MINNEAPOLIS — The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) presented  awards honoring those who have achieved a level of excellence from all facets of the industry at Tuesday night's awards dinner as part of NSTA's annual meeting here.

"We are very proud of the commitment and dedication this year's honorees have displayed throughout their careers,” said NSTA President Tim Flood. “Each, in their own way, has left a lasting contribution on the school transportation industry and we commend them for their efforts."

The Golden Merit Award recognizes excellence in the industry in service, safety and community responsibility.

This year's recipients include:

•    Carla Dodd, Petermann Bus, Cincinnati, Ohio
•    Laura Greene-Halley, First Student Inc., Hicksville, New York
•    Kevin Hansen, School Bus Inc., Sioux Falls, South Dakota
•    Tom McEnany, First Student Inc., Hicksville, New York
•    Crystal Neuman, School Bus Inc., Sioux Falls, South Dakota
•    Mike Nolte, First Student Inc., Dallas, Texas
•    Kevin Orzechowski, First Student Inc., Naperville, Illinois
•    Stephen Schmuck, Durham School Services, Wilbraham, Massachusetts
•    Brian Thrasher, Dean Transportation Inc., Lansing, Michigan
•    John Turney, Landmark Student Transportation Ltd., Aurora, Ontario

The Thomas Built Buses Continuing Education Grant is given to a member contractor or their staff to pursue continuing education. This year's recipient is Patty Riviello of The Trans Group LLC in Spring Valley, New York.

The Outstanding Driver Service Award is given to a school bus driver who has demonstrated exemplary safety performance and a commitment to excellence. In 2015, NSTA received two outstanding nominations for this award and made the exception to honor both recipients.

This year's award winners include:

•    Linda Bowar, First Student Inc., Rochester, Minnesota
•    Robyn Legan and Peggy Nieuwenhuis, Dousman Transport, Dousman, Wisconsin

NSTA's Green School Bus Fleet Certification Program recognizes NSTA members for their efforts in working toward a cleaner environment. This award has been reviewed and is endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus USA Program. The certification levels to be bestowed are Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze, depending on the level of fleet reduction in particulate matter.

This year's award winners include: 
•    First Student Inc., Bozeman, Montana; Portland, Oregon; and Waukesha, Wisconsin

•    First Student Inc., McMinnville, Oregon; Oakland, California; Long Lake, Minnesota; Los Angeles, California and San Fernando, California
•    Krapf Bus Companies, Red Lion Bus Co., Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
•    National Express LLC, Durham School Services, Memphis, Tennessee

•    National Express LLC, Durham School Services: Antioch, Illinois; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Keller, Texas; North Charleston, South Carolina; Pflugerville, Texas; Syracuse, New York
•    Krapf Bus Companies, Advanced Student Transportation, Wilmington, Delaware; George Krapf Jr. & Sons, all locations; Mountain Valley Transportation, Roanoke, Virginia; Red Lion Bus Co., Red Lion, Pennsylvania; Stafursky Transportation, Jermyn, Pennsylvania
•    First Student Inc., Gardena, California; Mission Viejo, California; Santa Ana, California; Seattle, Washington

•    First Student Inc., Baldwin Park, California; San Bernardino, California  

The Go Yellow, Go Green Award was created to recognize a leader in the school bus industry who has demonstrated initiative and commitment in pursuing positive response to growing environmental concerns. This year's recipient is National Express LLC of Warrenville, Illinois.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes recent special contributions to pupil transportation contracting. This year's recipient is John Benish Jr. of Cook-Illinois Corp. in Oak Brook, Illinois.

The Meritorious Service Award was established to recognize an individual who has displayed unparalleled vision, support and leadership toward improving pupil transportation safety, the promotion of NSTA and the school bus industry. This year's recipient is Donnie Fowler of Fowler Bus Co. in Richmond, Missouri.

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