Our People

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Our people are the foundation upon which our business stands. They are passionate about serving their communities and ensuring your students arrive safely to and from school and this passion is reflected in the high level of service that we offer our customers every day.

At the heart of our organization are our drivers, who play an important role in the lives of the children that they transport. They care for their passengers and it shows each day in the job they do. Above all, our drivers are committed to delivering their students to school safely and on-time.

Knowledge and Experience

Our leadership group has more than 100 years of combined service in the North American student transportation industry. They are knowledgeable, experienced and eager to help you.

david

David Lear, Region Vice President Western Oregon

David began riding school buses when the founder of MIDCO, Bill Flatt, was still a driver! As a graduate of Condon High School, he has many memories of riding the MIDCO school bus to academic and sporting events in Cove, Heppner, Pendleton, Hermiston, Boardman, Echo and Cascade Locks. After graduating, David earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Portland.

David joins MIDCO from Portland Public Schools where he served as Assistant Director for Student Transportation. Prior to joining PPS, David was employed at KinderCare, the nation’s leading Early Education and Childcare provider with 2,000 schools in 39 states.   David spent 14 years at KinderCare and was responsible for identifying and implementing operation excellence, cost savings, strategic sourcing, and process improvement for the following services: Transportation, Food Service and Nutrition, Travel and Meetings, Facilities, Logistics, Environmental Services and Office Supplies. Some highlights to note, include:

  • Transportation – His team safely transported 40,000 students a day supported by 3,000 buses and 6,000 drivers. One of David’s greatest accomplishments was leading a national campaign over a three-year effort with governmental agencies in 39 states to establish the federal “Multi-Function School Activity Bus” classification which greatly increased safety and efficiency in student transportation
  • Food Service and Nutrition – His team provided nutritional meals supporting the Federal Food Program, 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and Let’s Move Campaign for 150,000 children daily. They managed 38 Food Service Distribution Centers across the US providing consistent products, supporting dietary requirements, and allergen challenges.

Prior to KinderCare, David spent ten years with Waste Management as an Operations/Site Manager. He was responsible for operations, maintenance, customer service, and served as the government liaison for the greater Metro and Southwest Washington area.

 

guy Guy Shanks, Region Vice President, Eastern Oregon / Idaho

Guy Comes to Mid-Columbia Bus Co. with an extensive Business Management background. After spending 30 years with Safeway stores Inc. in Supply chain management responsible for Procurement, inventory control, and logistics Guy went on to be a business / Supply chain consultant for several other companies. These companies included Puratos Inc., Lisa Frank Inc., and Solon America Inc. (a Solar manufacture based out Berlin Germany). For the last 5 years Guy worked for Durham School Services, a student transportation company based out of Chicago IL. There he managed several large school bus contracts in Arizona, San Francisco, and Seattle. While employed with Durham Guy got his CDL and Certifications so he could better understand the needs of the drivers and staff. Guy is married to his wife of 32 years Debbie and has 3 daughters, Cara, Sara, and Kaeli. The daughters are all married and have blessed him with 5 grandchildren and 1 more that is due in March of 2017. Guy is excited to be a part of this growing company and looks forward to the challenges ahead that will develop Mid-Columbia and Western State Bus into “THE” premier student transportation company.

 

Melanie Correa, CFO

melanieMelanie graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, and a concentration in Accounting. She began her career in public accounting as a staff accountant and earned her CPA certificate. During her ten years in public accounting, she compiled, reviewed, and audited financial statements. The majority of the audits that she worked on were municipalities and school districts. She also prepared tax returns for individuals, partnerships, and corporations.

Melanie left public accounting to become the Controller at Wildhorse Resort and Casino. Melanie spent five years in the gaming industry and her responsibilities consisted of managing and overseeing the daily operations of the accounting department. She also developed and administered all financial policy, procedures and internal controls and was responsible for coordinating periodic audits and was responsible for the monthly and annual preparation of financial statements.

After five years in the gaming industry, Melanie moved to the transportation industry and came to MIDCO as a Senior Financial Analyst. She worked at MIDCO for 18 months and was responsible for budgeting and analysis. Then she went to Pendleton Grain Growers as their Chief Financial Officer for three years where she was responsible for budgeting, treasury management, internal controls, and reporting to the Board of Directors.

In 2012, Melanie returned to MIDCO as the CFO. Since Melanie’s return, she has been responsible for overseeing the accounting department, preparation of financial statements, budgeting, forecasting, and analysis.

 

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Bob Osborn – Regional Director of Operations, Northwest / Southwest Oregon

Bob is the newest addition to the MIDCO team, joining us in March, 2016. Bob began his school transportation career in 1999 with Laidlaw Transit, in Lawrence, Kansas. He has managed multiple locations of 200+ buses in the Kansas City area, Alaska and most recently, Oregon. He has also been involved with the NSTA International School Bus Rodeo for the past 10 years.

Before entering the school transportation business, Bob was a District Manager for Pepsi-Cola. Starting in route sales, Bob was responsible for the distribution of Pepsi products in Kansas and Missouri, which involved the direction of 100+ route salespersons and the delivery of quality customer service.

 

 Mary Braukman, Regional Director Operations, Willamette ValleyMary

Mary was raised in various parts of Oregon and Washington. Her education began in the health care field where she achieved her Associates Degree in Medical Assistance. While working in health care she discovered she preferred the front office duties to her profession and soon after changed education and career paths towards business administration. After Mary moved to Yamhill with her husband and two children she joined Laidlaw Transit, Inc. which started her career in transportation. She started out as a school bus driver and attended business administration classes at Chemeketa Community College between routes. While transportation was not her goal during this time she grew to love the industry.

During the 15 plus years of working with transportation industry, Mary has progressed into various positions. When she joined the MIDCO family business, she learned to embrace their core values and collaborative team building skills which allowed her to progress into a Location Manager, Behind the Wheel Instructor, Third Party Tester, Operations Manager and eventually the Vice President for the Willamette Valley.

 

NathanNathan Burbank, Regional Director Operations Idaho

Nathan has been with MIDCO for many years and started as a relief driver for both regular and Special Needs routes, then promoted to Location Manager, Operations Manager and eventually to Vice President for Division V South. His current duties include, directing and coordinating the regional transportation organization and activities for the seven school districts of Lincoln County, Philomath, North Bend, Elkton and Yoncalla, North Douglas and Oakland. He operates the regional system at the highest safety standards, provides quality and reliable services to customers, obtains optimum efficiency and economy of operations, and maintains the division operations in compliance with federal, state and MIDCO rules, policies and standards. He provides a positive, winning, attitude towards customers, fellow employees, and the general public. He also reviews and audits operations to be in compliance with the state, federal and MIDCO standards for safety, reliability and customer service.

 

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Cindy Nicholson, Regional Director Operations, Eastern Oregon

Cindy was raised in Condon and after high school she attended Merit Davis Business College in Eugene. After graduating, she took over the family business and did accounting for local businesses in the area. She held various other jobs ranging from daycare to banking, the agriculture office and as a stay at mom. A few years later Cindy started working for Bill Flatt, MIDCO’s owner, contracting transportation for school districts. Cindy has raised two daughters in Condon and one granddaughter who is the apple of her eye.

A few years ago, Cindy was promoted to Vice President for the Eastern Oregon Operations at MIDCO. Her primary function is to be a leader for the region with duties that include managing and directing school bus operations and contracts covering Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Wheeler and Sherman and Union Counties. She is responsible for the overall management and supervision of location management staff and personnel, communication and coordination with District administrators regarding service levels and quality of service, safety policies and program reviews while ensuring District transportation policies are adhered to. She also evaluates performance vs. goals involving safety, reliability, and budget and initiates corrective actions if needed. She plans annual training workshops for drivers, Drug and Alcohol policies and Risk Management Plans, ensures that company operations are in compliance with Federal, State regulations, policies and standards. She also supports and enhances people development by leading and maintaining standards for safety and team building.

Some of the special projects that she has been involved in include:

  • 4-year appointment to Gilliam County Youth Commission for two four-year terms
  • 4-H leader-Livestock
  • Assisted in obtaining grant dollars and set-up for drug/alcohol workshops for school districts
  • Assisted in forming new organization plan for Citizens/ Student Scholarship Foundation
  • Elected to serve as treasure for the Blue Mountain Chapter of Oregon Pupil Transportation Association.
  • Served on the Hermiston Leadership for one year for the Chamber of Commerce.

susanSusan Hendrickson, HR Specialist

Susan has more than 30 years of experience in pupil transportation with a number of transportation operations. She has a great deal of experience in both the direct management of and supervision of leadership and staff. Her current duties include leading the Risk Management Team and the Human Resource Department in all matters related to Personnel, developing training and education programs for staff, coordination of MIDCO University Education Programs and Education Development Plans for management and other key staff positions.
As Vice President of HR & People Development, her duties include directing and coordinating hiring processes, benefits, training, discipline and management of duties related to policies and procedures of the company. She ensures that all operating transportation systems are achieving the highest safety standards and quality while providing fair, responsible, and efficiency in the establishment and follow-through of employee management. Hiring, training, and growing our transportation team in this environment is team-driven and produces our reliable services to our customers, efficiency and in compliance with federal, state standards, providing a positive and winning attitude toward customers, fellow employees, solving problems and issues in a fair and timely manner, and supporting the managing of skilled an effective transportation team at all locations in each division.
Some highlights to note, include:
• PHR HR Certification since 2007
• Certified Director of Transportation, National Association for Pupil Transportation since 1994
• Past Certified Behind the Wheel Examiner, Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles
• Oregon Safety Council DDC Instructor, Oregon CORE Instructor, Instructor and Developer for state and national credited training classes.

shaunShaun Sullivan, Region Maintenance Manager

Shaun has a PhD in Physics and Applied Science with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has specialized in Fleet Maintenance for several years. He was hired by MIDCO as the Regional Maintenance Manager and will oversee all Service and Training Operations throughout Oregon.

Some highlights to note, include:

ASE:   Master Certified Automotive Technician
FAA:   Power Plant Technician
FAA:   Air Frame Technician

 

stevenSteven Huillet, Director Safety and Compliance

Steve started as an apprentice with Slauson Ford in Independence, OR. After which he attended Lane Community College and completed the Auto/Diesel program. He worked for Central School District in Independence as the head school bus technician. Later, he was hired by Sisters School District as the Transportation Supervisor while becoming certified as a Behind the Wheel Instructor and Third Party Tester.

Steve was then hired by the Oregon Department of Education as a Program Analyst. During this time, he finished writing the Maintenance and Inspection Manual and the Certification testing program for school bus technicians. He was then promoted to State Director of Pupil Transportation and Fingerprinting and then appointed to the writing committee for school bus specifications at the National Congress of School Transportation. Soon after, he was elected as the Western States Director to serve on the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services Board of Directors.

 

markMark Thompson, Director of Risk Management Mid-Columbia Bus Company
Employee Relations-Title VII Compliance
Student Relations-Title IX, Anti-Bullying Compliance

 Mark is the Director of Risk Management for MIDCO and his duties include; supporting the Human Resources department in implementation of prevention strategies including manager and employee training for Title VII Compliance, developing prevention strategies, conducting training, and monitoring company compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also leads the Risk Management Team in investigating workplace wrongdoing, develops prevention strategies, conducts training, and monitors company compliance with Title IX and state anti-bullying statutes while conducting Title IX and student bullying investigations. He also develops and conducts student management training’s, train-the-trainer student management sessions and monitors company-wide student management training and education.

Mark is also President and owner of MT Consulting. He offers 25 years of risk management experience with public and private employers and fifteen years as an employee and student relations consultant for School Districts, Professional Football teams, and Division I athletics departments. His consulting practice specializes in developing employee/ student relations and anti-bullying prevention programs.