School Bus Contractors

First Student exec joins NSC board

Posted on October 5, 2010

CINCINNATI — Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student Inc., has been elected to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) board of directors.

Burtwistle’s appointment became official at the NSC 2010 Congress & Expo, which will be held through Oct. 8 in San Diego. She will serve a two-year term as a board member with the council.

“I am honored to serve on the board of the National Safety Council,” Burtwistle said. “Their mission to prevent injuries and promote safety directly aligns with First Student’s core values. I look forward to working closely with the team to share ideas and best safety practices.”

The NSC works to save lives by preventing injuries at work, in homes, in communities and on roads. The organization achieves these goals through leadership, education, research and advocacy. As a member of the NSC board, Burtwistle will help to oversee the organization’s strategic direction and finances. She will also play a key role in approving policies and fundraising for the council.

Burtwistle has extensive experience in the transportation industry. Prior to joining First Student parent company FirstGroup America in 2008, she served as CFO of Virgin Rail Group in the U.K. and CFO for Coach USA. Burtwistle studied finance at Napier University in Edinburgh and is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

Also at the NSC 2010 Congress & Expo, Lydell Banks, safety manager at First Student’s New Orleans location, was named one of the organization’s 2010 Rising Stars of Safety. The NSC honored Banks for his hands-on approach to safety, including the development and implementation of safety programs that decreased the number of fixed object collisions and workplace injuries at his location.

Banks was one of 40 safety advocates under the age of 40 who were recognized during an awards ceremony at the congress on Oct. 5.

“Lydell has dedicated his professional life to improving the safety of First Student drivers and the students we transport every day,” said Gary Catapano, senior vice president of safety for First Student. “His commitment to safety and creative training initiatives have improved our safety measures in New Orleans and further engaged employees with our core value.”

Banks started his First Student career as a driver in 2006 and became the New Orleans location safety manager in 2008. Since that time, he has developed and promoted a number of safety programs for the location’s more than 450 employees. For instance, he implemented a program designed to help drivers better use their bus mirrors and reference points, which reduced the number of fixed object collisions in FY 2010 by 19 percent over FY 2009 numbers, according to the company.

Banks has also emphasized workplace safety and identified areas of training improvement. His programs have helped to reduce work injuries in FY 2010 by 24 percent over FY 2009 and decrease lost time injuries in FY 2010 by 38 percent over FY 2009, company officials said.

Related Topics: First Student Inc., FirstGroup America

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