Honoring Bus Drivers of the Year, Safety Star, Ally, Community and Other Categories
LISLE, Illinois – The Women’s Inspiration Network (WIN) employee resource group at National Express LLC, a leading transportation provider specializing in student transportation and shuttle and transit services in North America, held its inaugural 2023 WIN Awards for team members.
In a virtual ceremony marking the ERG’s one-year anniversary, WIN unveiled 10 winning employees in six categories, plus 13 honorable mentions. Awards include:
- WIN Drivers of the Year
- WIN Member of the Year Award
- WIN Ally of the Year Award
- WIN Safety Star Award
- WIN Community and Environment Award
- WIN Inspiration Award
WIN Driver of the Year Awards: Karen Warner, Bus Operator, Johnstown, OH (School Bus division); and Erik Bjorke, Bus Operator, Bismarck, ND (Shuttle & Transit division)
Tim Wertner, CEO of National Express School, and Erick Van Wagenen, President & CEO of National Express Shuttle & Transit, presented awards to outstanding drivers from the School Bus and Shuttle & Transit divisions. In this category, WIN recognized bus operators for going above and beyond, demonstrating exceptional skills, service, professionalism, and dedication, and exemplifying the highest standards of excellence and true spirit of our organization.
A veteran driver of 45 years, Karen Warner was honored for her hard work, dedication, driving skills and positivity serving local students. Erik Bjorke was recognized for exemplary performance, customer service, and praise he’s received for his professionalism and courteous nature while serving his local transit passengers.
Honorable Mentions for Driver of the Year: Tanya Kellum, Troy, NY and Melissa Anderson, Madisonville, TX (School Bus); and Emmanuel Addo, Highland, VA and Nicholas Larffarello, Hyde Park, MA (Shuttle & Transit)
WIN 2023 Safety Star Award: Beverly Raddatz, School Bus Operator, Grayslake, IL (School Bus division)
Recognizes an individual who exhibits an outstanding commitment to safety. Beverly Raddatz’ quick actions and heroic effort helped save a high school student athlete’s life during a medical incident before a game.
Honorable Mentions for Safety Star: Maria Deacon, Safety Training Supervisor, House Springs, MO; and Jailene Vargas, Trainer, Troy, NY (School Bus)
WIN Community & Environment Award: Barbara Townsend, Bus Operator, Greensboro, NC (Shuttle & Transit division)
Recognizes an individual’s significant impact on the community and environment. Barbara Townsend, who was also named a 2023 North Carolina Public Transportation Association Driver of the Year, transformed her personal grief with the loss of two children into a community movement by creating a non-profit called “Next Step Loved Ones.” WIN salutes Barbara for helping families experiencing grief and for leading initiatives serving children and homeless populations in the Piedmont Triad region.
Honorable Mentions for Community & Environment: Antoinette Thomas, Bus Operator, Troy, NY (School Bus); and Keyshana Jackson, General Manager, Austin, TX (Shuttle & Transit)
WIN Ally of the Year Award: Billy Shean, Assistant General Manager, Bellingham, MA (Shuttle & Transit division)
Recognizes exceptional allyship by honoring an individual who actively advocates for inclusivity, diversity, and equity, and uses their influence to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all. Billy Shean is supportive and encouraging, and is a champion of equal employee involvement, development, and support while being a force of change for two Shuttle & Transit locations in our Northeast Region.
Honorable Mention for Ally of the Year: Aidsand (Ace) Riggins, Regional Manager, Los Angeles, CA (School Bus)
WIN Member of the Year Award: Marcy Elliott, Assistant General Manager, Hyde Park, MA (Shuttle & Transit division)
Recognizes an exceptional member of WIN who has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated leadership, dedication and volunteerism. Marcy Elliott launched WIN’s first local chapter in Boston and was instrumental in producing WIN’s International Women’s Day Flip Book highlighting National Express as an employer of choice for high-potential women.
WIN Inspiration Awards: Jessica Solis, Dispatcher, Wolfforth, TX (School Bus division); Matthew Hoffert, Transit Maintenance Lead, Durham, NC (Shuttle & Transit division); and Annette Johnson, Labor & Employment Paralegal, Lisle, IL (Corporate)
Recognizes individuals who consistently display exceptional dedication, innovation, and teamwork. Jessica Solis was honored for her strong bond with customers and administrators across the 13 campuses she supports, in addition to her incredible relationship with bus operators and monitors. Matthew Hoffert was recognized for his efforts and positivity in maintaining a large fleet and willingness to wear many hats. WIN saluted Annette Johnson for her expertise, compassion, ingenuity, and positivity.
Honorable Mentions: Patricia Bix, Bus Monitor, Troy, NY (School Bus); Katherine Lopez, Road Supervisor, Bismark, ND and Regina Wilson, General Manager, Philadelphia, PA (Shuttle & Transit); and Elizabeth Ross, Payroll Admin, Lisle, IL (Corporate)
WIN Special Recognition Award Winner: Cristina Hallner, Director of Marketing, New Orleans, LA (Corporate)
Recognizes a WIN member’s positive impact on initiatives, culture and growth. Cristina Hallner was honored for leading the company’s first ERG, Unidos for National Express, its partnership with the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, and her collaboration across ERGs on a mentoring program.
About the Women’s Inspiration Network
The Women’s Inspiration Network (WIN) at National Express aims to equalize access and opportunity for women at the company. Our goal is to nurture a community of women and allies who share a passion for celebrating and promoting women’s advancement and achievement. Founding Steering Committee: Stephanie Maher, Joanna Rustin, Gillian Zoss, Tara Walton, Marissa Basile, Amy Paolercio, Monica Spoerl and HR advisor Haze Samoy.
About National Express North America
National Express LLC (NELLC) is the North American subsidiary of Mobico Group, one of the premier global mobility firms. We operate across 34 states and two provinces. Our organizations share a strong commitment to provide the highest level of safety, quality, outstanding customer service and positive employee relations. National Express School operates more than 15,590 school buses, serves more than 429 school districts and contracts in 30 states and two provinces, and transports more than 1.3 million students on a daily basis. National Express Shuttle (WeDriveU) & Transit operates fixed route and demand-responsive mobility systems serving millions of annual passengers in thousands of vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs).