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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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Frisco Independent School District’s maintenance team uses green initiatives and years of industry experience to maintain their fleet of 201 buses.
<p>Frisco Independent School District’s maintenance team uses green initiatives and years of industry experience to maintain their fleet of 201 buses.</p>

Team aims for efficiency, quality service
Frisco Independent School District
Frisco, Texas

Frisco ISD’s maintenance team of 15 operates out of two fully staffed shops, both designed as “drive through” shops to give technicians adequate working room.

In addition to automated fueling system and comprehensive fleet maintenance software, Fleet Supervisor Howard Keeling says having well trained, experienced and dedicated personnel is the shop’s greatest strength.

“In the last three years, we have had two first-place finishers, two second-place finishers and two third-place finishers in the Texas Best School Bus Technician competition. Two technicians competed at the America’s Best School Bus Inspector and Technician competition, with one of them finishing fourth,” Keeling says.

The shop’s 11 technicians have a total of 53 certifications from the Texas Association of School Bus Technicians, 92 ASE certifications (36 of which are in school bus), seven master ASE certifications, and years of industry and military experience.

Each is assigned an equal number of buses through the shop’s comprehensive preventive maintenance inspection program, which provides increased accountability for maintenance performed on Frisco ISD’s buses.

Karen Sadler, Frisco ISD’s transportation director, has also played a major role in the shop’s success, having implemented a variety of earth-friendly initiatives such as a no-idle policy and recycling programs for oil, filters and antifreeze.

Both Keeling and Sadler started their careers as bus drivers, an attribute that helps greatly with fostering good relations between technicians and drivers. “Our technicians treat our bus drivers as their customers,” Keeling says. “Our dispatcher transfers all maintenance-related calls to our shops, and the technicians talk directly to our drivers on the two-way radio system.”

So far, budgeting has been the shop’s greatest challenge, Keeling says, but taking time to develop cost-saving measures, standardizing the fleet and utilizing bus warranties has proven to be worthwhile. “With less funds available each year, the challenge is to make sure that the services we provide are maintained at their highest level. Safety always comes first,” he adds.

— JENNIFER WASHINGTON

Shop Stats
Fleet: 201 school buses, 126 other vehicles
Total shop staff: 15
Number of bus bays: 12
Annual mileage: 1.7 million
Students transported daily: 6,000
Schools served: 48

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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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