Photos: Courtesy of Bryan Davis
Route Magazine: Why do you drive?
Bryan Davis: Public service is important to me. I was born in Mississippi in 1943. My mother and father worked extremely hard, and I have had a terrific life because of it. I started my own company and have been lucky to travel to more than 100 countries. But none of that would have been worth a darn if I hadn’t graduated from high school.
RM: After five years on the job, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
BD: I feel like these kids deserve a safe ride to and from school. Columbus has a 62% high school graduation rate, but the national rate is 92%. Somehow we have to get these kids some high school diplomas and not cripple them. The role of a bus driver is critical to that.
RM: It can be a tough job day in, day out. Have you had any big successes that stand out?
BD: The public schools are a challenge—a big challenge. I try to be consistent and to be there every day. At the end of my first year, I had a fairly troublesome little girl. She had had a bad day, and I put her in the seat behind me because of it. About three-quarters of the way to her stop, she reached up, wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me. You build a relationship first and foremost of respect.
RM: How is your IC bus performing for you?
BD: This bus is totally up to date, with front and rear cameras and a GPS system that tracks when we stop, open the door, etcetera. I’ve driven a lot of different kinds of buses, and on an IC Bus I have never stopped on the side of the road and had somebody come and get me. But to me, the air-conditioning system is really important. The A/C and heating system is absolutely second to none. When I walk on the bus, it’ll be 115 to 120 degrees. Fifteen minutes before the kids get on, I can turn the air-conditioning on high and those kids won’t be hot when they walk on. And that’s important in Mississippi.
Route: Columbus and Starkville, Miss.
Previous career: Founder and owner of a computer company.
Favorite IC Bus feature: The air-conditioning system for the hot southern summers.
Most Important role: Providing a safe ride to school.