NSTA Recognizes Industry Excellence at Awards Ceremony


The National School Transportation Association presented several awards on Tuesday, recognizing industry excellence at an awards dinner as part of their annual meeting held in South Carolina.

There were several different awards given out, including the Golden Merit Award, The Thomas Built Buses Continuing Education Grant, NSTA’s Green School Bus Fleet Certification Program, The Go Yellow, Go Green Award, The Hall of Fame Award and the Meritorious Service Award.

The Golden Merit Award, first given out in 1969, celebrates excellence in service, safety and community responsibility. This year’s recipients are:

  • Lucille Ayotte, Waterbury, Connecticut, First Student, Inc.
  • John Benish, Jr.,Oak Brook, Illinois, Cook-Illinois Corporation
  • Durham Topeka Customer Service Center, Durham School Services
  • Paul Quinn Mori, Huntington Station, New York, Huntington Coach Corporation
  • Brian Rutford, Richmond, California, First Student, Inc.
  • Bob Rutkoski, Naperville, Illinois, First Student, Inc.
  • Mike Sullivan, Marlborough, Massachusetts, First Student, Inc.
  • Marilyn Tasaka, Vancouver, British Columbia, First Student, Inc.
  • Laura Warren, Memphis, Tennessee, Durham School Services
  • Bill Young, Los Angeles, California, First Student, Inc.

The Thomas Built Buses Continuing Education Grant is given to an NSTA member contractor or their staff members in order to pursue continuing education. Justin P. Olson of GO Riteway Transportation Group in Cedarburg, Wisconsin is the recipient this year.

The recipient of the Outstanding Driver Service Award is Alfred Lewis of First Student Inc. in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. This award is given to school bus drivers that has demonstrated good safety skills and “a commitment to excellence.”

The NSTA’s Green School Bus Fleet Certification Program is given to NSTA members who work towards a cleaner environment. The winners included:


First Student, Inc. (Bozeman, Mont., and Waukesha, Wisc.)

National Express Corporation (Roseburg, Ore., and Spokane, Wash.)


First Student, Inc. (Avalon, Calif., Santa Ana, Calif., St. Andrews, Calif., West Valley, Calif., and Portland, Ore.)

Huntington Coach Corporation (Manhasset, N.Y.)

National Express Corporation (Lewisville, Texas)

The Go Yellow, Go Green Award recognizes industry leaders who “demonstrate initiative and commitment” in positively responding to environmental issues and concerns. It was awarded to The Trans Group LLC of Spring Valley, New York.

The Hall of Fame Award is given to individuals who have shown long-term commitment and efforts in service of the school transportation industry, and this year it was given to Robert Pudlewski of Fleet Ops Consulting LLC in Orchard Park, N.Y. Pudlewski is also the technical editor for School Transportation News magazine.

The Meritous Service Award was presented to Bill Loshbough of Execuwest Consultants in Albuquerque, N.M. This award is given to an individual “who has displayed unparalleled vision, support, and leadership toward improving pupil transportation safety, the promotion of NSTA and the school bus industry.”

“We are very proud of the dedication and commitment this year’s honorees have displayed to the industry.   Each, in their own way, has left a lasting contribution on the school transportation industry and we commend them for their efforts,” stated NSTA President Tim Flood.