CINCINNATI, Ohio — Alex Cook, chief engineer for First Student, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Innovator of the Year Award presented by School Transportation News and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA). The award recognizes significant, tangible contributions to the school bus industry within the past year in the areas of operations, safety or green energy.
Cook is being recognized for developing an innovative behind-the-meter charging infrastructure solution that allows positioning, mounting and protection of high-voltage circuits for electric school buses. The design is flexible, quickly deployable and can be moved or relocated easily if needed.
“Alex has always had a passion for driving environment change and is most deserving of this prestigious recognition” said First Student Senior Vice President of Maintenance Todd Hawkins. “His continuous focus on innovation, combined with a desire to leave a better environment for future generations, underpins his motivation for eliminating carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Alex has devoted his career to engineering solutions that benefit our employees, student passengers, the communities we serve and the school bus industry as a whole.”
There are nearly 30 projects underway at First Student that will utilize Cook’s new inventive approach, including the deployment of 260 electric school buses in Quebec. The company is the largest owner and operator of zero-emission school buses in North America.
Since joining First Student as chief engineer in 2004, Cook has brought to the marketplace several other new technologies to pioneer safety and efficiency. These innovations include
real-time front axle load monitoring and management, overhead structure safety restraint system development and high energy battery protection system devices.
Cook will be presented with the Innovator of the Year Award during the NSTA Annual Meeting and Convention in Niagara Falls, New York on July 26.
About First Student:
As a leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. With a team of highly-trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services, including full-service transportation and
management, special-needs transportation, route optimization, and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services with a fleet of about 40,000 buses. For more information, visit firststudentinc.com