Joseph Marek became the 19th Durham School Services employee to become an ASE Master Technician, parent company National Express Corporation announced. The news comes amid a renewed push nationwide to increase the number of these school bus maintenance experts throughout the industry.
Marek works out of Durham's Spokane, Wash., location, where he provides services for Nine Mile Falls School District, Spokane Public Schools and St. George's School. Marek achieved the certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent and nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service through professional testing.
Currently, there are only 1,483 master school bus technicians in the United States. Becoming a certified ASE master technician requires months of studying and passing six main parts to the test. To remain certified, the technicians must pass a recertification test every five years.
"Joe showcases our commitment to safety and excellence every day through his work," said John Pike, general manager of Durham's Spokane facility. "As industry leaders, we are dedicated to putting the safest vehicles on the road. When it comes to maintaining our buses and ensuring passenger safety, we go above and beyond state and federal requirements. We are proud to have Joe join our other two Spokane master technicians in leading our effort to ensure excellence in our maintenance operations."
At the STN EXPO next month, ASE consultant Walt Commans will present a workshop on the certifcation process and how it can help technicians further their careers as well as improve quality and publicity for school bus operators. Commans will also supervise a mock ASE certification test for EXPO attendees, and afterward he will review the common questions asked.