ALBANY, N.Y. — The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the National Council for School Bus Safety Inspections, an affiliate of the NAPT, are planning a nationwide search to find “America’s Best” school bus technicians and inspectors.
The new contest, which will culminate in a national competition later this year, has three goals:
Provide long overdue and well-deserved national recognition for these vital members of the safety team.
Promote continuing education and training for technicians and inspectors.
Provide scholarship opportunities for participating technicians and inspectors.
“Everyone in our industry knows that school bus technicians and inspectors are among the primary reasons why the yellow school bus is America’s safest transportation,” said Bruce Little, Colorado’s state director of pupil transportation and chair of the inspections council. “The program will showcase their professionalism to the rest of the country.”
Added Steve Kalmes, NAPT president and transportation director at Anchorage (Alaska) School District, “Although technicians and inspectors are among the most competent people in our industry, they are often overlooked. One of the reasons we’re so excited about this project is that we expect to see not only some incredible talent, but some incredible potential, come to light.”
Participants in the 2004 competition will be selected by state or provincial associations or other appropriate governmental agencies. Anyone interested in learning more about the selection criteria should contact Little at [email protected] or William Tousley, secretary of the inspections council, at [email protected] to obtain the name of the appropriate contact person. Individuals selected to represent each state or province will be invited to compete in the “America’s Best” finals, which will be held at the IC Corp. manufacturing facility in Tulsa, Okla., on July 22 and 23.
All participants in the 2004 competition will complete a written examination evaluating their knowledge. Technicians will complete a separate diagnostics test, and inspectors will perform an actual inspection. The contest is unique in that the competition will be integrated with a variety of workshops for both technicians and inspectors related to components and systems on school buses.
Bus Parts Warehouse and Zonar Systems have each agreed to provide a $1,500 scholarship for the top technician and inspector, respectively.
Winners of the “America’s Best” competition will also be invited to attend an awards ceremony that will be held during the 30th Annual NAPT Conference and Trade Show in Cincinnati from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 2004. Information about the conference is available online at www.napt.org as well as by calling NAPT headquarters at (800) 989-NAPT.