North America Central/Illinois Central School Bus is the 5th largest school bus company in the nation. The Company serves over 200 School Districts from 54 facilities located in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. The Company has a well maintained fleet of over 3,400 school buses, vans and other student transportation vehicles with an average fleet age of 5.3 years. Over 250,000 students are transported daily by North America/Illinois Central School Bus.
North America Central’s services include home-to-school busing, special needs transportation, extracurricular and charter trips for schools and other groups. The Company has contracts with numerous school districts for terms of three to five years. The extraordinary organic growth story of the company is a product of its dedicated, highly motivated and experienced management team. The Company also operates a public rural transit system in Illinois.
The Company has a well maintained and modern fleet of over 3,400 school transportation vehicles. The fleet predominantly consists of Type C school bus vehicles, and almost two-thirds of the fleet consists of vehicles with a rating of 60 passengers or more.
North America/Illinois Central has three operating divisions: Gateway, Mid-State and the Great Lakes Regions. Each operating region has a dedicated Regional Operations Manager responsible for all aspects of the company’s business operations in that region. In addition, each Region has functional staff specialists in safety, maintenance, finance, driver training and recruiting to provide key support resources to the nearby operations, which ensures that we deliver superior customer service. The Contract Manager at each of the facilities reports to the Regional Operations Manager. Regional Operations Managers report to H. Kevin Mest, the Chief Operating Officer.
ADVANCED ELECTRONIC SUPPORT SYSTEMS
The Company employs advanced electronic systems to support its school busing and charter busing operations including a GPS system and two-way radio communication.
Each of the Company’s buses is equipped with a GPS device which collects and transmits 16 pieces of data every 30 seconds including Idle Time, Speed, Entrance Door Open/Close, Ignition On/Off and other key performance metrics. Each of the Company’s facilities is equipped with radio repeaters, radio masts, a radio broadcast license and in-vehicle radios for driver communication.
Excellent fleet maintenance is essential for optimizing safety and service. All of the Company’s maintenance is done in-house as the company’s facilities are equipped with full maintenance capabilities and highly qualified technicians.
SAFETY AND TRAINING
Safety is a core competency that is fundamental to the Illinois Central culture. The Company continually emphasizes the importance of safe practices in its hiring, training and ongoing communications with its drivers. All drivers are CDL qualified and have completed extensive classroom and behind the wheel training. Drivers are also required to attend monthly safety training programs.
COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL AND STATE SCHOOL BUS REGISTRATION AND SAFETY REGULATIONS
North America/Illinois Central is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and carries a U.S. DOT number as an interstate school bus operator. Illinois Central is operating in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).
The Company is registered with the Department of Education for Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Minnesota as a school bus operator. All school bus drivers carry the required commercial driver licenses under applicable motor vehicle licensing laws and are registered with their respective state boards. The State Boards of Education dictate bus driver guidelines for each state. The Company goes beyond what the state requirements are in driver safety training and skill refinement. Examples include defensive driving training, skill refinement training, student discipline training, drawstring awareness training, first aid training and danger zone training.
To ensure compliance with safety regulations, the Company’s fleet is inspected annually by the Department of Transportation in the respective states in which the Company operates.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT SUMMARY
North America/Illinois Central is run by an experienced management team with a solid track record in the transportation industry. Steve Hemmerlein, CEO, and H. Kevin Mest, COO, bring over two decades of student transportation experience to the organization. The senior management team includes CFO Patrick Earley, Rick Vilines, Vice President of Human Resources, Don Dilks, Director of Maintenance and Fleet, Frank Ciccarella, Director of Safety and Dan O'Brien, Director of Business Development. The senior management team is committed to providing its customers with superior customer service that is safe and cost-effective. The Corporate Team is based in Joliet, IL outside Chicago.
DRIVER & MONITOR WORKFORCE
Prior to hiring, drivers and monitors must pass a variety of background checks including an interview with the division manager, a reference check, a criminal background check, a sex offender search, a physical, a drug test, a tuberculosis test and a current drivers license check (drivers only). Drivers are required to complete a comprehensive training process to fully satisfy federal and state regulatory requirements as well as district contract requirements. All school bus drivers are drug tested yearly as part of the requirements of the state. All employees of the Company are also into a random pool for drug and alcohol testing. Drivers are reviewed on a regular basis through both random testing and formal tests ensuring safety procedures, driving habits, presentation and interaction with students.
HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES
The Company’s Human Resources personnel ensure the Company complies with all Federal, State and Local employment laws and regulations. An Employee Handbook outlining the policies, programs and benefits of the Company is updated as laws and regulations change and is distributed to new and continuing employees.
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