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

20 Fascinating Personalties (Part 2)

More remarkable people from across the pupil transportation industry.

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

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Brent Huffman counts his marriage to Hope, who has been a bus driver for 25 years, among his top achievements.

Brent Huffman

Pupil Transportation Specialist, Utah State Office of Education

Born: Salt Lake City
Home: Salt Lake City
Years in industry: 31
Notable previous jobs: Radio announcer, insurance salesman, bus driver, driver trainer, driver foreman, route coordinator.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I was selling insurance, and my income fluctuated a lot. So I took a part-time job as a substitute driver until I could find something better. I decided that pupil transportation was what I was looking for.

Current job duties?
I am the pupil transportation specialist at the Utah State Office of Education (state director). My duties include the oversight of the legislative appropriation for pupil transportation, coordinating the bus driver training program for Utah, monitoring specifications for school buses and assisting school districts with all pupil transportation issues. Additionally, I was a member of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services’ (NASDPTS) board of directors for four years, and I was president-elect of NASDPTS for two years.

Top achievements in life?
I have been married to the same woman for 28 years. I have five children (four boys and one girl), seven grandchildren and one grandchild on the way. I have a bachelor’s degree in management, and I am a certified public manager.

Outside interests?
I love sports, especially football. I enjoy reading about human achievement. I am a high priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Also, I enjoy watching professional rodeo.

Favorite book or movie?
My favorite book is Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the great information it provides to be an effective manager. My favorite movie is Paint Your Wagon. It makes me laugh all the way through it.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
The most interesting place I’ve been is Nashville, Tenn. I love country music — and I do a little entertaining myself — so being in Nashville was like going to heaven.

Strangest job you’ve had?
I worked in a candy factory and operated a machine that made after-dinner mints.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I think that people would be surprised to learn that I was once a competitive rodeo cowboy. I competed in steer wrestling and team roping.



Sailing is one of Pete Japikse's passions. He has also been involved in youth training programs in sailing and inline hockey.

Pete Japikse

Director, Pupil Transportation Office, Ohio Department of Education

Born: Cincinnati
Home: Lewis Center, Ohio
Years in industry: 26
Notable previous jobs: Transportation director at various school districts, deputy fire chief.

How did you get your start in the industry?
By accident. I learned to drive a bus while working as a backcountry guide in the Rocky Mountains. After relocating back to Ohio to resume graduate school, I needed a part-time job. Answering an ad for a school bus driver, I took the job, got stuck and haven’t looked back.

Current job duties?
As director of pupil transportation for the state of Ohio, I provide technical support, oversight of policy and rulemaking, funding support, management consulting and school bus driver education and training.

Top achievements in life?
Two sons who I am extremely proud of. Being in a position where I can have a positive impact on the many professionals who depend upon us to support them. Sharing in the leadership of successful youth training programs in both sailing and inline hockey.

Outside interests?
Sailing, snow skiing, photography.

Favorite book or movie?
Two of my favorite books are Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff — and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson and Dilbert: Another Day in Cubicle Paradise by Scott Adams. While neither are novels, nor have the readability of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels (another favorite), both are valuable in maintaining perspective.

Most interesting place you’ve been?
The Netherlands. I recently had the opportunity to travel there with my wife and sons along with my parents (for whom Holland is home). It was a remarkable opportunity to meet relatives (something that many people take for granted), study the history of our family and learn more about the fascinating ingenuity and technical accomplishments of the Dutch as they continually labor to reclaim and keep their below-sea-level land from the surrounding ocean.

Strangest job you’ve ever had?
Backcountry guide, living and working on the continental divide in the Colorado Rockies.

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