Donations from Thomas Built Buses and Cummins make the center possible
High Point, N.C. – It is no accident that school buses have an outstanding safety record. In addition to innovative safety features in bus design and strong building materials, preventing or avoiding serious injury requires well-trained drivers and students. Since 2006, Monica Coburn, transportation manager for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation and Bob Downin, transportation safety coordinator for the same district, have been working to better prepare the county’s drivers for the unexpected.
“I started my career in pupil transportation as a bus driver and having a training facility that can help prepare people for the worst kind of situations has been a vision of mine since I began working with students,” said Coburn.
After two years, two bus donations and some funding, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation was able to open its transportation training facility. The new center will provide year-round continuing education and professional training for new and existing drivers as well as emergency responders.
Kerlin Bus Sales and Leasing of Silver Lake, Ind., Thomas Built’s 2008 national Dealer of the Year, approached Thomas Built about some funding for the project. “Thomas Built utilizes a system of continuous improvement to deliver school buses that incorporate proven, state-of-the-art safety features,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, “so we are delighted to help support a program that focuses on continuous safety and preparedness for its community.” Kerlin’s team invested countless hours designing and modifying the bus to be used as a training tool.
Coburn approached the Cummins Foundation, which is headquartered in Bartholomew County, about the contribution needed to remodel the building that is now home to the Bartholomew Training Facility.
“Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is a valued customer, and the safety of the students who depend on its services is of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Hodek, general manager of Cummins worldwide bus business. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Thomas Built Buses and Kerlin Bus Sales to help bring this state-of-the-art training facility to fruition.”
The Bartholomew-based center boasts computer stations, a classroom setting, one bus configured on its side and another bus upright with a full-length Plexiglas viewing panel. The Center has configured the engine compartment of the bus turned on its side to churn out smoke from a fog machine to help create the most challenging and the best possible learning environment. Groups of up to 30 can be trained on bus procedures and how to handle emergency situations.
Cummins Inc. (www.cummins.com), a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, (USA) Cummins serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of more than 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 5,200 dealer locations. Cummins reported net income of $739 million on sales of $13.05 billion in 2007.
About Thomas Built Buses
Thomas Built Buses (www.thomasbus.com) is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.
Thomas Built Buses, Inc. is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer on the continent and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.