In his more than 30 years of work in pupil transportation, Max Christensen has applied his forward-thinking attitude to help grapple with major issues in the industry, such as driver shortage and using technology to increase efficiency, as well as to update training to keep his state and pupil transporters across the U.S. current on important issues.
Christensen also has exemplary communication skills that enable him to cultivate successful partnerships not only for the Iowa Department of Education, where he works as an executive officer, but with industry associations.
“He is a gifted communicator,” says Tom Cooley, bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Education, and Christensen’s supervisor. “Watching how he interacts with people, Max is very friendly and knowledgeable, and has a good sense of humor.”
Christensen has managed in the 16 years that he has worked for the department to improve efficiency and enhance safety for students by bringing the state’s driver training and school bus inspection systems online, and by spearheading projects that test technology such as supplemental warning lights on buses.
Cooley says that Christensen’s accomplishments include ensuring that the department, in particular the Bureau of Finance, Facilities, Operation and Transportation Services, is always apprised of transportation trends.
Beyond his work for the state department, Christensen’s efforts have been effective on a national level. He is deeply involved in professional organizations, having bolstered the efforts of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) by serving as a board member, president, and past president over the last several years, and helping to clarify important positions, such as the association’s stance on seat belts. Moreover, he has helped NASDPTS continue to support the National Congress on Student Transportation (NCST) by taking the lead in coordinating a new location for the congress in 2015.
For his dedication not only to school transportation safety in Iowa but across the U.S. for the last three decades, School Bus Fleet named Max Christensen its 2018 Administrator of the Year. The award was presented at the NASDPTS Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
An in-depth profile of Christensen will appear in the January issue of SBF.