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March 17, 2011  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

Top Shops 2011

This year for our annual series, we shine the spotlight on five maintenance programs with dedicated staff members who have established efforts to save their operations money, work well with their colleagues and earn excellent fleet safety inspection ratings.

by SBF Staff

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The shop team includes technicians Damian Damianos and Don Menegon, Shop Manager Cray Pulaski, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Mark R. Egan, and Willie McInstosh, who oversees utility services.
<p>The shop team includes technicians Damian Damianos and Don Menegon, Shop Manager Cray Pulaski, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Mark R. Egan, and Willie McInstosh, who oversees utility services.</p>

Devoted shop focuses on safety, team effort
CommTrans/Matthews Bus Co.
McKees Rocks, Pa.

Paratransit company CommTrans and its sister fleet Matthews Bus Co. of McKees Rocks, Pa., maintain their fleets together in the same shop, serving the city of Pittsburgh and neighboring Sto-Rox School District in McKees Rocks.

The shop’s technicians and managers have school bus industry experience ranging from 15 to 36 years, and attend a variety of educational seminars regularly to stay updated on new maintenance training and equipment. Strict adherence to cleanliness and order are also very important to the team, something Mark R. Egan, fleet maintenance supervisor of CommTrans, explains was learned from a tough former boss, Bernie Vardzel, at Laidlaw.

“Due to our detailed inspection program, we hardly have road calls. If we do, they consist of flat tires,” Egan says. Cray Pulaski, shop manager for Matthews Bus Co., oversees the shop’s 100 school buses.

addition to Egan and Pulaski, the shop team includes two additional ASE- and Ricon Lift-certified technicians, and a staff member who focuses on utility services. The team also maintains a 100-percent inspection pass rate from the Pennsylvania State Police, all while keeping a great relationship with the companies’ drivers.

“Our greatest challenge is the amount of miles our paratransit vehicles put on, requiring them to be serviced more often. But we have a great staff that plugs away at getting everything done,” Egan says. “I think by us spending a little more money on things such as body work, higher quality parts and fluids, we reduce breakdowns and increase vehicle availability.”

The shop also focuses a great deal on safety measures, requiring all team members and drivers to wear uniforms with safety reflective stripes as well as attend monthly safety meetings.

“Everyone loves their job here and are very dedicated and never miss work,” Egan adds. “We have some buses here with over 350,000 miles, and they still have the original engines and transmissions.”


Shop Stats
Fleet: 100 school buses, 65 other vehicles
Total shop staff: 5
Number of bus bays: 5
Annual mileage: 2 million
Students transported daily: 1,200
Schools served: Over 45

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Read more about: efficiency, preventive maintenance

That is an awesome job they are doing.

Natissa Thompson    |    Jan 03, 2012 10:02 AM

I really agree on uniforms. It totally make the company look more professional. I am dealing with school bus drivers here in Illinois. I am a rep, for a company called logo wear direct. We have nice polo shirts. and they are nice for drivers to wear as safety for the children to identify the drivers by the colors and emblems they display for safety reasons. It is a good security measure for all children that ride school buses.

Henry Harris    |    Aug 09, 2011 09:39 PM

Speedwrench has done a great job for me. I highly recomend them! Regards to a prior post of "5 techs per 100 buses seems high", I have them servicing approx 140 buses with 2 techs in the peak season. Do the math, that is 70 school buses per mechanic, but I do some services at our main location when I can get the bus there. Off season, one mechanic is handling it without a problem. They are hard workers and reliable. Quality and Great Customer service!

Andre    |    Jul 27, 2011 07:51 AM

This is to Mark Egan. Just to let you know the fine job you and your team have done for me the past 11 years I drove for Commtrans.You kept me safe by keeping my bus and all buses ROAD READY and safe.Keep in touch [email protected]. Ps . Say hi to Roy ..George

George Smith    |    Jun 18, 2011 01:29 PM

These guys are AWESOME, Clint ISD could not function without these hard working individuals. Keep up the good work!!!

Luis    |    Apr 22, 2011 01:32 PM

You guys are AWESOME!

My Name    |    Apr 15, 2011 02:30 PM

5 technicians for 100 units seem very high!

Manager    |    Apr 02, 2011 02:59 PM

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