Grand Rapids, MI (October 20, 2013) – The American School Bus Council presented School Bus Champion Awards to the State of Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, as well as Mr. Dorn’s Chief of Staff, Ken Kanikeberg, at a major school bus industry event today. Both veteran public servants with extensive experience in education, Mr. Dorn and Mr. Kanikeberg were honored for their career-long dedication to pupil transportation and most notably their resilience in maintaining ample funding for school buses in a challenging financial landscape.
The awards were presented to Mr. Dorn and Mr. Kanikeberg at a joint session between the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS). Both groups held their annual conferences in Grand Rapids this year and welcomed an impressive cast of stakeholders and decision-makers within the school bus industry and the state and federal government agencies who have oversight over school bus issues.
During the last legislative session in the state of Washington, Mr. Dorn and Mr. Kanikeberg were instrumental in securing $109M for the biennial budget to support Washington’s pupil transportation program. This continued funding stream will allow the state to maintain or expand school bus service over the next two years. In addition, Mr. Dorn has been a stalwart advocate for the importance of school buses as the safest mode of transportation for taking children to and from school.
The two award recipients have stood strong on school transportation funding matters throughout their careers. As populations have increased and many states have eliminated senior pupil transportation positions, Washington has continued to employ a dedicated State Director and five Regional Transportation Coordinators every year since 1975.
A former member of the Washington State House of Representatives, Mr. Dorn thanked ASBC for the School Bus Champion Award and deferred much of the credit for his recognition to Mr. Kanikeberg, who he described as a true expert on school transportation.
The ASBC School Bus Champion Award was presented by NAPT President-elect Don Carnahan, who has known both men for many years. Mr. Carnahan remarked, “how many other states in the United States can demonstrate this much dedication and support from their agencies’ leadership? I think, not many. These two men are true school bus champions!”
Mr. Dorn and Mr. Kanikeberg are the fifth and sixth recipients of the ASBC School Bus Champion Award, which honors individuals and organizations who demonstrate exceptional support for and advancement of the school bus industry. Previous recipients have included the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Utah, and Charles Poland (the Alabama bus driver who was killed by a crazed gunman in January 2013). The award itself is a hand-cast bronze-colored metal school bus mounted on a walnut base.
ASBC is a coalition of public and private transportation providers, school bus manufacturers and state officials responsible for pupil transportation. ASBC advocates for the safety, environmental, and access-to-education benefits of the iconic yellow American school bus. The Council’s members include NAPT (National Association for Pupil Transportation), NASDPTS (National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services), NSTA (National School Transportation Association), Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, Ga., IC Corporation of Lisle, Ill., and Thomas Built Buses of High Point, N.C.