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November 01, 2005  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

20 Fascinating Personalities (Part 3)

More remarkable people from across the pupil transportation industry.

by SBF staff editors Steve Hirano, Thomas McMahon and Albert Neal

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Maxine Mougeot loves camping, fishing and golfing — especially when they take place in Alaska.

Maxine Mougeot

Pupil Transportation Director, Montana Office of Public Instruction

Born: Cody, Wyo.
Home: East Helena, Mont.
Years in industry: 4.5 years
Notable previous jobs: Data manager for state special-education division, federal program accountant.

How did you get your start in the industry?
The position was vacated; I applied for it and got it. I had no transportation experience, but my accounting and data management experience was a huge plus. It didn’t take me long to recognize what a valuable move I had made. The transportation community is an amazing group, and I am extremely proud to be part of it.

Current job duties?
I am the state safety specialist for student transportation. I manage and disperse $12 million annually. I visit with school district personnel, other government staff, school bus drivers and parents on a daily basis. I drive a bus for the state superintendent. I manage transportation data, answer surveys and provide data to those who need it. I spend a great deal of time on national and state standards. I participate in driver training activity. I attend national, regional and state conferences. I promote safety, driver recognition and program continuity.

Outside interests?
My husband of 35 years and I are planning a month-long camping trip to Alaska. We intend to drive the Alaskan Highway, pull our fifth-wheel and golf at every golf course that looks interesting. I love to camp, fish, golf and spend time with my husband, grandchildren and friends.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
My husband and I have been to Alaska twice. Alaska is fascinating to me — both its people and its landscape. I have seen beautiful Russian churches and the most dilapidated old fishing boats. I have seen icebergs and whales. I have eaten grilled halibut that I caught that morning right out of the ocean. The whole experience is just amazing.

Strangest job you’ve had?
When I was young, I worked in a laundry shaking wet sheets and folding them onto a table to be pressed.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have a huge collection of school bus memorabilia at work. The walls of my office and the shelves of my bookcase are filled. I wear school bus jewelry and clothing. My friends all think I am crazy.



The Schmutz family enjoys one of many birthday parties together.

Launi Schmutz

School Transportation Manager, Washington County (Utah) School District

Born: Mount Pleasant, Utah
Home: St. George, Utah
Years in industry: 19
Notable previous jobs: In my opinion, there isn’t another notable job; school transportation is it.

How did you get your start in the industry?
Shortly after I married, my husband Kevin and I wanted to buy a house. So I started driving a school bus as a second job. My blood quickly turned yellow, and driving a school bus became my full-time career. I thank our Creator daily, because it couldn’t have turned out better.

Current job duties?
I’m the school transportation manager at the Washington County School District in St. George, Utah, where I’m responsible for a department with 125 buses and 140 wonderful employees. We could use a few more school bus drivers.

Top achievements in life?
First, I have to say that my family is wonderful. I have a great husband and two beautiful children that keep us running from activity to activity. Also, I’m currently the director at large for the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Outside interests?
I love to camp, ride motorcycles and four wheelers, boat … well, I guess anything outdoors with family and friends.

Favorite book or movie?
I have several favorite books, but I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I started reading them with our children and couldn’t stop.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
I believe it was on a bush plane with my mother, who is afraid to fly.

Strangest job you’ve had?
I worked at the motocross track, scoring motorcycles as they crossed the tabletop.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was raised on a ranch, where I rode horses and helped dock lambs, sheer sheep, bail hay, etc.

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