The award, in its 23rd year, was presented to Vrabel by the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation (OAPT). The award was created in memory of William Rice, former president of OAPT, who died in office during the 1987-88 school year. Officials said the intent of this award is to recognize supervisors who exhibit outstanding leadership and professional conduct in the school transportation field, both in the districts they represent and in the state of Ohio. It also recognizes supervisors who have contributed to the advancement of transportation supervision as a profession.
Vrabel completed 15 years of service to the Columbiana County Educational Service Center (ESC) and community before accepting a position at Youngstown City School District. He then moved to Transit Service Inc.
He is a member of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, and he has been a member of its Professional Development Strategic Planning Committee, helping to create professional development programs for all Ohio school business officials.
In November, Vrabel was named the Ohio Association of School Business Officials’ 2012 recipient of the Foundation for School Business Management’s Outstanding Transportation Director of the Year award.
Vrabel currently serves as president-elect of OAPT. He is also past president of Columbiana County Transportation Supervisors Association, a member of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, former member of the Ohio Department of Education’s Parent Advisory Council, and he served on the review team for the second submission of the Race to the Top grant, which was accepted.
Vrabel volunteers his time to his community as well. He is a commander for the Sons of the American Legion, and for the past three years, he has been the chairman of the Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremonies in Poland, Ohio. In 2011, he was named the Citizen of the Year for service to Veterans and Americanism by the United Veterans Council of Greater Youngstown.
A sports enthusiast, Vrabel is currently an NCAA football referee for the Presidents Athletic Conference. He also referees high school football and basketball, and he has served many youth sports associations as a board member, manager, coach, umpire, public relations director and assistant tournament director.
Vrabel also volunteers for the Special Olympics.