PHILADELPHIA — School bus drivers were honored for their safety skills and contractors were recognized for outstanding service at the National School Transportation Association’s (NSTA’s) annual meeting.
In conjunction with the meeting, NSTA hosted the 2018 School Bus Driver International Safety Competition at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on July 21 and 22. The contestants, who qualified in state-level competitions, began the International Safety Competition with an orientation and a written exam testing their understanding of the rules of the road. The next day, the drivers got behind the wheel of a school bus and completed a road course. They competed in one of three categories: small bus, conventional, or transit.
Here are the top contestants in the 2018 School Bus Driver International Safety Competition:
First Place: Josh Simpkins, Montgomery County (Va.) Public Schools
Second Place: John Labus, Cabell County (W. Va.) Schools
Third Place: Dorothy Dorman, First Student Inc., Kansas
Honorable Mention: Bryan Brooks, West County Transportation Agency, California
First Place: Larry Hannon, Centennial School District, Pennsylvania
Second Place: Billy Wiseman, Kanawha County (W. Va.) Schools
Third Place: Michael Castaneda, North East Independent School District, Texas
Honorable Mention: Cathy Graham, Montgomery County (Va.) Public Schools
First Place: Victor Garza, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, California
Second Place: Dee Dee Lewis, Allen (Texas) Independent School District
Third Place: Sergio Duenas, Durham School Services, California
Honorable Mention: Mike Webster, Brightbill Transportation, Pennsylvania
NSTA President Blake Krapf congratulated the winners and said that the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition “showcases excellence in school bus knowledge, maneuvering, and skill. … All of the drivers in the International Competition are truly the best of the best on and off the road.”
Also in Philadelphia, NSTA presented its annual industry awards at a banquet on July 24. Here are the recipients: • Golden Merit Award: This award recognizes excellence in service, safety, and community responsibility. The 2018 recipients are Willie Spence of Krapf School Bus in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Gary Remster of B.R. Williams Inc. in Woodstown, New Jersey.
• Outstanding Driver Service Award: This honor is given to school bus drivers who have demonstrated exemplary safety performance and a commitment to excellence. This year's recipient is James Larry of Mountain Valley Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia.
• Green School Bus Fleet Certification: This program recognizes NSTA members for their efforts in working toward a cleaner environment. The certification levels are platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, depending on the level of fleet reduction in particulate matter. This year, gold certification went to Krapf School Bus/Palisades School District in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, and silver certification went to Kobussen Buses Ltd.’s School Bus Division in Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
• Hall of Fame Award: This award recognizes excellence in long-term efforts on behalf of pupil transportation. The 2018 recipient is Tim Flood of The Trans Group in Spring Valley, New York.
• Meritorious Service Award: This honor recognizes individuals who have displayed unparalleled vision, support, and leadership toward improving school transportation, the promotion of NSTA, and the school bus industry. For 2018, NSTA honored Tim Weaverling of the Keystone Insurers Group and Reed, Wertz and Roadman Inc. of Bedford, Pennsylvania. • Outstanding School Transportation Administrator Award: This award recognizes school transportation administrators who share NSTA’s commitment to the safe transportation of schoolchildren. The 2018 recipient is Joanne Yarnall of West Chester (Pa.) Area School District.
• Distinguished Service Award: This award recognizes special contributions made to pupil transportation contracting. The 2018 winner is Bob Pape of Dell Transportation in Port Washington, New York.
• Thomas Built Buses Continuing Education and Professional Growth Grant: This grant is given to an NSTA member contractor or staff to support continuing education. The 2018 recipient is Robyn Legan of Dousman Transport Co. Inc. in Delavan, Wisconsin.
Also at the NSTA ceremony, School Bus Fleet presented its 2018 Contractor of the Year award. This year’s recipient is Michael Tornabe of Logan Bus Co. in New York.