NICK SCOTT | Fleet Manager | Salem-Keizer Public Schools | Oregon Nick Scott literally grew up on a Salem-Keizer

Public school bus, as he rode one every day to and from school as a a student. His school bus driver used to quiz Scott and his peers during routes. One day, as Scott recalled, the driver asked, ‘How many lug nuts are on the school bus?’ Scott immediately replied with 60 because auto maintenance has also always been a part of his life. He went on to obtain his associates de-

gree in automotive and diesel technology and worked at a local tire, brake and alignment center. One of his fellow technicians at the shop left to begin working for Salem-Keizer Public Schools and later recruited Scott. Now going on 15 years at the district, he maintains a

fleet of 290 school buses, 58 activity vehicles, 170 district support vehicles and trailers, and 72 external customer buses and vehicles. “At this time of the year, we are planning the return

of students and how best to support their transporta- tion needs,” Scott said in August. “With COVID-19, it has required additional planning and meetings to meet current needs and plan what the future may look like as students return onsite.” Michael Shields, who retired as the district’s director of transportation in June, said when the pervious fleet

TONYA SMITH-DAVIS | Training Supervisor | Aldine ISD | Texas Twenty-six years ago, Tonya Smith-Davis was

working long hours in retail management while raising a young child. She needed a new job that would allow her more free time to spend with her son. “I made the decision to venture out

into a profession that would be more advantageous for my son and myself,” said Smith-Davis, 51. “I had a friend that worked in the industry, and after learning of free childcare, holidays and summers off, and a great retirement plan, I had no choice but to go for it.”

She has worked for Aldine Independent School District

in Texas ever since, and she was recently promoted to training supervisor. Smith-Davis now oversees the train- ing academy, but her days still begin bright and early each morning. First, she holds a brief meeting with her training staff, then it’s off to scheduling and reviewing driver and bus attendant credentials, which consist of motor vehicle reports, running clearinghouse queries, and verifying driv- er certification classes as well as first aid and CPR . Jill Metcalfe, executive director of transportation for Aldine ISD, shared that Smith-Davis served as her personal

manager retired after 23 years in June 2019, Scott stepped right into the role despite a steep learning curve in front of him. “He continued his duties as the shop

foreman and filled the vacancy left by the fleet manager,” Shields said. “Nick never complained about the long hours, the time that he missed the first

few months with his family, the frequent meetings required of the position, [and] the

added responsibility. … When the previous fleet manager departed, our department did

not miss a beat.” Shields added that Scott is a natural leader and is level-

headed in his both work and family life. He said Scott has a good sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously, an especially valuable trait as Shields added that almost everyone Scott works with and supervises is older than he is. Scott said he hopes to continue to learn, grow in fleet management, and expand his knowledge to the operations side of the house, possibly becoming a director one day. “Sometimes I am jokingly called the perfectionist or a

little OCD,” Scott said. “Keeping a tidy shop and organized records help us run such a large fleet smoothly. I am very lucky to have had great leadership who have spent the time to mentor me and help me grow into the manager I am.”

mentor when she first joined the department nine years ago. “I was nominated as a Rising Star years ago [2017], but it is because of Ton- ya and others in our department that I have been able to be successful,” Metcalfe added. She noted Smith-Davis designs and implements all pre-employment tu-

torials, CDL training, remedial training, and accident review board procedures. She also organizes the district’s bus roadeo

competition and the regional bus roadeo. She is a certified child passenger safety technician,

holds Texas Association of Pupil Transportation official certifications, and is working on her NAPT certifications. “My favorite part of the job is seeing newly hired people

come into the department and learn the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their position,” Smith-Davis said. “It is rewarding to see the change in their demeanors. They become more certain about their abilities to having a completely new sense of self-confidence. It gives me deep pleasure to see them accomplish their goals.” Smith-Davis said she hopes to continue to grow in her

role and find new ways to have a greater impact on the industry. 41

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