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October 16, 2012  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Max Christensen aims to maintain association alliances

At this year’s conference in Memphis, Tenn., Max Christensen will become president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. He plans to keep the association focused on changes in technology, build upon its relationship with other industry groups and work on growing its ties to federal-level agencies.

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Max Christensen says he would like to try to bring the NASDPTS and NAPT conferences to Omaha, Neb.

Max Christensen says he would like to try to bring the NASDPTS and NAPT conferences to Omaha, Neb.

While working as a farmer in Iowa more than 20 years ago, Max Christensen was approached by a man, Warren, who asked if Christensen could help him pull his truck out of a hole. Christensen obliged.

Warren, a school district transportation director, recommended Christensen for the position before he resigned. Christensen interviewed and was hired.

He then worked at other operations before becoming executive officer of school transportation for the Iowa Department of Education.

As he steps into the role of president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), Christensen says he has several goals, including maintaining NASDPTS’ alliance with other industry associations.

“I’d like to try to bring the NASDPTS/National Association for Pupil Transportation [NAPT] conferences to Omaha, Neb.,” he adds. “It’s truly a world-class city.”

Christensen also says NASDPTS will work on finding a new chair for the National Congress on School Transportation. (Chair Pete Japikse has retired.)

Christensen discusses other goals, industry challenges and the conference in Memphis with SBF Managing Editor Kelly Roher.

What are your goals for your term as president of NASDPTS?
MAX CHRISTENSEN: There is so much happening in the school transportation industry, and technology is changing so fast that it’s very hard to keep up. My goal is to keep NASDPTS focused on these changes and to maintain our alliances with the other associations. We’ve really been building those relationships, and I think it has paid off in many ways, including the creation of the American School Bus Council six years ago. We can accomplish so much more working together than by working separately. We have a longstanding tradition of working with NAPT in putting together two of the finest conferences of any industry. And over the past few years, we’ve been invited to join with NSTA [National School Transportation Association] at their Capitol Hill fly-in in Washington, D.C., each spring.

I’d also like to see NASDPTS build closer ties to our allies at the federal level: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Education and others.  

Are there any issues impacting the industry at a national level that you plan to work on during your term?
I think we do a good job of addressing new issues that come up and determining the impact they have on our industry. However, there are a number of older issues that we need to look at to be sure that we are as up-to-date as possible. Some of those would include school bus driver training, the use of vans as school buses, advertising on buses and seat belts in school buses.

NASDPTS has a number of position papers on these and other topics that are no longer “hot button” issues, but are still quite important. Some of our position papers go back over a decade. I’d like to see us revise and/or update all of our position papers so those items carry current relevance.

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