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30 Years of Evolution and Excellence

I called my parents Bill and Colette Paul recently to wish them a happy anniversary. “What? It’s not our anniversary!” they responded. Oh, but it is. School Transportation News was born September 1991 in Redondo Beach, California.

As I reflect on our 30th anniversary, I flash back to my 11-year-old self. I was a kid in 6th grade living in my parent’s house and playing lots of Nintendo. I may have ridden the school bus on a field trip or two, but that was the extent of my experience. Little did I know that my life would be impacted so greatly by my parent’s decision to launch STN.

“Starting this business took a lot of preparation, hardwork, dedication, passion, and some luck, too,” Colette Paul recalled recently. “It was scary to take such a huge risk. It felt like stepping off the cliff to start our family business using all our retirement money. Plus, people told us we would never make it and that we were nuts. I like to think of myself as an optimist who stays positive about the choices we make in life.

“In the beginning STN was an oversized tabloid-style news format monthly magazine. I recall me and Bill working 16-hour days, since it was the two of us doing everything out of the house. I remember the ink coming off on my fingers as I flipped through pages,” she added.

I recently picked up a copy of STN, like I do every month. But this particular issue was special. It was volume number one. I loved taking a walk down memory lane to check out the headlines and ads. The top news headlines back in September 1991 were about state school bus regulations, NHSTA standards, bus evacuation times, school bus driver pay, and worker’s comp rates. These topics sound all too familiar even 30-years later. Wouldn’t you agree?

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My stepfather Bill Paul was in the school bus business for 10 years prior as the editor and publisher of School Bus Fleet magazine. This gave him the insights, knowledge and contacts to take the leap of starting STN. “I was very excited to start the magazine. My goal was to create an information source that delivered the news to school transportation professionals monthly,” he recounted. “I wanted to help influence public policy, government and create a global reach to make the public aware of all the good things professionals in this industry were doing. Also, my hope was the information we provided would reduce the tragic loss of life of students on and around the school bus.

“Colette and I have deep love for the school bus industry. It’s helped propel this business forward through all the turbulence we experienced over the years. I feel we successfully accomplished all our objectives that we set out to achieve when we started STN,” he added.

STN has grown significantly over the years with digital media offerings such as the School Transportation Nation Podcast and conferences like STN EXPO and the TSD Conference. But our vision has remained steadfast over three decades. Our relentless vision to help school transportation professionals do their jobs safer and more efficiently. As a result, the kids, families and our industry benefits.

I want to give kudos to the STN team and all our contributors over the last 30 years for all the editorial excellence and creativity that has been exemplified by our magazine, website, conferences, podcast and so much more. It takes a village to make everything a success.

Also, we couldn’t have done it without our loyal readers like you. Thank you for giving us your trust and time. Know that we are committed to being the voice of the school transportation industry for years to come. I truly hope we have added value to your personal and professional life, if so, we have done our job. See you next month in Indianapolis!

Editor’s Note: As reprinted in the September 2021 issue of School Transportation News.

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