James Czyz, a transportation manager for Central Bucks School District in Doylestown, Pa., was randomly selected last week from 220 participants in the Play2Win Games as the winner of an all-expenses-paid trip to the STN EXPO this month in Reno, Nev.
This year was Czyz's first time playing Play2Win, he told STN, which made his win even more surprising to him.
"I never win anything," he said. "I guess persistence pays off?"
The 30-year industry veteran has been the transportation manager at Central Bucks since 2006. Before that he held a similar position at Rose Tree Media Schools for nine years.
He traced his start in the industry back to the early 1980s, when he became a substitute driver for Wissahickon School District following graduation from Penn State University with a degree in elementary education. Czyz said he was doing substitute teacher work, but the assignments were too few and far between. So he noticed a bulletin seeking applications for bus drivers and submitted his resume.
He was hired, and soon yellow was in his blood.
"I eventually stopped teaching and got hired as full time as a driver," he recalled.
Soon he was teaching school bus safety to elementary students in an older model school bus that was converted into a classroom and driven to area campuses.
This month marks the first time Czyz will attend the STN EXPO. He said he signed up for the Play2Win game because he felt it could be a good opportunity to attend an industry conference, which is challenging for Central Bucks staff because of budget cuts..
"It's been a while since we've been able to get to any," he added. "I saw an email about (Play2Win) and thought it might be a good opportunity to go to a conference. With the limited budget at the district, I figured if I get lucky enough to win, I get to attend and bring back some knowledge to the school district."
In Reno, Czyz said he is especially looking forward to attending workshops on the new wheelchair securement standards, proper usage of lap/shoulder seat belts on buses and the NHTSA eight-hour Child Passenger Safety on School Buses preconference seminar.
Central Bucks operates a total of 250 school bus runs, 150 of which are performed by First Student. The rest are operated by the district, particularly special needs, school activity and field trip routes.
Play2Win ran from April 1 through June 30 and presented a different question related to student transportation each weekday. Correct answers secured each registered participant one entry into the drawing conducted on July 2. Czyz played 46 times, answering correctly 41 of those times.