Larry Revier, who has owned his operation for 16 years, brings to the job his experience as a heavy-duty truck and heavy drill equipment mechanic.
An outstanding one-man show
Revier Transportation LLC
Although transporting Plains Public Schools students on five daily routes and maintaining the school buses and coaches they ride is his main focus, Larry Revier also performs heavy equipment repair for logging rigs and over-the-road trucks if they happen to break down in the area. And with his water truck, he helps fight the wildfires that tend to break out during the summer in the timbered areas surrounding Plains. When firefighting equipment breaks down on the line, Revier is also the man to fix it.
Revier got his start in maintenance working for a heavy truck shop in 1979. After 15 years there, he headed to Alaska’s North Slope for a stint working on heavy drill equipment rigs. When he returned to Montana, he purchased a school transportation business from another operator, and Revier Transportation LLC has been in operation ever since.
Revier is the only mechanic on staff, making repairs as they come up and servicing all the buses every 3,000 miles. “Once a month or so, I have a different bus in here and I do a complete go-through, inspection in and out, and look at the driver’s complaint list of what is wrong,” he says.
Because his shop is in a somewhat isolated and rural area, Revier says getting parts can be a challenge. “You can’t just go out to a regular dealer,” he says. “Everything has to be shipped to you, and sometimes it’s the wrong part, which can delay repairs,” he explains.
A long-time member and current board vendor representative at the Montana Association for Pupil Transportation and president of the Montana School Bus Contractors Association, Revier feels that his involvement with these organizations helps him keep abreast of industry trends and share knowledge with colleagues.
“Larry is the person on the boards that watches the money, not because it is his job, but because he is naturally fiscally responsible,” says Maxine Mougeot, pupil transportation director at the state’s Office of Public Instruction. When expenses arise, Revier says he likes to look for ways to reduce the cost to the association, for instance sharing the cost of a conference speaker with another nearby organization.
His financial philosophy is instrumental to his own operation as well. “He is a great business man who is fair, consistent, sensible and efficient. He drives the bus, maintains the bus, stocks parts for repairs, and he shops for deals when he purchases parts or buses,” Mougeot says.
“You shop around, of course, when you’re buying fuel, tires — your larger ticketed items,” Revier says. “It seems to be worth a call to at least two to three different people before you go ahead and purchase something.”
The key to a successful maintenance operation, Revier says, is staying on top of repairs to avoid the necessity for major overhauls and scheduling those major repairs for the summer months to keep routes running without interruption. “I’m on top of everything that comes in and goes out,” he says. “It’s my pride and my name on the buses, and I like to have everything clean, painted and shined up.”
— CLAIRE ATKINSON
Fleet: 10 school buses, 2 charter coaches
Total shop staff: 1
Number of bus bays: 2
Annual mileage: 52,560
Students transported: Approx. 200
Schools served: 1