DES MOINES, Iowa — After nearly 30 years in the pupil transportation industry, Owen Freese will retire at the end of this year.
Freese, the executive director of the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association (IPTA) announced the news at the annual Iowa School Transportation Conference in Des Moines last month. When he retires on Dec. 31, he will have served as IPTA’s executive director for three years.
Freese began his school transportation career in 1986 as the transportation director and mechanic at Galva-Holstein (Iowa) Community Schools. In 1999, he was hired as a school bus inspector with the Iowa Department of Education.
Iowa state pupil transportation director Max Christensen said that during Freese’s time with the Department of Education, he inspected 7,500 vehicles annually and became well known across the state for his efficiency, knowledge and humor.
“He is first and foremost a great friend and ally, but professionally is one of the most knowledgeable people in the field of school transportation today,” Christensen said of Freese. “His understanding of the procedures and processes, but also the mechanics of the buses themselves, is unmatched.”
In 2012, Freese and fellow Iowa school bus inspector Verlan Vos received the Tom Horn Memorial Award.
In retirement, Freese said that he looks forward to spending more time with his top priority, his family, as well as playing golf.