Shane Stanfill spent 16 years with DHL Express managing commercial truck drivers in the small parcel express delivery business. While Stanfill may know plenty about routing and managing a growing workforce, he’s really enjoying the switch from delivering goods to safely transporting students.
“It presents some really neat opportunities to be present, to be active in the community and active in the schools,” he says, “and really be part of helping lead the transportation department for the next decade and beyond.”
Stanfill took over the role as the Lynden Schools transportation supervisor in late July, quickly getting up to speed on the Lynden process in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
“I’ve had an interest in working for schools for a couple of years and I was looking for the right opportunity,” he says. “The Lynden job presented itself and I aggressively pursued it. Lynden is such an attractive community to be a part of and the school district is highly rated. It made it a really easy choice for my wife and I to move up this way.”
The move from Covington, east of Kent in King County, to Lynden allows Stanfill to enhance his skills in the transportation world. “I have extensive experience in creating routes, in managing routes and in supervising and managing a workforce of commercial truck drivers,” he says. “The aspect that is new to me is the school part of transporting people instead of parcels.”
Even still, he says the strategy doesn’t change much. “The challenge is always going to be with a growing district in meeting the needs and how we go about that,” he says. “The challenges we have right now are key retirements and replacing some of the workforce. That is where my focus has been.”
With a dedication to establishing routes ahead of the start of school, the focus shifts during the school year to ensuring all drivers receive their annual training, all certifications are up-to-date and that the department remains prepared for all the daily challenges, from athletic and field trip itineraries to winter weather situations.
With the needs of the growing district, the transportation department added a second dispatcher in early August. Monica Tiesenga joins Bonni Mather to handle administrative tasks, communicating with parents who call in throughout the day and dispatching and routing. “They are knee-deep into the routing software we use to design routes and optimize routes to get students picked up and dropped off in a timely manner while maximizing the efficiency in how we go about that,” he says. “And there is just a lot of troubleshooting.”
While the routes stay fairly constant once school starts, there is a need for flexibility as new students move in or students move out.
Bill Chapin remains the district’s mechanic.
Through it all, the first couple of months for Stanhill have stayed plenty busy. “It is certainly interesting,” he says. “I have learned a lot and I continue to learn a lot.”
Lynden Schools remains on the hunt for substitute bus drivers. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the transportation department at 360-354-5469.