Management & Operations

Straight to the top

Posted on September 13, 2006 by Frank Di Giacomo

I’ve never wanted to climb Mount Everest, but I think we all could learn some lessons from someone who has. In this case, I’m referring to John Amatt, a terrific motivational speaker who will explain the value of taking risks at this year’s BusCon, scheduled Oct. 23 to 25 at the Navy Pier in Chicago.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with BusCon, it’s the largest bus convention in North America. Last year’s event featured 120 exhibitors and more than 60 buses on a 140,000-square-foot show floor. This year’s show promises to be even larger.

Now, getting back to John Amatt, he has led expeditions to the remotest parts of the world and was a member of the first Canadian expedition to successfully scale Everest’s 29,035-foot summit. Four people died in the attempt, and several of the group’s top climbers dropped out during the ascent, but John remained committed to the challenge.

John says the most important part of any adventure is the journey, and that the key to success is preparation. I’m looking forward to hearing his inspirational thoughts during his keynote presentation, “Taking Risks That Lead to Change,” and am confident that his insights will help attendees apply a spirit of adventure to the challenges of daily life.

Reaching higher levels
John’s inspirational message is but one of the benefits of attending this year’s BusCon. We’ve also got more than a dozen educational sessions for bus professionals, whether they’re owners and executives, operations supervisors, risk managers, maintenance supervisors or procurement specialists.

The hour-long sessions cover a wide range of transportation segments — transit, paratransit, tour and charter, shuttle, executive service, limobus operations and intercity routes.

In addition, the presentations are divided into several tracks — bus components, maintenance, safety and security, engines and emissions, and operations and management. You’d have to work pretty hard not to find a workshop or panel discussion that will help you improve your operation.

Some of the topics that will be covered include accident investigation, finding and recruiting good drivers, the impact of the 2007 EPA emissions standards, incorporating biodiesel into a fleet program, strategies to reduce fuel costs and understanding bus electronics and multiplexing.

We’re also sponsoring an expanded track of sessions for college and university transportation. BusCon has nurtured this growing area of public transportation by facilitating roundtables and networking events. This year we’re taking things a step further by expanding the program and covering even more topics of interest to this market segment.

Buses, buses, buses
Of course, BusCon would not be BusCon without an arena filled with small, medium-duty and heavy-duty buses displaying the latest advances in technology. The two-day exposition will give attendees plenty of time to inspect the latest products and services of bus manufacturers, suppliers and other vendors. It’s an awesome sight to see so much gleaming bus equipment in one place. For anyone interested in raising their knowledge level about bus products and technology, BusCon is the place to be. You will not be disappointed.

For those of you who haven’t been out on Lake Michigan, there’s also a networking cruise lined up. Cruising the lake isn’t as adventurous as climbing Mount Everest, but it’s a start.

For more information about BusCon, visit or call (800) 576-8788.

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