Industry veteran Willie Tarleton recently completed a decade of service as NAPT’s Region IV director.
Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don't know where I'm goin' to
Silk suit, black tie
I don't need a reason why
What do these lyrics from ZZ Top's legendary song "Sharp Dressed Man" have to do with pupil transportation?
Nothing directly. But they came to mind in writing a profile of someone whose reputation is legendary in our industry: Willie Tarleton, director of transportation services for the Midland (Texas) Independent School District, a position he's held since 1998.
He's one of the sharpest-dressed men you'll ever meet! You can't miss the impeccably tailored suits, starched shirts, shined shoes and his trademark monogrammed initials on his shirt cuff.
But that's not the true measure of the man. It's his 29 years (and counting) of contributions to yellow transportation that make him stand out, and his completion of a decade of distinguished service as NAPT's Region IV director.
What triggered the decision to profile Tarleton was an article written by incoming NAPT board member Barry Sudduth, transportation supervisor at Stafford County (Va.) Public Schools.
Sudduth wrote about how he attended NAPT annual conferences at his own expense when employer budgets restricted travel, and how those he met at the conference influenced him.
"I made a connection to a worldwide network of professional resources that regularly proves invaluable to me in my professional endeavors," Sudduth wrote.
Tarleton is one such professional always accessible at NAPT conferences. He is a helpful mentor for those new to the industry, and even seasoned veterans seek his take on things.
A graduate of East Central University in Oklahoma, Tarleton's list of professional and civic accomplishments is six pages long, single-spaced! In addition to many contributions to NAPT, he's served on dozens of boards, committees and other community leadership positions.
Here are just a few: literacy council, arts, children's shelter, city planning commission and Head Start. His awards are many: City of Ardmore, Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Texas State Transportation Association Administrator of the Year, Citizen of the Year, and the list goes on.