The IC Bus parent company recognizes suppliers that exceeded performance expectations for quality, delivery, technology, and cost.
Austin died on Jan. 7 after fighting cancer for more than four years. He was 74.
Anna Borges, who worked with Austin at the California Department of Education (DOE) before his retirement and is now state director of pupil transportation, told SBF that he was a “genuine, caring, passionate man who wanted to do good for the industry. … He had this huge desire to share his knowledge with everyone so they could be better at what they do.”
Austin started his career in school transportation in 1958 with the Antelope Valley Union High School District in Lancaster, Calif. He served in various positions, including school bus driver, mechanic and route foreman, and eventually worked his way up to director of transportation.
In 1980, Austin led the development and creation of the Antelope Valley Schools Transportation Agency, a joint-powers authority that began serving about eight school districts in the region, helping reduce their transportation costs. He also served as the agency’s first CEO.
Austin later worked for a few years as a pupil transportation consultant before then-state director Ron Kinney recruited him to the DOE to serve as a bus driver instructor program specialist in 1991.
Borges said that Austin had a vital impact on the state’s instructors, imparting his deep knowledge of — and his passion for — the safe transportation of students.
“He made them want to go out and be better instructors,” Borges said.
Austin also dedicated much of his time and efforts to the California Association of School Transportation Officials (CASTO) and to regional and state school bus roadeos. He served as president of CASTO from 1987 to 1989, and he was bestowed with the honor of life member in 1998.
Austin retired from the DOE in 2005, but he stayed involved in CASTO and the roadeos and continued to give presentations. At the 2008 CASTO conference, for example, he emphasized the need to carefully manage expenses, increase efficiency and improve quality control and employee accountability at school bus operations.
“If you’re the boss, it’s OK to say ‘Show me’ and require a paper trail,” he told conference attendees.
Over the years, many members of the California pupil transportation community looked to Austin for advice.
“He always felt like the man who had all the answers, but he never made you feel like you should already know them,” Borges said. “He was a mentor and a pioneer in transportation.”
A memorial for Austin will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. at Balboa Park's Recital Hall, 2150 Pan American Rd. West, San Diego. In the meantime, family members and colleagues have been sharing their memories of him on a Facebook page.
The American School Bus Council launched its annual Love the Bus campaign with events at Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools on Feb. 4.
The School District of Palm Beach County (Fla.) honors Myron White, the district's longest-standing bus driver of more than 36 years, during its "Thank a Driver" week.
“Driven to Learn,” written by Albin J. Weiler, details his experiences and those of his fellow drivers behind the wheel and includes pupil transportation lessons and tips.
Ann Kania, a driver for We Transport Inc., faced several challenges throughout her career, but says the safety of students was her number-one priority.
The feature is available on all versions of the school bus manufacturer’s Saf-T-Liner C2 and allows the front entry doors to reopen automatically if they sense an object or obstruction in the doorway.
Katrina Self of Ohio is recognized with a plaque for putting her training to good use by reviving the child of a parent on her route.
The school transportation provider secures a five-year contract to operate 117 routes for Boise School District.
The funding will be used to expand HopSkipDrive's operations, which provide customized transportation service to children. The company also launches its service in Las Vegas.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will research the feasibility of offering free transportation to all students countywide.
Dynamic Specialty Vehicles is now the certified Blue Bird dealer for the entire province of Alberta.
This year’s event was held at two Orange County Public Schools locations on Feb. 4.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officially delays the deadline for the final rule "Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators" from Feb. 7, 2020, to Feb. 7, 2022. The agency released the official notice on Feb. 4.
In honor of Love the Bus month, Polk County Public Schools shows appreciation for its transportation staff by highlighting the daily joys and challenges of their jobs.
Navistar confirms it has received an unsolicited proposal from Traton SE to acquire the company for $35 per share.
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