GREENSBORO, N.C. — Robert (Bob) Hach has led school bus companies big and small — including the biggest in North America at the time, Laidlaw Education Services. But regardless of the size of the company, his approach to leadership has stayed the same.
“Whether you’re running 50,000 buses or 10, you’re only as good as your last hire,” says Hach, now president and CEO of Sunrise Transportation in Crestwood, Illinois. “You have to make sure that they care as much as you do about getting kids to school safely and on time.”
In his more than 25 years in the school bus industry, Hach has been known for putting his people first — servant leadership, as he puts it. As his track record in the contracting business has shown — particularly in high contract renewal rates — his efforts to maintain strong morale among his staff have been key factors in the success of the companies he has helmed.
“I always felt if I took care of my people and treated them with respect — the Golden Rule — that they would work hard and treat their people well,” Hach says. “Then they treat the drivers well, and they take care of the kids and the customers, and it comes full circle.”
For his dedication to safe transportation for students and his leadership in the industry, School Bus Fleet has named Hach its 2016 Contractor of the Year. He is the 49th recipient of the award, which was presented at the National School Transportation Association’s annual meeting in Greensboro on Tuesday.
An in-depth profile of Hach will appear in the upcoming August issue of SBF.