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October 28, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

15 Fascinating Personalities 2010

This edition of SBF’s Fascinating Personalities series focuses on suppliers to the school transportation industry. Find out who is the longest active member of NAPT, who has climbed the Mexican pyramids in Cozumel, who plays hockey every week and who has a background as a U.S. Army Ranger.

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Robert Knapp

Executive Vice President/Stockholder, The C.E. White Co., New Washington, Ohio

Knapp enjoys deep sea fishing with his grandchildren in the Caribbean.

How did you get your start in the industry?
For many of my new van conversions, I used C.E. White seats. I was so impressed by the quality and service that I received from them that when Bill Frazee offered me the opportunity to buy into the company with him, I took it and moved to Ohio.

Current job duties?
I am involved in sales, engineering and new product development.

Top achievements?
I believe my best contribution to the school bus industry was made back in 1994. I saw that Chrysler had added a rear seat in their minivan with an integrated child restraint insert in the seat that folded out into a five-point harness for children under 5 years old. I came to an agreement with Chrysler to allow The C.E. White Co. to use their insert in our school bus seats and thus came out with the first fully integrated child restraint seat for school buses.

Outside interests?
Although I still enjoy building or restoring custom cars, my wife Teri and I spend as much time as possible in the Caribbean, where we love to go deep sea fishing with our children and grandchildren. One island comes right to mind when I think of the Caribbean. It is the island of Anguilla located just northwest of St. Martin. My wife and I were invited to this island last year by two of our close friends. We were there during the local festival, where each of the small villages on the island, over the last year, had built their own sailing boat and then during the festival raced them around the island. We were also able to spend one afternoon on the beach at the Dune Preserve Bar.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have only one personal lifetime goal, known only by my closest friends, and I work on that goal every opportunity I can.

What do you like most about being in the industry?
What I admire most about the school bus industry is that it is the only industry that has fully dedicated itself to transporting our children and grandchildren as safely as possible back and forth to school every day of the school year.

Born: South Haven, Mich.
Home: Fort Myers, Fla.
Years in industry: 20
Notable previous jobs: Owned a custom car and van company.


Cheyne Rauber
General Manager, Rifled Air Conditioning, High Point, N.C.

In his free time, Cheyne Rauber enjoys playing football. He also likes golf, coaching and cooking.

How did you get your start in the industry?
As a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I worked part time for Matthews Distributor Services as an aftermarket bus air conditioning installer and actually assisted in the assembly of some of Rifled Air Conditioning’s first productions of air conditioning units. Five years later, in September 2000, I was hired as the sales manager for Rifled.

Current job duties?
I’m responsible for the effective management of all day-to-day activities at Rifled Air Conditioning, including sales and marketing, operations, personnel management and directing the company to profitability.

Top achievements?
Professionally: successfully merging two companies into a complete turnkey air conditioning manufacturing and installation facility to take control of the air conditioning system from start to finish, and redirecting the company’s vision into being a leader in the school bus air conditioning market.

Personally: being a father to three great boys!

Outside interests?
I enjoy golf, football, coaching and cooking.

If you could travel anywhere in the world …
I would go to Bora Bora in the South Pacific. I want to stay in one of those overwater villas in the lagoon off of Bora Bora.

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I love to cook!

What do you like most about being in the industry?
The people. When I first started working for Rifled Air Conditioning, Glenn Matthews took me to a trade show and as we walked the floor, he told me, “People are the key to this industry! Now get out there and meet them, build relationships with them and enjoy your time with them!”

The last thing you do before you leave the office at the end of the day?
Print a recipe to cook for dinner.

Born: Rochester, N.Y.
Home: Jamestown, N.C.
Years in industry: 10

Notable previous jobs: Golf professional

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