<p>IC Bus&nbsp;named the winners of its 2019 Dealer of the Year, Pursuit of Excellence, and Diamond Dealer awards. It also released &ldquo;Next Stop,&rdquo; its podcast that covers school bus industry-related topics. Photo courtesy IC Bus</p>

LISLE, Ill. — IC Bus has announced the winners of its 2019 Dealer of the Year, Pursuit of Excellence, and Diamond Dealer awards, and has launched its own podcast.

The school bus manufacturer named Leeds Transit as its 2019 Dealer of the Year, according to a news release from IC Bus. This award focuses on exceptional dealership performance and industry and community leadership.

“I am proud to present Leeds Transit, which is already celebrating the huge milestone of its 50th year in business, with the IC Bus Dealer of the Year award, our highest honor, as they have truly demonstrated everything this award stands for,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus.

In addition to exceeding many of its performance metrics for the year, Leeds Transit is heavily involved in its community, according to IC Bus. Its members are active in the Ontario School Bus Association and the Ontario Association of School Business Officials, and provide significant support to local school programs.

“Our entire team is full of hardworking, dedicated, and passionate people who truly go above and beyond for their customers and their community,” said Kelly Backholm, dealer principal at Leeds Transit. “I could not be more proud to receive this award on behalf of everyone at Leeds Transit.”

IC Bus also named the winners of its annual Pursuit of Excellence award, the winners of its Diamond Premier award, and its Diamond Dealer award winner. In partnership with IC Bus dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada, these awards pay tribute to companies that demonstrate excellence in improving sales, market share, and customer satisfaction. Winners are also required to meet community service requirements to be eligible for recognition.

The 2019 winners of the Pursuit of Excellence award are:

•    Ward International Trucks LLC.
•    Midwest Transit.
•    Longhorn Bus Sales.
•    Roberts Truck Center New Mexico.
•    Leeds Transit.
•    Maxim Transportation Services Inc.
•    McCandless Truck Center.
•    Summit Bus Oklahoma.

This year’s Diamond Premier winners are:

•    RWC Group Arizona.
•    Worldwide Heritage Inc.

IC Bus also recognized Rush Truck Center Salt Lake City as this year’s Diamond Dealer award winner.

“Each of our winners have made a tremendous impact on their communities, customers, and the school bus industry,” Reed said. “They each play a critical role in helping us achieve our ultimate goal of getting children to and from school safely each day, and I am so proud to have their support in this endeavor.”

Meanwhile, the school bus manufacturer also launched “Next Stop,” a new podcast focused on discussing topics across the school bus industry that aims to drive positive impact across all school bus stakeholders.

The podcast, which can be found on the IC Bus website, Spotify, and Apple Podcast, is hosted by Justin Cocchiola, IC Bus’s marketing manager. In each episode, Cocchiola talks with people from various aspects of the school bus industry about current trends and hot topics related to that guest.

“At IC Bus, we know how important it is to look at the school bus industry from a holistic point of view, and hopefully that comes through in this podcast,” Cocchiola said. “We wanted to make sure the voices of the people that live and breathe the school bus industry every day come through and are represented. This is not meant to be a podcast focused on IC Bus products and services; instead, it’s content focused on bringing awareness to some of the hot topics, trends, and happenings across the school bus industry and how industry stakeholders can help drive a positive impact.”

The podcast launched with three episodes that discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the school bus industry. In the first episode, Cocchiola speaks with IC Bus’s Reed, who shares her perspective on the pandemic and what role IC Bus and other stakeholders in the industry should play during this time.

In the second episode, Cody Cox, the director of transportation and maintenance at Community Independent School District (ISD) in Nevada, Texas, shares what he and the district are doing to make sure those in their area are being taken care of.

The third episode features Curt Macysyn, executive director of the National School Transportation Association. In this episode, Justin and Curt talk about the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and what it means for the industry and school bus contractors.

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