Employees recognized for excellence in service, safety, leadership and contributions to the school bus industry.
CINCINNATI — First Student drivers and staff received high honors at the National School Transportation Association’s (NSTA) Annual Awards Program held at the organization’s 2011 meeting and convention in Baltimore on July 19. Todd Monteferrario, area general manager, North Haledon, N.J.; Nancy Schulz, training center manager, Olathe, Kan.; and Doug Payelle, driver, Kodiak, Alaska; were honored with three of NSTA’s top awards for their contributions to the student transportation industry and the communities they serve.
“This is a tremendous recognition for Todd, Nancy and Doug,” said Gary Catapano, senior vice president of Safety for First Student. “Each professional continually looks for ways to improve the school transportation industry and encourages their colleagues to strive for excellence. We are proud they received recognition for their hard work and for giving so much back to their communities.”
Todd Monteferrario received the Golden Merit Award for his commitment to excellence in service, safety and to his community. In addition, he was honored for his extensive knowledge of the school transportation industry and dedication to his colleagues and clients. Monteferrario has been with First Student since 2002 when the company acquired Bergen-Passaic Transportation Service. He has been involved with the New Jersey Bus Safety Committee for nearly 20 years and on NSTA’s International Safety Competition committee since 1997, assisting with course design, set-up and event operations. Monteferrario has served as a boardmember of both the NSTA and New Jersey School Bus Owners Association.
Nancy Schulz was honored with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award which recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the school bus contracting industry. She began her school transportation career nearly 45 years ago and since that time, Schulz has transitioned from driver to training center manager. She is known for her commitment to safety with her diligent site visits, safety audits and focus on outstanding maintenance and safety standards. Schulz is a trusted mentor to her colleagues and serves as the chief judge at NSTA’s International Safety Competition. She has received the National Safety Council’s Distinguished Service Award, the Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association’s (KSPTA) Lifetime Achievement Award and was named First Student’s “Woman of the Year” in 2010.
Doug Payelle received the Outstanding Driver Service Award for his 10 years of service to First Student, as well as to his community. He takes safety seriously and continually gives back to the students and families in the Kodiak area. Recently, Payelle was one of four First Student drivers at his location to receive a bonus for having perfect attendance. He donated his entire bonus to a special needs student at Kodiak Middle School who is currently undergoing radiation treatment for terminal cancer. This is just one example of Payelle’s commitment to his profession and those around him.
In addition to these awards, First Student drivers received high rankings at NSTA’s 41st Annual International Safety Competition. James McMinn of Wichita, Kan. placed second in the Small Bus Class and David Schoenrock of Parkville, Mo. placed sixth in the Transit Bus Class. In the Conventional Bus Class, Mark Koelbl of Calgary, Alberta placed third and Michelle Schurz of Grand Junction, Colo. placed tenth. In all, 11 of the 102 school bus drivers competing from across North America were First Student drivers.