National School Transportation Association Philly Meeting; Photos of Safety Competition Winners

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The keynote presentation at the National School Transportation Association meeting was made by Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta.

JULY 27 — The National School Transportation Association Annual Meeting & Convention in downtown Philadelphia featured a record win at the School Bus Drivers International Safety Competition, as well as federal updates.

NSTA officials reported that 138 delegates registered to attend the event, which runs through Wednesday.

Over the weekend, 68 drivers competed in the 48th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition held at the Wells Fargo Center. The results are posted in a table below.

Once again, the big winner was Larry Hannon of Pennsylvania, who topped the Conventional Bus category for a record ninth time. Other category winners were Josh Simpkins of Virginia, who won Small Buses, and Victor Garza of California, who won Transit Buses. Next year’s competition will be held on July 21-22, in Austin, Texas.

The keynote presentation on Monday afternoon was made by Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, there were a number of concurrent educational workshops, industry updates, committee meetings and networking opportunities.

Blake Krapf, NSTA president, commented that, “I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our supplier partners for providing the financial support that is needed to make this event possible.”

He added that the association’s premier event of the year provides the “opportunity to meet friends, colleagues and new contacts from across the school transportation industry. There are many NSTA members in attendance, including contractors, supplier partners and state association representatives.”

Events included:

  • Safety Competition Dinner & Awards Ceremony
  • Sponsor Showcase
  • President’s Welcome
  • First Observer Plus Training Program (Jimmy Beasley, Transportation Safety Administration)
  • Driving Students to Success (Pastor Alfred L. Reeves, Harford County P.S.)
  • Keyote Presentation (Congressman Lou Barletta)
  • Supplier Member Roundtable (Lee Edwards, Wells Fargo)
  • HR in a Digital Age (Richard Landau, Jackson Lewis, P.C.)
  • Investigation of Harassment Claims (Richard Landau, Jackson Lewis, P.C.)
  • Maximizing Uptime (Brian Julius, TRP Bus Parts; PACCAR, Inc.)
  • Manufacturer’s Panel (Blue Bird, Collins Bus, IC Bus and Thomas Built Buses)
  • Social Media: Don’t Post That! (Grace Kelly, RC Kelly Law Associates)
  • Mid-Year U.S. Economic Outlook (Charlie Dougherty, Wells Fargo Securities)
  • Legislative, Regulatory and Seatbelt Updates

NSTA acknowledged the safety competition winners on Sunday, July 22, at the NSTA Safety Competition Dinner & Awards Ceremony, which was sponsored by IC Bus, LLC. Banquet festivities were held at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa.

NSTA President Blake Krapf said, “This great event showcases excellence in school bus knowledge, maneuvering and skill. School bus transportation is the safest form of transportation to and from school. In fact, children are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car. All of the drivers in the International Competition are truly the best of the best on and off the road. We congratulate all of the drivers in this International Competition. We also recognize and honor the winners in each vehicle category.”

The contestants began the International Competition on Saturday, July 21, with an orientation and a written exam testing their understanding of the rules of the road. Then, on Sunday, July 22, the drivers jumped behind the wheel of a school bus and completed a road course. Drivers competed in one of three categories: small bus, conventional or transit.

According to NSTA, the competition provides school bus drivers from across the U.S. and Canada with a unique opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills, while allowing them to compete for the international title. In order to be eligible, a driver must have competed and won in a state or province competition in their designated school bus class during the last year. The driver must also enter the International Competition in the same designated school bus class that he or she won at the state or province level. The driver with the highest score in each school bus class for a public sector carrier, and the driver with the highest score in each school bus class for a private sector carrier, are eligible to compete in the International Competition.

NSTA was founded in 1964, to coordinate regulatory and legislative efforts on behalf of the private school bus industry, and recognize outstanding service among contractors in North America.

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48th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, July 21-22

Small Buses

Name                          Company/Organization                      State    Score  Rank

Josh Simpkins             Montgomery Co. Public Schools               VA          554      1
John Labus                  Cabell County Schools                            WV        508      2
Dorothy Dorman          First Student, Inc.                                  KS         445      3
Bryan Brooks               West County Transportation Agency         CA         418      4

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Conventional Buses 

Name                          Company/Organization                 State    Score  Rank

Larry Hannon              Centennial School District                    PA         621       1
Billy Wiseman             Kanawha County Schools                     WV        611       2
Michael Castaneda      North East ISD                                    TX         560       3
Cathy Graham             Montgomery Co. Public Schools            VA         513       4

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Transit Buses

Name                          Company/Organization                      State    Score  Rank 

Victor Garza                Newport Mesa USD                                  CA         553      1
Dee Dee Lewis            Allen ISD                                                 TX         527     2
Sergio Duenas            Durham School Services                           CA         490     3
Mike Webster              Brightbill Transportation                           PA          485     4

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Fox 29 TV news covered the school bus competition.

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta at his keynote presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

Drivers! Start yourrrrrrrr buses! Photo courtesy of NSTA.

 

 

 

 

 

NSTA President Blake Krapf (far left) with all of the competition winners.
NSTA President Blake Krapf (far left) with the Transit Winners: 1st Place, Victor Garza, Newport Mesa USD, CA; 2nd Place, Dee Dee Lewis, Allen ISD, TX; 3rd Place, Sergio Duenas, Durham School Services, CA; 4th Place, Michael Webster, Brightbill Transportation, PA.
NSTA President Blake Krapf (left) with the Conventional Winners: 4th Place, Cathy Graham, Montgomery Co. Public Schools, VA; 1st Place, Larry Hannon, Centennial School District, PA; 2nd Place, Billy Wiseman, Kanawha County Schools, WV; 3rd Place, Michael Castaneda, North East ISD, TX.

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