Robert T. Pudlewski celebrated his 50th anniversary in style last month at the National School Transportation Association's Annual Convention and Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, with an award he'll never forget.
The association recognized him for his "long-term" exemplary service to the industry and his unparalleled knowledge of school bus maintenance and technology by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Pudlewski (pictured, at right, with NSTA President Tim Flood) is NSTA's 45th inductee into the Hall of Fame.
"We congratulate Bob Pudlewski on being inducted into NSTA's Hall of Fame. He is a tremendous resource for this Association and the industry and he never hesitates to offer his assistance when called upon," said Flood.
Pudlewski runs Fleet Ops Consultants, LLC in Orchard Park, New York. He is also the technical editor of School Transportation News magazine and is chair of NSTA's Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Technology Committee as well as a former NSTA board of directors member.
Pudlewski retired in 2009 as vice president of procurement and maintenance for Laidlaw Transit. He previously was vice president of fleet operations for Laidlaw Education Services. He started in the industry as a mechanic for a small school district bus garage before being drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam War. He said he survived that experience to come home and start up where he left off, continuing his school bus career as a mechanic and foreman for school bus contractor. For the next 35 years he worked in senior management positions, the past two decades of which as vice president at Laidlaw.
Pudlewski is also a member of the New York School Bus Contractors Association board of directors, the technology advisor for the National Congress on School Transportation's writing committees and served on the New York State Commissioner of Education Transportation Advisory Committee as well as several school bus manufacturer customer advisory committees and with EPA clean diesel school bus initiatives.
"Receiving the NSTA Hall of fame Award is an honor and recognition for a fulfilling career and something I will be proud of the rest of my life," he added.NSTA celebrated its own 50th anniversary this summer. The association inducted its first Hall of Fame member in 1992. Nominees must be a member in good standing with NSTA for at least 10 consecutive years and a school bus contractor for at least 10 consecutive years, or must have these requirements at the time of leaving the pupil transportation industry, per the association's bylaws. The nominee must also be a member of the state contractors' association, if there is one, or must have met this requirement at the time of leaving the pupil transportation industry.
In other NSTA award news:
Denis J. Gallagher, the founder, chair and CEO of Student Transportation Inc., was named Contractor of the Year. STN previously reported on other NSTA awards, including Bill Loshbough of ExecuWest Consultants in Albuquerque, New Mexico receiving the Meritorious Service Award for displaying "unparalleled vision, support, and leadership toward improving pupil transportation safety." Loshbough is also an NSTA Hall of Famer.
Thomas Built Buses also awarded its Continuing Education Grant, which is given to a member contractor or their staff to pursue continuing education, to Justin P. Olson of GO Riteway Transportation Group in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.