No two school days are ever the same for Bruce Parker. As a First Student dispatcher, he is on the front line working to ensure on-time performance and great customer service. “There’s never a dull moment,” says Bruce. “Managing hundreds of routes can be challenging, but I enjoy putting the pieces together and finding solutions.”
The Perfect Job
Bruce has been a member of our team in Providence, Rhode Island, for more than 30 years. He joined First Student in 1984 as a driver after serving in the military. “It really was the perfect job,” shares Bruce. “The schedule was ideal for me, and I found driving a school bus to be a lot of fun.” He spent five years behind the wheel before his promotion to dispatcher. Bruce is responsible for overseeing bus routes and driver assignments. His location transports approximately 10,000 students each school day. The team also completes about 5,000 charter trips per year, and it’s not unusual for Bruce to drive some of those routes.
Strong Work Ethic
For the past 28 years, Bruce has been there when the first bus rolls off the lot each school day. He arrives at the location by 5:15 each morning. Bruce credits his grandfather for instilling in him a strong work ethic. He understands the important role he plays in ensuring children get to and from school on time. “Not doing your job means someone else is going to work harder,” says Bruce. “I take pride in my work and making sure it’s done well.” Technology has also made a difference. When Bruce first started, most of his work was done by hand. Two-way radios, GPS and routing software have improved service and allowed dispatchers to monitor routes more closely.
Leading by Example
Bruce contributes a great deal to the overall work environment at his location. He is known for being extremely composed under pressure, which is critical in his position. As a dispatcher, Bruce communicates directly with drivers, parents and school administrators. He understands how these interactions shape the way employees and the community see us. “I know all of the more than 200 drivers who work with me by name,” shares Bruce. “We have a vested interest in each other. Our success depends on it.” His team also knows they can count on Bruce to go the extra mile. During a recent winter storm, he assisted a driver whose bus was stuck in a snow bank. Bruce drove a relief bus to the scene so the students could get home safely and as soon as possible.
Making a Difference
Coordinating the movement of thousands of children to dozens of schools is a complex role that impacts entire communities. “Every day has opportunities and challenges, but it’s really rewarding to feel that you’re making a difference,” says Bruce. Dispatchers are often described as the glue that holds everything together. When it comes to keeping people moving and communities prospering, Bruce really delivers on our vision.