GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — The Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (MSBOA) recognized several members with awards at its annual summer conference, held here on June 12.
MSBOA presented the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Dan Schmitt. Established in 2006, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors past or present members of the MSBOA who have dedicated their lives to the Minnesota school bus industry.
Schmitt owned and operated Schmitty and Sons Bus Co. in Lakeville, up until his recent retirement when he sold to his employees, providing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Schmitty and Sons has been in the school bus industry for over 60 years and has expanded to include public transit and charter operations as well as equipment sales, according to MSBOA.
Meanwhile, Pat Regan was recognized with the Jim DeVeau Award, which was established to honor individuals who have devoted themselves to school bus safety in Minnesota.
Regan, the owner of Hastings Bus Co. and Minnesota Coaches, among other operations, was chosen for the award based on recommendations from his peers. The Regan family has been in the school bus business for more than 30 years. Regan’s son Garrett, brother-in-law Joe, and other family members also work in the school bus industry. Regan has always been a strong supporter of the MSBOA, including serving a term on the board of directors, according to MSBOA.
Additionally, five school bus drivers from around the state were selected for the 2017 Transportation Specialist Awards.
The drivers were nominated by their supervisors for exemplifying the best of the best in school transportation. The applications were judged by the Minnesota Office of Pupil Transportation Safety on criteria such as years of service, dedication to safety, community service achievements, communication with school staff, and letters of recommendation from parents, coworkers, students, and school staff.
The 2017 Transportation Specialist Awards were presented to:
• Victor Smith, Monarch Bus Service Inc., Hastings
• Matt Kounkel, Hoglund Transportation, Monticello
• Duane R. Stucke, Voyageur Bus Co., Duluth
• Marcia Donkers, Faribault Transportation, Faribault
• Bob Mertes, Trobec’s Bus Service, St. Stephen
In addition to the award, a $1,000 check was awarded in each driver’s name to go toward a scholarship fund for deserving youth in the school district they serve.
The MSBOA was created in 1948 to focus efforts on school bus safety for passengers in the state of Minnesota. More information on the organization is available at www.msboa.com. This was the 24th annual award ceremony.