Rick Jennings
Wilkes County, NC

 Wilkes & Yadkin Technicians win State and
  National Competitions

Rick Jennings (left), winner of the NCPTA school bus inspection contest, took first place in the national competition, winning $1500 and a trip to NAPT 2005 in Austin, Texas. Tim Speer, NCPTA's second place winner, placed second in the national inspection contest. These performances speak volumes about the quality of the school bus maintenance program in North Carolina.


There must be something about the water in Wilkes County that helps to boost bus inspection technique. For the 2nd year in a row the top NC inspector plaque goes to a Wilkes transportation department employee. Terry Barlow, last year's Inspection contest winner could not have been prouder as he watched his co-worker Rick Jennings from Wilkes County bring home the 2005 best bus inspector plaque and the $500 first prize. Rick said he "tried his best and stuck to his normal inspection routine" as he went through the buses at the Asheville Civic Center on June 22, 2005. He and eleven other finalists inspected the three different buses that were specially "set up" by DPI consultants Charles Ball, James Hawkins, and Randy Henson. Each bus had at least 10 defects to be identified in order to score points.

In order to be a finalist, they had to first take a 40 question written test that was administered a few days before to a crowded room of technicians from all over the state. The test was taken from rules and regulations in the NC School Bus Inspection manual, the Preventative Maintenance manual and from National School bus standards.
Second place and $300 went to Tim Speer from Yadkin. 3rd place and $200 went to Larry Moore from Johnston County.

The remainder of the NC competition finalists should be proud to have made it to the "top 12". They are listed here in alphabetical order:

Jason Barnes-Johnston
Carl Cox-Gates
Michael Ellis-Wilkes
Derek Johnson-Rutherford
Brian McClung-Rutherford
Sam McElroy-Haywood
Lebo Raynor-Johnston
Danny Reed-Beaufort
Ralph Trango-Wake

NCPTA & DPI want to congratulate all who competed and hope that more technicians will want to join in on the fun next year at the conference at Sunset Beach. Thanks to Buncombe County Transportation department for providing buses for the NC contest.


Jennings and Speer then went to High Point on July 14th to the Nationals and won 1st and 2nd places in the inspection and troubleshooting competition, respectively. Rick Jennings from Wilkes took 1st place in the inspection competition held at the Thomas Built Buses C2 plant. He and contestants from across the country spent two days touring the plant, attending seminars and comparing job duties with one another. Rick said the written test was "hard" and was surprised that he did as well as he did. He won an all expense paid trip to the National Association for Pupil Transportation Conference to be held in Austin, Texas later this year. Congratulations to Rick for being the best bus inspector in the USA!

Tim Speer from Yadkin County won 2nd place in the "troubleshooting" competition. Tim had no previous experience in this type of event and is the first North Carolinian to enter. He also reiterated what Rick said about the written test being a challenge. He said he "went in cold and hoped for the best". Of course coming from Yadkin County, which was awarded the banner for the best inspection score in the western district doesn't hurt either. Tim is looking forward to next year's contest as he exclaimed "2nd place is okay but next year I will win 1st place!"










1995 School Bus Safety Web. Site design by ITRE, NC State University in conjunction with the Governor's Highway Safety Program.
All content and works posted on this website are owned by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. All rights reserved.