GUILDERLAND, N.Y. – The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) presented their 2022 industry awards during the association’s 68th annual convention held on October 22, 2022, at the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, NY.
“We had no shortage of champions to celebrate at this year’s annual convention. The driver shortage was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that required swift action on multiple fronts. All of our honorees played a crucial role in getting more drivers behind the wheel without sacrificing an ounce of safety. Most importantly, we recognize New York’s school bus drivers, monitors, and mechanics who continue to provide safe transportation to millions of students every single day,” said Nick Vallone, New York School Bus Contractors Association President.
Our highest honor is our Roger Weeks Contractor of the Year Award and presented to a contractor who, along with having an exceptional safety and performance record, has superior maintenance and training programs and is deeply involved with their local communities.
This year’s Roger Weeks Contractor of the Year Award went to Patrick Kinane, President of Golden Sun Bus Service. Patrick has been with NYSBCA since 2011 and is an active board member that helps the board craft policies, supports our mission, contributes to our strategic planning, and serves as an ambassador for NYSBCA with pride and dedication.
“I am pleased and honored to accept the Roger Weeks Contractor of the Year Award for Golden Sun Bus Service, Inc. This coveted award is considered the highest honor the New York School Bus Contractors Association bestows on a member. As a result, I am also incredibly humbled as the previous winners are people who I have both admired and respected in this business for a long time.” Said Patrick Kinane.
Golden Sun Bus Service is a third-generation, family-owned operated, full-service transportation company located in Granby, NY. They are best known for their exceptional school bus services and charter services to the local community in and around Central New York. Golden Sun Bus Service has provided safe and reliable transportation for more than 56 years.
The Contractor of the Year Award winner is also honored with The Roger Weeks Scholarship Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship to the Contractor of the Year Award winner’s school district of choice.
This year we presented our Legislator of the Year Award to a federal and state elected official who demonstrates an unmatched dedication to the association’s mission to provide the safest, most reliable, cost-effective, and unmatched student transportation possible.
Congressman Joseph Morelle was an advocate and supporter of waiving the required CDL under-the-hood vehicle inspection requirement and continues to push for a school bus-only commercial driver’s license (CDL) to address a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers.
Senator James Skoufis was instrumental in providing immediate relief to help alleviate the driver shortage through his support and guidance on New York’s adoption of Third Party Testing. There is no doubt that his swift action has already produced dozens of newly qualified school bus drivers in the program’s opening months.
NYSBCA also recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the school bus transportation industry under the category of the Distinguished Service Award.
Michael Mongiardo with the Department of Motor Vehicles was selected to receive the Distinguished Service award for his contribution to implementing the Third Party CDL Testing program and for his efforts in making this a smooth and easy process for our contractors to be third party testers. This program is a huge benefit to the school bus transportation industry, and our members are grateful to have this opportunity.
NYSBCA also recognized the elected officials that continue to show their commitment to help with the school bus driver shortage and work with the association to navigate the electric school bus vehicle mandate as we come together to build a roadmap for this unprecedented initiative in New York State. This year’s recipients are Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli, New York State Senator Mike Martucci, and New York State Senator Shelley B. Mayer.
NYSBCA has been honored with several members who have consistently been active and involved in helping advance the efforts of the association — whether it be through committees, board positions, or simply discussing with their colleagues the importance of having an association representing our better interests – while still concentrating on their own business.
Our Honorary Lifetime Member award was given to Paul Quinn Mori with Huntington Coach Corporation for his several decades of continued support of the association and relentless advocacy efforts that have made a difference and continue to make a difference in the school transportation industry. Paul is always going over and beyond to help members, partners, colleagues, state and federal agencies to work together as we navigate the changes our industry faces and to ensure the safety of the children that ride a school bus to school each day.
The association gives out two Heart of the Industry Awards: one to an “on-road” employee and the other to an “off-road” employee. The Heart of the Industry Award honors an industry employee who, through the course of their job performance, has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving other people’s lives and has gone above and beyond to accomplish that goal. These awards are sponsored by Bird Bus Sales & Service and were presented by Robert Reichenbach.
NYSBCA’s On-Road Heart of the Industry Award went to Ellen Eckes with WE Transport, Inc. Nominated by her colleagues for her on and off-road contributions, Ellen has 34 years of service with WE Transport and worked her way up the company ladder while inspiring others to do the same. Her passion and dedication to sharing her knowledge with her spunky, positive vibes make every employee feel important. She has relatable teaching techniques to train employees while being a mentor, which makes her very deserving of this award.
This year’s Off-Road award winner is Rolling V Bus Corp.’s Sarah Beth Corbin, nominated by Phil Vallone, the company’s owner. Phil stated that Sarah Beth would fill roles in the family organization from upstate to New York City over the years and would go where she was needed most to help our organization meet our commitments and ultimate goals of providing prompt, professional, and personalized transportation services. Her attention to detail and her commitment to the safe and reliable transportation of children speaks to the “Heart of the Industry.”
About: The New York School Bus Contractors Association represents the private school bus transportation industry that provides transportation services to 85% of the school districts in New York. School bus contractors transport more than half of all the children who ride a school bus to and from school each day. The association’s mission is to promote safe, reliable, and cost-effective student transportation services for New York’s school children. For more information, please visit: www.nysbca.com