movie?
As a non-reader, you couldn’t pay me to read a novel. However, I do love to read technical manuals (I love to know how things work), and my favorite book is The Roads that Built America, by Dan McNichol.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
I saw many interesting places during two trips from Maryland to California in the Strayhound. The trips included hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and staying for two nights at the bottom in Phantom Ranch) and going through national parks — Yosemite, Yellowstone, Badlands, Brice, Zion and many more.

Strangest job you’ve had?
The strangest job I’ve had was working for the now-extinct Washington Star newspaper as a jumper. A jumper is the person who jumps off and on the truck at 20 mph to leave the papers on the corner.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I taught automotive technology at a local community college for a few semesters.

 

Maxine Mougeot loves camping, fishing and golfing — especially when they take place in Alaska.

Maxine Mougeot

Pupil Transportation Director, Montana Office of Public Instruction

Born: Cody, Wyo.
Home: East Helena, Mont.
Years in industry: 4.5 years
Notable previous jobs: Data manager for state special-education division, federal program accountant.

How did you get your start in the industry?
The position was vacated; I applied for it and got it. I had no transportation experience, but my accounting and data management experience was a huge plus. It didn’t take me long to recognize what a valuable move I had made. The transportation community is an amazing group, and I am extremely proud to be part of it.

Current job duties?
I am the state safety specialist for student transportation. I manage and disperse $12 million annually. I visit with school district personnel, other government staff, school bus drivers and parents on a daily basis. I drive a bus for the state superintendent. I manage transportation data, answer surveys and provide data to those who need it. I spend a great deal of time on national and state standards. I participate in driver training activity. I attend national, regional and state conferences. I promote safety, driver recognition and program continuity.

Outside interests?
My husband of 35 years and I are planning a month-long camping trip to Alaska. We intend to drive the Alaskan Highway, pull our fifth-wheel and golf at every golf course that looks interesting. I love to camp, fish, golf and spend time with my husband, grandchildren and friends.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
My husband and I have been to Alaska twice. Alaska is fascinating to me — both its people and its landscape. I have seen beautiful Russian churches and the most dilapidated old fishing boats. I have seen icebergs and whales. I have eaten grilled halibut that I caught that morning right out of the ocean. The whole experience is just amazing.

Strangest job you’ve had?
When I was young, I worked in a laundry shaking wet sheets and folding them onto a table to be pressed.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have a huge collection of school bus memorabilia at work. The walls of my office and the shelves of my bookcase are filled. I wear school bus jewelry and clothing. My friends all think I am crazy.

 


 

The Schmutz family enjoys one of many birthday parties together.

Launi Schmutz

School Transportation Manager, Washington County (Utah) School District

Born: Mount Pleasant, Utah
Home: St. George, Utah
Years in industry: 19
Notable previous jobs: In my opinion, there isn’t another notable job; school transportation is it.

How did you get your start in the industry?
Shortly after I married, my husband Kevin and I wanted to buy a house. So I started driving a school bus as a second job. My blood quickly turned yellow, and driving a school bus became my full-time career. I thank our Creator daily, because it couldn’t have turned out better.

Current job duties?
I’m the school transportation manager at the Washington County School District in St. George, Utah, where I’m responsible for a department with 125 buses and 140 wonderful employees. We could use a few more school bus drivers.

Top achievements in life?
First, I have to say that my family is wonderful. I have a great husband and two beautiful children that keep us running from activity to activity. Also, I’m currently the director at large for the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Outside interests?
I love to camp, ride motorcycles and four wheelers, boat … well, I guess anything outdoors with family and friends.

Favorite book or movie?
I have several favorite books, but I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I started reading them with our children and couldn’t stop.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
I believe it was on a bush plane with my mother, who is afraid to fly.

Strangest job you’ve had?
I worked at the motocross track, scoring motorcycles as they crossed the tabletop.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was raised on a ranch, where I rode horses and helped dock lambs, sheer sheep, bail hay, etc.

 

Rufus Smith loves grooving to jazz tunes, spending time with his wife and carrying on conversations with his cat, Toby.

Rufus Smith

Branch Manager, Laidlaw Education Services, Savannah, Ga.

Born: Aurora, Ill.
Home: Savannah, Ga.
Years in industry: 10
Notable previous jobs: Served 21 years and retired from the United States Navy as a chief petty officer.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out as a school bus operator in Memphis, Tenn. I came up “through the ranks,” working as a trainer, driver development and safety supervisor, assistant branch manager and finally as branch manager.

Current job duties?
I serve as branch manager of the largest Laidlaw branch in the Atlantic southeast area. We operate a combined total of 307 regular and special-education bus routes. I plan, direct and supervise the work activities, customer satisfaction, profitability and the day-to-day operations of the branch.

Top achievements in life?
I’m most proud of my military career in the United States Navy. Another achievement I’m proud of is being recognized as “Branch Manager of the Year for a Large Branch” in the 1999-2000 school year.

Outside interests?
I really enjoy just trying to relax when away from work. I like to listen to jazz music, catch an occasional movie and enjoy being with my wife, since all three of our children are no longer living at home.

Favorite book or movie?
Although I don’t read nearly as many books now as I did in the past, I do read scripture from the Bible on a daily basis. Reading scripture keeps me spiritually focused, and that allows me to better understand the ups and downs of life.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
As a sailor, I had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I spent three years in Guam (from 1991 to 1994). One of the most interesting places I’ve been is a small resort island there called Cocos Island, where the ocean is turquoise blue and very beautiful.

Strangest job you’ve had?
The strangest job I’ve had was working as a carhop at an A&W Root Beer stand during my early teenage years. The tips were great, and I learned how to earn a dollar.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
People might be surprised to learn that I’m a cat lover. I only have one cat, and his name is Toby. We carry on conversations daily, and he fills the void of not having children living in the house.

Click here for Part 4 of "Fascinating Personalities"

Related Topics: Fascinating Personalities, history

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