Meet Todd Monteferrario Senior Director, Operational Excellence
Student Transportation a Family Affair
“I grew up at the bus garage,” says Senior Director of Operational Excellence Todd Monteferrario. “I remember sitting in a big chair next to my grandfather’s desk and playing on an old cast iron mechanical adding machine with a crank handle. I was 4 years old.” This is Todd’s earliest memory of New Jersey-based Bergen-Passaic Transport Service, Inc., a company founded by his great-grandfather. To say that student transportation is in his blood is certainly no exaggeration. At the age of 12, says Todd, “I washed windows all summer long for my grandfather. After I had finished washing every bus window, I then washed every garage and overhead window – inside and out – nearly 7,200 windows total!” By high school, Todd was working in the shop maintaining a parts inventory tracking system.
From the Family Business to the First Student Family
After completing his degree at the University of Richmond (Virginia) in 1989, Todd returned to the family business. “I did everything from dispatching to bidding.” By 1993, Todd was handling the daily operations of the business and had improved the company’s safety performance to one of the best in the state of New Jersey. No wonder then that, in 2002, First Student opted to purchase Bergen-Passaic Transport Service from Todd’s family. Todd joined First Student as a region pperations manager responsible for five locations in northern New Jersey. And the rest, as they say, is history.
An Industry Leader
With more than 25 years of dedicated professional service, Todd has served as a leader within First Student and the industry. He has been a member of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) for 19 years, actively serving on many of the Association’s committees. He has set up and run state school bus driver safety competitions, serving as chief judge for the New Jersey School Bus Safety Competition from 1999 through 2011, and has attended every International School Bus Driver Safety competition held by NSTA for the past 18 years. Todd has served on the NSTA Board of Directors for more than 15 years. In recognition of his substantial contributions to the student transportation industry, Todd received the 2011 NSTA Golden Merit Award and the 2013 NSTA Distinguished Service Award. More recently, Todd was named president of NSTA in the election that took place July 22 at the Association’s annual meeting and convention in Minneapolis.
The Difference We Make
Todd encourages all of us at First Student to remember what a difference we can make in students’ lives. Having spent considerable time behind the wheel himself, Todd reminds us that a little sensitivity can change the course of a student’s entire day. On one particular special needs route, Todd recalls that his students had been through an especially rough day. “The school fire alarm system had been malfunctioning, upsetting the students with its noise and repeated disruptions.” Sensing their discomfort, Todd decided to play a game with the students. Todd says, “I asked the student to imagine a trip to the beach. Then, by seat number, each student was asked to share what he or she saw on this imaginary trip.” The students had fun describing all the things they “saw or heard’ on this pretend visit. “As I dropped the students off at their stops, one little boy got off the bus and told his mother all about the trip to the beach he and the other students had taken.” Concerned about this unplanned trip to the beach, the mother naturally placed a call to the school. By the time Todd got back to the bus garage, he says, “The school had called the location and asked where I had taken all of the students.” Of course, once he explained what had actually happened, Todd says, “No one could stop laughing.” As for the mother who had expressed her concern, Todd reports, “She not only apologized, but also her son’s sharing of this trip to the beach was the first time that he had spoken in months.”
Delivering on Our Promise
Todd believes in our promise of Caring for students today, tomorrow, together.® He cannot emphasize enough the value First Student brings to the educational process. “We help students arrive at school safely and ready to begin their educational day. Then, we make sure they get back home safely. We are the sunrise and the sunset of the educational day.”