James Blue is general manager of  School Bus Fleet .

James Blue is general manager of School Bus Fleet.

It is both an honor and a humbling experience to be taking the reins of this editorial page and, more broadly, School Bus Fleet itself — which has been keeping the pupil transportation industry informed for nearly 60 years.

Some of you might be wondering, “Who is this new face on the page where Frank Di Giacomo used to be?” If that describes your thinking at this point, you likely missed Frank’s last editorial.

Frank decided to cut back on his day-to-day oversight of the magazine by “retiring” as publisher of SBF. I put “retiring” in quotation marks because Frank is still very much involved in the magazine, working on strategic partnerships and other projects as vice president/publisher emeritus.

Fortunately, I have the privilege of working closely with Frank, and he will continue to impart his decades of industry experience and knowledge to me and to SBF in general. Thank you, Frank, for the fantastic work you’ve done in delivering a first-rate publication, and thank you for passing on the baton to me.

Without turning this into a resume, I’ll give you a brief description of my background so you’ll know something about me. I’ve worked in business-to-business media since 1996 and have run and launched trade shows around the world. Most recently, I managed a portfolio of events, magazines and digital properties in the security and fire sectors.

Exciting exchange
Speaking of events, we have a new one coming up called School Bus eXchange (SBX). Again, in case you missed the news in our January issue, we’ve partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to launch an innovative, intimate gathering that promises to explore bold ideas and to build strong relationships among industry leaders.

The inaugural SBX, to be held April 6-8 near Dallas, will focus on exchanging solutions for school transportation challenges. Attendees will do this throughout a packed schedule that includes presentations by an “expert in residence,” roundtable discussions with peers and one-one-one consultations with industry suppliers.

For school bus operators, one of the advantages of the event is that it’s free — all expenses, including airfare, are covered by scholarships awarded to the approximately 30 people selected to attend.

It’s exciting for all of us here at School Bus Fleet to be collaborating with NAPT to craft this groundbreaking event. Please go to schoolbusxchange.com for more details.

Your thoughts?
In this editorial and in other aspects of SBF, my goal is to make it a two-way street. We want to hear from you — about the challenges you face, the success stories you’ve experienced, the topics you want to read more about in these pages. Send us your input at info@schoolbusfleet.com.

I met many of you at the NAPT Summit in November, and immediately I could tell that this industry is a community that is passionate about keeping children safe and contributing to their education. You have an important job, and SBF is dedicated to helping you do your best in it.