The National School Transportation Association’s (NSTA) Annual Meeting and Convention will be held July 24-28 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.
This year’s event will be filled with committee meetings, sessions and activities that will provide the latest developments on industry issues and information to assist attendees in safely serving schoolchildren.
Sessions will offer updates on the industry
The convention will feature several NSTA committee meetings that will cover myriad topics, including safety and security; manufacturers, suppliers and technology; and government relations.
Three general sessions open to all attendees will address such issues as the November 2010 election and will feature updates on clean diesel initiatives.
In addition, officials from the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the American School Bus Council (ASBC) have been invited to speak about projects that their organizations are working on.
The ASBC, for instance, will speak about its effort to establish a federally-funded public education campaign to promote greater use of school buses. Danielle Abe, director of marketing and operations for NSTA, says that the ASBC has also developed a new strategic plan, and by the end of July the ASBC should have details on what projects will come out of that plan and how NSTA members can participate.
The sessions will feature other presentations as well:
• During “In the Morning, Always Put on Clean Underwear,” industry advocate Dr. Cal LeMon will discuss the rules to life that we’re taught as children and how those rules have changed. LeMon will suggest new rules that can be applied to doing business, with a focus on the school bus industry and safety.
• Rose McMurray, chief safety officer and assistant administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will provide an update on the administration’s latest activities.
• Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) will speak at the convention. As of press time, the topic of his presentation was not yet available.
Finally, Bob Pudlewski, NSTA’s technology specialist, will discuss vehicle lubricants with the assistance of Safety-Kleen, a manufacturer of oil and cleaning products. The NSTA will also present its 2010-13 strategic plan.
During two special events, pupil transportation professionals will have an opportunity to strengthen their security threat assessment and response capabilities, and learn about possible factors that cause children to be left on school buses.
The Transportation Security Administration will host a scenario-based tabletop school bus security exercise, and Kathy Furneaux, executive director of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, will host a presentation entitled “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” as an optional safety program for School Bus Driver International Safety Competition (SBDISC) contestants.
Furneaux will discuss the stranded-pupil problem, offering theories on what may contribute to it.
“Green” certification recipients to join awards program
Another of the convention’s main events will be the annual awards reception and dinner, during which industry professionals are recognized for excellence in service and safety with eight awards.
This year, Green School Bus Fleet Certification recipients will be added to the program. The Green School Bus Fleet Certification Program recognizes NSTA members for their efforts to operate environmentally-friendly school buses through such means as outfitting their fleets with EPA- and California Air Resources Board-verified emissions-control technologies.
New measures to honor school bus drivers
In conjunction with the meeting and convention, top school bus drivers from across North America will test their knowledge and skills during the SBDISC on July 24 and 25.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the competition, and the NSTA plans to implement new efforts to honor the participants.
Abe says that the association will issue press releases to contestants’ hometown newspapers when they are approved to compete, and have a section on the NSTA Website with the contestants’ names, photos and bios.
Also, the top winner in each category (Conventional, Transit and Small Bus) will receive a new prize: a yellow jacket decorated with the SBDISC logo, the winner’s name and his or her competition category.
For more information on the 2010 NSTA Annual Meeting and Convention, and the 40th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, visit www.yellowbuses.org and click the “Events and Education” tab.