Most of us interact with school buses every day: braking for them or walking our kids to them. But we rarely consider the work it takes to keep the vast network of buses rolling. It’s a challenging task, but one that Nick Vallone is up to as co-owner of VP Buses, which runs school bus operations across Westchester, and boasts 150 employees and more than 180 vehicles.
Vallone has a broad scope of responsibilities — from working with local governments and insurance companies to managing collective bargaining agreements to overseeing the company’s public relations. He also serves as vice president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.
But Vallone doesn’t just keep things running, he’s expanding them, too. Since taking over the company as an acquisition in 2015, Vallone has grown the business, broadening its footprint in the county. He’s also brought a strong tech focus to the firm. “I think it’s safe to say our Westchester fleet is one of the smartest fleets in the state,” Vallone says. “Our GPS hardware and software allow parents to download an app to track their child’s vehicle location.”
The industry is in Vallone’s blood: His grandfather and father both had similar approaches to their roles in the transportation industry. “For me, it’s less about following in footsteps and more about following a mindset,” Vallone explains. “Our three bus companies are all unique in their own way but linked by common values. Safety is always number one. Treating people fairly is also at the top of the list.”