COLONIE, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) presented its 2016 industry safety and service awards during the association’s 62nd annual convention, held here Oct. 14-15.
“Our annual convention gathers industry professionals from all over the state to learn the latest about school bus safety, security, and technology, along with current industry innovations and best practices,” NYSBCA President Mike Martucci said. “It is also the time when we recognize the people within our industry who demonstrate unparalleled commitment to student safety and outstanding service to the school districts and communities in which they serve.”
The NYSBCA presented two awards this year: Contractor of the Year and the Heart of the Industry Award.
The Contractor of the Year Award is the association’s highest honor and is presented to a contractor who, along with having an exceptional safety and performance record, has superior maintenance and training programs and is deeply involved with local communities. The winner of the Contractor of the Year Award is also honored with the Roger Weeks Scholarship Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship made to the Contractor of the Year Award winner’s school district of choice.
This year’s Contractor of the Year Award and Roger Weeks Scholarship Award went to Tim Birnie, CEO of Birnie Bus Service.
"I am very grateful and appreciative to receive the 2016 Contractor of the Year [and the] Roger Weeks Scholarship Award from the NYSBCA,” Birnie said. “To be considered in the same category as previous recipients of the Contractor of the Year Award is a tremendous honor. It would not have been possible without my entire team, and I proudly share this award with all of our employees."
A family-owned business, Birnie Bus Service was cofounded by Tim Birnie’s father, Martin, in 1947 with two school buses, two motorcoaches, and a station wagon. Today, the company has more than 900 school buses and more than 1,400 employees. Headquartered in Rome, New York, Birnie Bus Service operates out of 18 locations in New York state.
“Tim Birnie and Birnie Bus Service truly represent the gold standard when it comes to safe, reliable, and cost-effective student transportation,” Martucci said. “Not only has Birnie Bus Service continued to grow and thrive under Tim’s leadership, his more than 30 years of service on the New York School Bus Contractors Association board has helped push the entire industry forward. Tim’s brilliance and inspiration as a student transportation provider is only matched by his humility, as he always puts his school district partners and employees first. We are incredibly honored to present Tim Birnie with our Contractor of the Year Award.”
The Heart of the Industry Award honors an industry employee who, through the course of his or her job performance, has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving other people’s lives and who has gone above and beyond to accomplish that goal.
NYSBCA gives out two Heart of the Industry Awards: one to an “on-road” employee and the other to an “off-road” employee. The awards are sponsored by Factory Direct Bus Sales and were presented by its owner, Rick Reichenbach.
This year’s On-Road Heart of the Industry Award went to Annabelle Coykendall, driver for First Student Inc. (Valley Central School District), and this year’s Off-Road Award winner is The Trans Group’s Tanya Zitzelsberger.
“While Tanya works in our office and is not a school bus driver, her devotion and commitment to the industry is equally deserving of recognition,” said John Corr Jr., president of The Trans Group. “She continually goes above and beyond what is expected in service to the thousands of schoolchildren who ride our buses daily.”