Mike Stotler known across the school bus industry for his fleet management and customer service skills died Saturday. He was 50.
Stotler joined Thomas Built Buses in September 2008 as manager of service education. Holding certifications with Automotive Service Excellence, he created and managed the Thomas Built Institute a year later to provide school bus technicians with 28 continuing education hours on such topics as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions, advanced electrical, coolants, web resources and diagrams, wheelchair lifts, and more.
“The annual Thomas Built Institute has become a very popular opportunity for school bus technicians to get hands-on training and a factory-certified curriculum in small classes, all in less than a week’s time,” Stotler told School Transportation News in 2014.
He also developed a train-the-trainer program for 47 dealer trainers throughout the U.S. and Canada and the Service Trainer Awards (STARS) certification system, including multilevel achievements to track the progression of training.
In January 2018, Stotler was promoted to customer support manager. He helped launch the Detroit DD5 and DD8 engines as well as Thomas’ electronic stability controls product and the Saf-T-Liner C2 “Jouley” electric school bus. He also led a team of field and call center personnel to address customer concerns on service or quality issues and report results and feedback to other departments.
Previously, Stotler was vice president of customer support for Thomas Bus’s dealer Florida Bus Unlimited, which was later acquired by Matthews Bus. In addition to overseeing the company’s operations and 22 employees, Stotler was a thermal event investigator for the State of Florida and the Thomas Bus service contact for the Florida Department of Education. He also worked with Thomas Bus engineers to develop systems that complied with Florida state school bus specifications.
Away from his professional life, Stotler was an avid golfer, race car fan, husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by wife Laura, daughters Alicia (Taylor) Utecht, Amanda (Chris) Rife, Angela Neithercut (Daniyal Saeed), Noelle (Chris) Walton; Alexa (Justin) White, and Leah (Jacob) Adams, six grandchildren, father Richard Stotler, mother-in-law Marietta Ferrari, and sister Amy.
A celebration of life is scheduled for Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hanes-Lineberry North Elm Chapel, located at 515 North Elm St.t in Greensboro, North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MDS Foundation.
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