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January 11, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Productive Discussions on Pressing Issues

Speakers at the NAPT Summit take on such topics as bus loading and unloading safety, bullying and cutting costs, and sharing information to ensure student safety and increase efficiency at one’s operation.

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From left: David Farley, Kevin Baker and Michael Shields of Salem-Keizer Public Schools discussed ways to create a high-performance team within a transportation department.

Officials share tips on creating a high-performance team
An integral component of an efficient pupil transportation operation is its employees, and members of Salem, Ore.-based Salem-Keizer Public Schools’ staff discussed how to establish a high-performance team.

At the helm of a high-performing team, Director of Transportation Michael Shields said, is a leader. A leader must develop a vision for his or her operation and establish a plan for making that vision come to fruition.

Shields said leaders also need to be aware of their employees’ skills and help them use those skills to support the operation’s vision. This requires coaching and training employees.

On hand to offer suggestions on how to have high-performing teams within the maintenance and operational sectors of a transportation department were David Farley, head mechanic, and Kevin Baker, lead router.

Farley recommended creating a one-year roadmap that outlines the staff’s intended goals for each quarter. In the long term, a three- to five-year action plan can be drafted, and it should align with the transportation department’s overall vision or mission. He also noted the importance of developing measurable data points related to, for example, preventive maintenance to track progress in accomplishing goals.

Baker continued in this vein, suggesting that operations set up periodic reviews of procedures and modify them as needed to increase efficiency.

Products launched at trade show
From school buses to software systems, there was a variety of new products on display at the trade show.

Blue Bird Corp. and Micro Bird Inc. debuted the newest addition to Blue Bird’s alternative fuel lineup, the Propane-Powered Micro Bird by Girardin. The Type A bus is built on a Ford chassis and features a liquid propane system by Roush Performance Products.

Company officials said that a 43-gallon fuel tank enables the bus to travel up to 320 miles on a single tank of propane.

Production was scheduled to get underway in the beginning of this year.

Moreover, presentations were given on new systems for school bus fleets. Transfinder provided information on its fleet maintenance solution, Servicefinder. Company officials reviewed key features that help in managing fleets’ vehicles, parts, inventory and work orders.

“This is an exciting new platform from Transfinder that responds to the specific needs of school bus transportation directors for a browser-based solution to more easily and efficiently keep their fleets at peak performance and safety levels,” Transfinder President and CEO Antonio Civitella said.

247Security Inc. introduced TouchDown, a fleet management system that combines video, GPS and G-Force.

With TouchDown, pupil transportation operations can manage all elements of video from their offices. For example, a company representative said that the software can be updated from the user’s office as long as the buses are within the range of the wireless network.

TouchDown also provides a complete GPS track record of fleet vehicles’ activities. This information can be retrieved and viewed within a simple application that links GPS and video.

The 2011 NAPT Conference and Trade Show will be held Oct. 22-27 in Cincinnati.

Attendees look over the newly unveiled AE Series school bus, which IC Bus says is the first Type A that is fully integrated.

IC Bus unveils new Type A

In a special event, IC Bus revealed for the first time its new AE Series school bus.

According to the manufacturer, it is the first Type A that is fully integrated. The new small bus is designed to have a longer lifecycle, and its proprietary design allows for bumper-to-bumper coverage and ensures that customers have a single point of contact with the IC Bus network.

The vehicle has an IC Bus chassis and runs on a MaxxForce 7 220 hp diesel engine with Advanced EGR. To enhance serviceability, its full-tilt hood provides unobstructed access to the engine compartment. The bus has an Allison 100 Series transmission and a hydraulic split brake system with ABS.

Optional features include factory-installed IC Air, an ADA-compliant wheelchair lift and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

IC Bus Director of Marketing David Hillman said that the AE Series will be available for order in spring 2011. The company plans to begin full production in the fall.


German Salazar of Oviedo, Fla., was the overall winner of the NAPT's 2010 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest.

NAPT names poster contest winners

On display at the NAPT trade show were entries for the association’s 2010 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest.

The theme of the contest this year was “Be Aware — Know the Danger Zone!”

German Salazar of Oviedo, Fla., had the winning poster in Division III and was the overall winner of the contest.

Here are the top entrants in each division.

Division I

First: Nia Isabella Garza, Brownsville, Texas
Second: Jennifer Sieredzki, Clayton, N.C.
Third: Elizabeth Beckstrom, Coon Rapids, Minn.

Division II
First: Angela Wang, Canton, Mich.
Second: Sukhmani Kaur, Akron, Ohio
Third: Emma Spencer, Sherwood, Ore.

Division III
First and Overall Winner: German Salazar, Oviedo, Fla.
Second: Kate Roth, Coon Rapids, Minn.
Third: Nicholas Moulder, Warner Robins, Ga.

Division IV
First: Celah Diane Malone, Portland, Ore.
Second: Zoey Make Vinge, Spring Lake Park, Minn.
Third: Patricia Kontemichalas, West Hempstead, N.Y.

Computer Assisted Drawing Division
First: Emily Davis, Baker City, Ore.
Second: Samantha Pezzello, Goshen, N.Y.
Third: Lia Peppers, Colorado Springs, Colo.

International Division
First: Shannon Anderton, APO AP
Second: Chanapa Mann, APO AP

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