Reno, Nevada in December is normally a stop skiers make as they head to the nearby slopes. But this year, the month also offers the premier student transportation networking and educational experience.
Back after a one-year, COVID-19-induced hiatus, the STN EXPO Reno + Transportation Director Summit returns to the Peppermill Hotel, Resort and Casino Dec. 4-9, with a focus on the conference tagline: “Content. Community. Commerce.”
The Transportation Director Summit kicks off the event on Dec. 4 with an icebreaker discussion and welcome reception at the Grand Sierra Resort. The leadership seminar continues the following day with a scheduled trip to The Chateau in Lake Tahoe for strategy training with business consultant and author Meridith Elliott Powell, who will also be joined by school transportation consultants Tim Ammon and Ryan Hahn. Special registration is required for individuals with verified titles of director of transportation, assistant director of transportation, or a comparable position of decision-making at a school district or bus company.
Meanwhile on Dec. 5, other attendees can obtain tips for climbing the organizational ladder with the special session “So You Wanna Be a Transportation Supervisor.” It aims to provide insights into the political savvy required of managers and directors that goes beyond operational know-how.
The full conference starts in earnest on Dec. 6 with the opening general session and the presentation of the Peter J. Grandolfo Memorial Award of Excellence. Elliott Powell also provides the morning keynote address, “Who Comes Next: Guerilla Tactics to Attract, Develop & Fully Engage Top Talent,” a topic that has become especially important during the current and historic staff shortage. Ammon then takes the general session stage to moderate a panel discussion on overcoming COVID-19. He will be joined by the likes ofGreg Jackson, director of transportation for Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado; Scott Lee, director of transportation for Reno’s Washoe County School District.
Breakouts that day look at the impact of the federal entry-level driver training regulations that go into effect in February, lessons learned by districts that have implemented electric school buses, leveraging data to support new budget requests, and identifying solutions to the bus driver shortage.
Author Azim Khamisa takes the keynote stage on Dec. 7 with his talk on “Making Peace on the School Bus Through Restorative Practices,” which is derived from a lesson in forgiveness he learned after the murder of his son. Afterward, the breakout sessions continue with a sponsored discussion by Highland Electric on transitioning to electric school buses without breaking the bank. Other breakouts look at school bus transportation services during times of community crisis, the benefits of advanced driver assistance systems, succession planning for leadership change, and changing bell times to achieve greater efficiency and service.
The commerce experience of STN EXPO Reno begins that evening with the Extravaganza on the Trade Show Floor. The trade show continues the next afternoon, following “The Promise” keynote address by Jason Hewlett and a general session panel discussion on using technology to help student transporters lead through the myriad shortages they are experiencing.
The conference concludes on Dec. 9 with the eight-hour NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Restraint Training and Wheelchair Securement Boot Camp Training hosted by AMF-Bruns.
The STN EXPO Reno returns next year to its regular summertime slot, July 15-20, 2022.
Editor’s note — A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the dates of next summer’s STN EXPO Reno.