<p>As a fitting retirement gift, maintenance veteran Gregg Peterson (left) got a collector&rsquo;s edition of gold-plated wrenches. At right is Doug Gallagher, Student Transportation Inc.&rsquo;s senior VP of fleet and maintenance.</p>

Gregg Peterson, a veteran school bus maintenance leader, has retired after 49 years of service in the school bus industry.

Peterson closed out his career as director of maintenance for the south-central region for Student Transportation of America (STA), which is a subsidiary of Student Transportation Inc.

He got his start in the industry in 1969 at 17 years old, when his uncle Jim McGee, owner of Russell Transportation in the Los Angeles area, asked Peterson to work for him. Peterson fueled and washed school buses and drove on weekends alongside his uncle and grandfather.

It wasn’t until Peterson began his first full-time job as a mechanic in 1973 that he found his true calling in the industry.

“It’s the satisfaction of keeping America’s future safe," Peterson said. "Getting kids to school on time is really important to me. I have a passion for making sure the buses are maintained and safe for our kids.”

Over the years, Peterson brought this passion for school bus safety and maintenance to several contractors in the school transportation industry. In 1995, he received the National School Transportation Association’s Golden Merit Award for excellent service.

Peterson also developed all of the forms and wrote the maintenance manuals for the Fleet Maintenance Tracking System, which was used by top contractors for more than a decade. By the time he arrived at STA in 2012, he had already come to be regarded as a leader in maintenance best practices, policies, and procedures.

“STA was the best company that I ever worked for,” Peterson said. “They gave me the autonomy to do what I thought was best. They let me do my job.”

STA honored Peterson for his years of service at a recent “Toast & Roast” event, where executive members of the STA and Student Transportation Inc. teams shared stories of their years spent working with Peterson. They also gave him a fitting gift: a collector’s edition of gold-plated snap-on wrenches.

In retirement, Peterson said that he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and visiting family in his home state of California. He also plans to tour U.S. national parks, beginning with Yellowstone.

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