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July 16, 2013  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

What's new in the Top 50

The latest developments related to several of this year’s largest school bus contractors.

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Pat Beesmer (right) of Ethan Allen Transportation poses with Trans Group President John Corr after a ceremony honoring her as the 2013 Ulster County School Bus Driver of the Year. The Trans Group is the parent company of Ethan Allen Transportation.
<p>Pat Beesmer (right) of Ethan Allen Transportation poses with Trans Group President John Corr after a ceremony honoring her as the 2013 Ulster County School Bus Driver of the Year. The Trans Group is the parent company of Ethan Allen Transportation.</p>

47-year bus driver honored

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Pat Beesmer was recognized in April for nearly half a century of exemplary service behind the wheel of a yellow bus.

Beesmer, who works for The Trans Group’s Ethan Allen Transportation, was named Ulster County’s School Bus Driver of the Year.

Ulster County officials held a ceremony on April 18 to honor Beesmer and other pupil transporters and to promote Operation Safe Stop Day, a statewide program that seeks to bolster school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts.

In Ulster County, supporters wrote to recommend Beesmer for the School Bus Driver of the Year honor.

Beesmer’s supervisor, Bree Allen, said that she “has touched many children’s and families’ hearts” during her 47 years as a school bus driver. Also, Allen noted, “Pat travels some of the most difficult roads and hills in our district and has never had a problem.”

Beesmer has worked for Ethan Allen Transportation since 2003, and she has not had an accident during her employment there, Allen said.

Barbara Carlson’s youngest son rode Beesmer’s bus, and the mother wrote in a recommendation letter that Beesmer “greeted us each morning and afternoon with a huge, contagious smile and kind, encouraging words for our son. ... He was new to the school, and her warmth undoubtedly helped him transition.”

Inspired by Beesmer’s demeanor on the job, Carlson decided to become a school bus driver herself.

Robyn Bowers-McKenna, a mother of three kids who have been passengers on Beesmer’s bus, wrote that the veteran driver is “very tuned in to every child’s needs — those who occasionally get bus sick, and those who miss Mom or Dad on their first day of school.”

Beesmer started driving a school bus in 1966 when her youngest child was starting school. Over the years, she has worked for various contractors — and she even owned her own bus company for 15 years — but the entire time, she has been driving Kingston City School District students.

“Even after 47 years of driving, I still look forward to driving my route each day,” Beesmer said. “I love what I do. ... The most rewarding feeling is when I am out and about and a former student stops me to say ‘hello’ and reminisce about when he or she was a child on my bus.”

Lamers tests alt-fuel buses
GREEN BAY, Wis. — In the past year, Lamers Bus Lines began working with hybrid and propane buses.

Cindi Lawler, school bus operations manager, said that the company is closely tracking these alternative-fuel buses to determine their benefits and to compare them to diesel units.

“We are eager to review the data after the first year of operation and determine where the savings are and what type of operation will benefit the most from these advances in technology,” Lawler said.

STI wins biggest contract
WALL, N.J. — In December, Student Transportation Inc. announced that it had secured the largest transportation agreement in its history. The contractor will begin serving two Nebraska school districts — Omaha Public Schools and Millard Public Schools — in August. The company will provide about 530 vehicles, including more than 400 new propane buses from Blue Bird. IC Bus is to supply additional vehicles to fulfill the contract.

Transporte Sonnell buys new buses, goes solar
COROZAL, Puerto Rico — In March, Transporte Sonnell bought 20 new Thomas Built C2 buses. Also, the company is tapping an alternative energy source to power its office: the sun.

“We will be the first school bus company in Puerto Rico that will generate the energy for our headquarter building from 100% solar,” said Hernán Burgos, vice president of operations.

FirstGroup donates $112K
CINCINNATI — FirstGroup America, parent company of First Student, recently donated more than $112,000 to Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. FirstGroup America employees raised the money through direct-deposit donations, company contributions and employee fundraisers.

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