NAPT News & Views

Barry McCahill
Posted on July 29, 2011

While politicians go negative, NAPT Summit will stay positive and lead

It's never not political season in Washington, D.C. But as political operatives ramp up for the next election, insiders refer to it as "silly season."

There's good reason for that description: The political fuel shifts from regular to high octane as the party in power tries to remain so, doing all it can to persuade voters to keep it in office. Federal dollars flow to states and interest groups for new "programs" and "initiatives." Kazillions of news releases and talking points trumpet swell-sounding accomplishments both real and imagined. And elected officials and political appointees fan out to every city, town and hamlet to glad-hand and kiss babies.

The party not in power works hard to counter all of the above and make the case that they have a better way forward.

Things are going to get very nasty leading up to next November, when the American people will make their decisions.

While the political rhetoric flies, the school bus industry soldiers on quietly, despite some of the most difficult economic challenges ever.

And we are committed to meet those challenges by thinking innovatively about what we do and how we do it. NAPT's Summit this fall in Cincinnati (Oct. 22-27) will offer you a variety of perspectives that challenge traditional thinking and will help refine your creative efforts in matters critical to your organization and the industry at large.

Deborah A.P. Hersman. The well-respected chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the nation's preeminent safety watchdog. While known principally for air crash investigations, the board also investigates other transportation incidents, including motorcoaches and school buses (we work hard to avoid needing their services!).

Hersman was sworn in July 28, 2009, following her nomination to the post by President Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Her two-year term as chairman runs until July 2011. She's also serving a second five-year term as a board member. She holds a commercial driver's license with passenger, school bus and air brake endorsements.

Before joining the NTSB, Hersman was a senior professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

During her time at the Senate, she was a key staff member involved in the passage of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, which created a new truck and bus safety administration within the Department of Transportation.

Hersman is the mother of three school-age children and has more than a professional interest in school buses.

Jodee Blanco. Known as "the voice of America's bullied students," Blanco is partnering with NAPT on bullying policies and will make a keynote presentation.

"NAPT has been at the forefront of efforts by the school transportation industry to prevent bullying from the start. They are renowned for their commitment to student safety and security," Blanco said. "I am excited to work with them and look forward to helping them to continue to lead the way."

Blanco is the author of the New York Times bestseller Please Stop Laughing at Me: One Woman's Inspirational Story, a chronicle of her years as a student outcast, and considered the "anti-bullying bible." The National Crime Prevention Council, Department of Health & Human Services, National Association of Youth Courts, Special Olympics and Teacher magazine recognize it as an essential educational resource.

Blanco's acclaimed bullying prevention program has been presented to more than 500,000 students, teachers and parents.

She will also be autographing copies of her book.

Mark Aesch. The CEO of Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) and author of the book Driving Excellence, Aesch promotes organizational efficiency and business performance.

Here's what one reviewer had to say about Driving Excellence: "Could a book about managing a public sector bus company truly be a 'page-turner,' worthy of Lee Child or Tom Clancy? The answer is a resounding 'Yes.'"

Aesch helped take a money-losing, under-performing organization and transform it into a public sector leader that cut fares for customers and reduced reliance on taxpayer dollars. Under his leadership, the RGRTA has had four straight years of surpluses, driven productivity up and improved customer satisfaction. Ridership levels are at a 20-year high with growth rates far exceeding the national average.

The RGRTA replaced an attitude of "I think" and introduced sound strategy, a quality measurement system and a spirit of "I know."

The NAPT Summit in Cincinnati is just before the national elections. It's for leaders who realize that in today's world, our business is more than just about buses. If you want your school transportation system to shine with the latest approaches, you need to be there.

Then, you can go home and vote!'

Barry McCahill is communications consultant for the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Related Topics: conferences, NAPT

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