CHARLESTON, S.C. — Student Transportation Inc. (STI) founder and leader Denis Gallagher has been named SCHOOL BUS FLEET’s 2014 Contractor of the Year.

SBF Publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the honor at the National School Transportation Association’s awards banquet in Charleston on Tuesday evening.

Gallagher is the chairman and CEO of the third-largest school bus contracting firm in North America. Each school day, Student Transportation Inc. shuttles 1 million students to and from school with a fleet of more than 11,000 yellow buses.

Gallagher has been an outspoken champion of outsourcing school transportation in STI’s work with school districts and in high-profile interviews on news networks. He has led STI’s remarkable growth with a strategy dubbed “A-B-C”: acquisition, bid and conversion.

Gallagher has also been at the forefront in adopting alternative fuels and new technologies in school transportation. In 2012, STI made the largest single order of propane school buses to date: more than 400.

As the company has grown, it has continued to focus on its people as the core of its success. In 2012, STI launched an annual Employee Appreciation Week, which terminals across the nation celebrate with events like catered lunches, barbecues and award ceremonies.

Gallagher has also maintained strong relationships with customers, as evidenced by his company’s 95% contract renewal rate over 17 years.

A profile of Gallagher and STI will appear in the September issue of SCHOOL BUS FLEET.