CINCINNATI — The past year has brought some significant changes for First Student.
Last fall, the company merged with Laidlaw Education Services, which was the largest school bus contractor in North America.
In May, First Student and parent company FirstGroup America moved into new headquarters in Cincinnati.
In another key development, Carey Paster, previously the president of First Student, was promoted to CEO and president of sales, marketing and commercial development for FirstGroup America.
Paster recently discussed these changes with SBF Executive Editor Thomas McMahon. SBF: What led to your transition?
CAREY PASTER: Since the acquisition of Laidlaw by FirstGroup America in October 2007, we have achieved a great deal in successfully integrating the two companies. Now we are focusing on delivering our strategy for the future, which includes continuous improvement in our delivery of a safe, customer-focused operation. Therefore, the company is now structured in two segments: Commercial Development and Operations. We are focused on increasing operating efficiencies and identifying new business opportunities while maintaining current business.
What are your key responsibilities in your new position? Will you be working with FirstGroup America’s non-school bus businesses?
As CEO and president of sales, marketing and commercial development, I will focus on growing the business and delivering excellence to the existing customers of First Student, First Transit and First Services. As president of First Student for several years and with more than 27 years of experience in the school bus industry, I have an extensive knowledge of school bus transportation. However, I am eager and energized to learn the new terrain of First Transit and First Vehicle Services, as I lead their commercial development structure as well.
Is there a new president of First Student?
My counterpart, Mike Murray, who previously served as president of First Transit, has been appointed CEO and president of operations for FirstGroup America, responsible for delivering operational excellence for First Student, First Transit and First Services.
How long have you been with FirstGroup?
I joined FirstGroup America in 1999, and was appointed senior vice president of operations. In 2001, I was appointed chief operating officer and remained in that position until March 2004, when I was named president. As I look back on my journey with FirstGroup America, it has been a great ride, and I look forward to our continued company success and the new opportunities that are available with my new role.