A memorial service for Bill Roenigk, president of one of the nation's largest school bus contractors, were held this morning in Tarentum, Pa. Roenigk, 57, died Saturday of leukemia, leaving behind his mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter and siblings as well as colleagues and friends in the student transportation industry that meant so much to him.
Roenigk was born June 14, 1955, in Harrison, to Jeanne Korbeck Roenigk and the late William L. Roenigk Sr., according to his obituary. After graduating high school, Roenigk went to work at the school bus company his father founded.
Wife Monica said W.L. Roenigk Inc. operates about 2,400 vehicles, which she called a testament to the company's growth under her husband's leadership. The contractor has the 10th-largest school bus fleet in the nation and serves 26 school districts in Western Pennsylvania.
Monica also said she learned a lot from her affable husband, such as the importance of listening. The couple purchased a home in Washington's Landing a few months ago after he fell in love with the area.
Tom McCracken, manager of the Allegheny Township terminal, said Roenigk was the main reason he has stayed with the company for 35 years. "All I can say is, I believed in him," he added.
Selina Pittenger, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, told STN that the loss of Roenigk was a sad day for the association and for her personally. She described him as a great mentor who was always there to listen and provide guidance.
"Bill was a great man. He always spoke his mind and was respectful of others' opinions. Bill was very proud that he was able to provide a significant contribution in the education of schoolchildren, getting them to and from school safely," she said.
His family company has been a longtime member of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association. He was elected to the PSBA Board of Directors in the mid-1990s and elected secretary in 2002 after serving on the board for a few years. In 2008 he became president of the association, she said.
"During his presidency, Bill made it a point to connect with all the members and held Town Meetings across the state to listen to members' issues and concerns," recalled Pittenger. "He took this information from the members and incorporated strategies to meet their needs."
Four years ago Roenigk became the poster child for "greener" fleets when he was the first to sign up for a pilot program to reduce school bus diesel emissions. According to an article on the company website, he had the "foresight" to take advantage of available funding to cover the cost of upgrading buses with diesel particulate filters and closed crankcase ventilation systems.