For his achievement and leadership in the school transportation industry, Robert Pape, director of transportation at Lawrence (N.Y.) Public Schools, was named SBF’s 2002 Administrator of the Year. Pape, who is past president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), received the award at the NAPT annual conference in Greensboro, N.C., in early November.
A man of many hats
Pape, a 25-year veteran of the school bus industry, manages the daily transportation of more than 5,000 children. Along with his current managerial responsibilities, Pape is heavily involved with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) and is a former president of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute in Syracuse, N.Y.
While president of NAPT, Pape established and chaired the association’s finance committee and recommended financial investments to the board of directors. His efforts provided the funds necessary to purchase NAPT’s corporate offices for cash and established significant operating reserves for research and development.
Pape enjoys his role as friend and mentor. A friend of Pape’s approached him early in his career and informed him of an opportunity in transportation. This same friend mentored Pape for five years until he was well-versed on the particulars of the industry. This mentoring inspired Pape to establish the NAPT training program, a comprehensive educational program geared to assist professionals entering the transportation industry.
Pape is often recognized as a man of vision for his efforts to make the industry an all-inclusive public service. According to Michael Martin, executive director of NAPT, “He attempted to bring all segments of the industry together — public and private operators as well as the suppliers and manufacturers.”
Everywhere at once
For Pape, doing only what is required equates to complacency and indolence. Instead, he lives for the opportunity to get out in the field and make things happen. His work has been instrumental in broadening the lines of communication for the school bus industry. Communicating transportation policies and issues is a top priority for Pape. His efforts at the national, state and local levels have garnered him great respect and admiration. Recently, the Lawrence Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that generates money for community causes, selected Pape as its Man of the Year.
SBF’s Administrator of the Year award is also a career high point for Pape. “It’s a humbling experience being recognized by a great magazine that is totally representative of the industry we serve,” he says. “Those who were selected before me were all outstanding individuals, and to be included among them is quite an honor.”