Melvin Florence has become one of the faces of First Student. As one of six employees featured in posters that highlight our new tagline and values, his picture now hangs on the walls of more than 500 of our locations across North America. His poster reminds employees and visitors that we always strive to set the highest standards. Melvin is not new to the First Student family. He has been with the company for 29 years, caring for generations of students. He began his career as a bus driver with Laidlaw and now serves as our location manager in Saddleback, California. It’s become somewhat of a family business. Melvin’s wife is in the transportation industry and Melvin has also recruited many family members and friends to join First Student. He is proud to work for a company he describes as “always progressing in safety, customer service and technology.”
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way!
A location manager’s job is not easy. Melvin draws inspiration from his family, particularly his parents. His dad’s motto was “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” which Melvin says he practices every day. “My parents were inspirational not only to my family and me, but also to the community in which we lived.” Being a trusted partner in the community extends well beyond the school day for Melvin. In addition to serving as a pastor of a local church, Melvin founded a program called “Pathway Project.” Melvin shares, “The program focuses on faith and education in guiding teens to make their best future by making their best choices now.” Melvin also works with an organization called “Mending Fence Ranch,” which his brother founded. They help young men and women transition to productive lives by focusing on work ethic and building confidence in their skills. Melvin also supports “Pack of Love,” which works to get backpacks containing basic necessities into the hands of the homeless or working poor.
Going Above and Beyond
Given his commitment to the community he serves, it’s not surprising Melvin has gone above and beyond to ensure a better start or finish to the school day for a child. “I think it happens every day in the life of a manager,” shared Melvin. “It’s done without thought or reservation.” He recounts one particular example last summer. A bus at his location was involved in a minor accident on a very hot day. As his team waited for police, the 50 students who were on board became thirsty. Melvin went to the store and purchased water for them to drink. “I saw a need and assisted where I could and the students and teachers were thankful. I learned a simple gesture of kindness benefits many.”
Our Employees Make Us a Great Company
It is the commitment to the children in our care that makes Melvin proud to work for First Student. “We are always developing and improving ourselves for the benefit of all of our student passengers. We truly care about the students we transport from the time they enter the bus until the end of the day when they are dropped back off at home.” Melvin believes it is our employees who make us a great company. “We are driven by the high expectation of the customer and our own desire to succeed beyond expectation.” He recognizes the opportunities that First Student offers those who enjoy making a difference in the lives of children. Our new tagline – Caring for students today, tomorrow, together.® – speaks volumes to Melvin. “It identifies our commitment to the safe transportation of our passengers, the partnership with our customers and the promise of remaining the best in transportation for years to come.”