As a driver and as an instructor, Jill Winger found effective ways to connect with passengers and address difficult behavior. She retires on Friday.
SALT LAKE CITY — After 34 years of serving the pupil transportation industry, both for his state and nationwide, Murrell Martin is retiring.
Martin will leave his positions as pupil transportation specialist at the Utah State Board of Education and chair of the National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) effective Feb. 1.
Martin kicked off his many contributions to school transportation as a substitute school bus driver in 1982 while attending Utah State University. At the time, he did not envision it being a career, but he soon grew to enjoy the challenges and rewards of school bus driving. He drove for nine years before accepting a supervisory position at Cache County School District.
At the district level, Martin developed a staggered school starting time routing schedule that saved $1.3 million and created better jobs for many of the drivers, he said, and got his district to host the first Special Needs Team Safety Skills Competition in Utah in 2000, two years after it became a national event.
Martin was hired as the Utah state director of pupil transportation in July of 2006, and completed Utah’s highest level of the Certified Public Manager (CPM) program.
Throughout the course of his career, Martin has focused on collaborative efforts with other agencies and organizations.
In 2009, the state of Utah developed an idling reduction program through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Utah Clean Cities. This project has to date saved well over $1 million and removed “tons” of pollutants from the air, Martin said. He also directed the collaboration of several state and federal agencies and organizations to invest $6 million to retrofit approximately 1,000 school buses.
Also in 2009, Martin led a CPM team in developing a school bus efficiency measures project that identified different ways local school districts could develop increased efficiencies. The team project has been credited for helping school districts in the state save millions of dollars in recent years, he said.
One of the most fun projects Martin recalls participating in was a public service announcement in partnership with the Utah Association for Pupil Transportation and former NBA All-Star Mark Eaton, who recorded a video promoting the yellow school bus in 2011.
“Mark was fun to work with in the studio. At 7 feet, 4 inches, he had to duck his head at every doorway,” Martin said.
Martin also said it was an honor to be invited to present at the 1st Annual Conference on Shaping Sustainable School Transportation with Policy, Attitude and Action, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in April 2013.
In that same month, the state of Utah was recognized as the first recipient of the American School Bus Council Champion Award for work with clean air programs.
Then, in October 2013, Martin became the chair of the NCST, which he said he has enjoyed more than any other project.
“I have been so impressed with all of the great pupil transportation experts from all across the country,” he added. “The NCST Steering Committee has been great to work with, as well as each of the nine writing committees. It is humbling to watch as the delegations of professionals from the states gather for the Congress proceedings with a focus on progressive safety and efficiency for our industry.”
Martin has also served twice as a co-chair for the School Transportation News Western States Conference as well as on the national board of directors for the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), representing the 13 western states.
Additionally, he has served on the board of directors for Utah Clean Cities Coalition, and will continue to be involved in air quality efforts in retirement.
Martin said he is excited to move into a less intense workload, which includes part-time sales and consulting in professional lawn care. He will also take on a consulting role with NCST, and plans to make educational and motivational presentations to school bus drivers.
A replacement for Martin has not been selected yet, but the current contact is Jackie Hardman at (801) 538-7577 or [email protected]. For those who want to keep in touch, Martin can be reached at [email protected] or (801) 867-0755.
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