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Pitt bus tech earns top honor

Dustin Wells

Dustin Wells works on an engine in the Pitt County Schools bus yard.


The Daily Reflector

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Pitt County bus technician earned top honors recently at North Carolina’s annual School Bus Roadeo and Technician Inspection Competition. A local bus driver also placed in the competition.

Dustin Wells bested 27 competitors representing 16 counties during the contest held earlier this summer as part of the 2018 NC Pupil Transportation Summer Transposium in Charlotte. In 2015, Wells was named “America’s Best” bus inspector by the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Hertford County’s Eric Turner was named best driver – winning the title for the third year in a row, and Pitt County’s Cynthia Siders came in fifth place behind Turner, Byron Lanier of Wake County Schools, Alex T. Jasinski-Suarez of Nash-Rocky Mount Schools and Jason Kennedy of Moore County Schools.

Inspectors placing second and third in the technician inspection competition were Richard Callendar of Brunswick County Schools and PJ Melendez of Jones County Schools.

“In North Carolina, more than 13,000 school buses travel around 180 million miles each year to transport over 750,000 students to and from school each day,” said Kevin Harrison, chief of Transportation Services for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

“The technicians and drivers who inspect, maintain, and drive school buses are entrusted with the greatest responsibility — assuring the safety of our children. The drivers and technicians who competed this year demonstrated the skills and training that make school bus transportation the safest route to school.”

Forty-five school bus drivers and school bus inspectors participated in the final written tests and hands-on competitions to win top honors in the state. The winners advanced to the state finals June 25-28 by placing in the top 10 of their regional competitions.

Turner will represent North Carolina in the 2018 School Bus Driver International Safety Competition July 22 in Philadelphia, while Wells and second-place inspector winner Richard Callendar will represent the state in the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s “America’s Best” competition in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 27-30.

Wells will participate in the technician side of the competition, while Callendar will participate in the inspector side of the competition.

The North Carolina Pupil Transportation Association, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Transportation Services Section and Cabarrus Schools Transportation Department sponsored the State School Bus ROADeo competition and Technician Inspection Competition.