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Industry professionals are recognized for their leadership in student transportation


WRITTEN BY CLAUDIA NEWTON | CLAUDIA@STNONLINE.COM T


he school bus industry is full of under-recognized individu- als who are the backbone of daily planning and operations at school districts and bus contracting companies across North America. Because of these dedicated, innovative individuals, tens of millions of schoolchildren get to and from school safely, each day. Yet, they often receive publicity only when something goes wrong. School Transportation News is recognizing


student transporters who do their jobs, do them well, inspire others, and serve as leaders in their field—but who also might be flying under the national industry’s radar. We called for nominations of such individuals, and our readers did not disappoint. Meet 10 outstanding student transportation professionals, and find a full list of all 68 nominations submitted by readers at stnonline.com/rising2018.


Cody Cox DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION & FLEET SERVICES BELLVILLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (TEXAS)


Since the age of 18, Cox has served as a school bus driver, dis-


patcher, trainer, field trip coordinator, payroll and finance specialist, certified diesel technician, router, route supervi- sor, manager, supervisor and assistant


transportation director. Now, as director of transportation and fleet services at Bellville ISD, he runs the district’s largest depart- ment. And his school bus operation is one of the few that is fully staffed, revealed Rick D’Errico, director of public relations at the district’s technology partner, Transfinder. “Not many districts can say they don’t need drivers, but I can,”


Cox commented. His secret? “I manage my department by making sure we are appreciating


the employees and making transportation a place people want to work,” he explained. This, he added, has resulted in less turnover and a much higher employee retention rate. From monthly birthday cakes and potlucks, to holiday feasts, to the home-like feel of the décor around the department, he strives


to “focus really heavily on the staff.” Though he pays for these incentives from his budget, he revealed that doing so is cheaper than being understaffed and paying overtime. Drivers come from surrounding districts to apply at Belleville


ISD, and Cox has even had to turn away qualified applicants. The best word-of mouth comes from his drivers, who are happy where they work. “It sounds small, but it’s not,” he said of his morale- boosting efforts. A creative innovator as well, he installed televisions on special needs buses, a move that he said has resulted in “great success” with student management. Cox is both a learner and a teacher. He regularly attends conferences produced by the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation and the National Association for Pupil Transportation. Additionally, he has led workshops at the STN EXPO Reno and the Texas Association of School Business Officials annual conference. “He also currently helps districts on the side with audits, efficiency studies, routing and compliance,” D’Errico added.


42 School Transportation News • OCTOBER 2018


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