Wes Platt

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It’s time to park the bus – for good, for me at least.

Don’t get me wrong: During my three years serving as executive editor of School Bus Fleet, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to get to know the school transportation industry, to meet smart, caring professionals in the field, and to help tell the ongoing story of the evolution of the big yellow school bus.

I came to this job almost entirely by accident, when I reached out seeking a freelance writing opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic and the leadership at Bobit instead offered me the role of editor. It was a serendipitous moment that changed the course of my career in ways I never anticipated.

I’d been a print journalist. I’d been a technical writer. I’d been a computer game designer. I didn’t know a lot about school buses, except what I’d gleaned from covering school districts at the newspaper. Once I got into this role, as I met the wonderful people and learned about the technology involved in getting our kids from home to school and back again every day, I never thought I’d consider another career change. Daily newspapers are diminishing rapidly, after all. Technical writing bores me. The video game industry is too volatile.

School Bus Fleet kept me interested in what was happening every day. I felt appreciated by my colleagues and welcomed by the seasoned professionals throughout the industry when I traveled to events hosted by the National School Transportation Association, National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. Each event was a treasure trove of knowledge and camaraderie, where I got to witness firsthand the dedication and passion of those who work tirelessly to ensure the safety and efficiency of school transportation.

I’ve seen federal funds pooled for school districts to carry their bus fleets into the future of clean school buses. The push for electric buses is more than just an environmental initiative; it’s a commitment to the health of our children and communities. I’ve had the exhilarating experience of driving an electric school bus myself, feeling the quiet hum of the bus and imagining the positive impact this shift will have on the environment. Watching bus models evolve with the times, integrating new safety features and technology, has been like watching the future unfold.

Participating in lively panel discussions allowed me to dive deep into pressing issues and emerging trends. Never. Stopped. Learning. This industry is a constant source of innovation and progress, and I’ve been privileged to be a part of that journey. It felt like home, even as a remote job. The connections I made, the stories I shared, and the lessons I learned will stay with me forever.

But, down deep, in my bones, I’m a community journalist. News coverage around my neighborhood in South Durham, North Carolina, is skimpy at best, focused almost exclusively on crime and chaos. This year, I’ve been given the chance to remedy that by starting my own online ultra-local news site called Southpoint Access. The goal is to provide balanced, comprehensive coverage that highlights the positive aspects of our community, as well as the challenges we face. I want to shine a light on the local heroes, the unsung efforts, and the everyday stories that often go unnoticed.

So, I’m not leaving School Bus Fleet because I don’t love this job. But making a difference right here in my own back yard is more than a job, it’s a calling. I can’t ignore that call. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with my roots in journalism and to serve my community in a meaningful way.

I can’t claim to have been at this long enough to bleed yellow. But it’s safe to say, at the very least, there’s an amber tint. I'll always cherish the memories and experiences from this chapter of my life, and I’ll carry them with me as I embark on this new adventure.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this adventure. To my colleagues, the industry professionals, and the readers of School Bus Fleet – keep on rolling. Your dedication and passion make this industry exceptional, and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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