Equip - Fall 2016 - 15


SHORT Takes

Women in Buses Works for Women
Through hard work, dedication, and commitment, you can be rewarded with success
By Michelle Wiltgen
Joining Women in Buses was an
easy decision. Formed by ABA,
this progressive organization
promotes and recognizes the efforts
of women in the travel, tourism,
and motorcoach industry. It gives
women the opportunity to network,
learn, mentor, and be
recognized for their
strength, dedication,
and expertise. I hope
my involvement
speaks to women who may feel uncomfortable about coming forward
and that my doing so will encourage
them to join something great.
Women in Buses has been
important to me because it's a
way to network with other strong,
professional women. This council's
regular calls and seminars have enhanced my outlook on the industry.
They've given me the opportunity
to spend time with other women I
might not have had the opportunity
to know.

The BISC Report
BISC WEST MEETING SESSIONS
The Bus Industry Safety Council
(BISC) took its first step west this
past July and held BISC
West in Ontario, Calif., in
conjunction with ABA and
the California Bus Association. About 45 motorcoach
company leaders attended,
and BISC received very
positive feedback from
them. There appears to be
great support for having
BISC return out West.
ABA FOUNDATION SILENT
AUCTION: FOLLOW UP
In my role as BISC chairman, I was
auctioned off at this year's Marketplace silent auction. The package
included a two-day visit by myself
to conduct a safety review, provide
a summary of findings, and conduct
a management debrief session to
review avenues for improvement.

As one of the first female officers
at National Interstate Insurance,
I've always believed it's important
to lead by example. (I have more
than 30 years of insurance experience, 25 with National Interstate.)
I want other women
to see it's possible
to be successful in a
male-dominated field,
regardless of your
title or background.
Through hard work,
dedication, and commitment, you
can be rewarded with success.
Besides being National Interstate's representative to the bus
industry (and other industries in
which the insurance company is
involved), I also mentor women at
National Interstate on a daily basis.
Every summer I spend four
to six weeks leading Ignition, my
company's internal professional
development program. It gives
newly hired college graduates
more knowledge about insurance,

night, earning
our company's mission,
a degree in
vision, corporate culmanagement
ture, and life skills. The
and labor
objective? To jumpstart
Michelle
relations/hucareers by giving them
Wiltgen
man resource
more knowledge about
management.
this exciting business. It's
Soon thereafter a friend wanted
fulfilling to be in a position that lets
me to interview at National Interme mentor young professionals
state, which was a startup at the time.
who will serve the transportation
When I asked what it insured, he
industry for years to come.
replied, "Buses." I remember thinkIt's a good thing. After all, there
were few female career role models ing how odd that was, but I went to
I could to look up to then. I grew up the interview nonetheless.
In the end, I left a company with
in a lower middle-class Cleveland
thousands of employees to work for
suburb and had four older brotha business that had only 23 employers. Back in the late '70s, people
thought women should get married ees. I've never looked back. Today I
can't imagine not being part of the
and have children just as their
National Interstate family and the
mothers did. That was what my
bus industry. ●
family expected me to do.
At an early age, I realized that if
I wanted a career I'd need to pay my Michelle Wiltgen is assistant vice
way through college. While in high
president and national marketing
school, a local insurance company
manager for National Interstate
hired me. I worked there during
Insurance Co., which is based in
the day while attending college at
Richfield, Ohio.

By Stephen Evans
(Travel and accommodation expenses
were included.)
Elaine Fickett of H & L Charter in
Rancho Cucamonga,
Calif., was the successful
bidder. Her ABA member
company made good use
of this opportunity to have
a peer review conducted. The
resulting observations from
a fresh set of experienced
eyes helped strengthen her
organization's safety performance and helps position
H & L as an industry leader.
BISC 2017 WINTER MEETING:
PREVIEW
In the past, emerging transportation
technologies were often first rolled
out in high-end luxury performance
cars, then in the mainstream auto
market, and then in the trucking
industry, before finding their way to
buses and motorcoaches.

But this pattern has changed.
The pace of change has increased
drastically, too. So our theme for the
upcoming winter BISC meeting is
"Emerging Technologies." Sessions will
focus on learning best practices for
embracing these new technologies:
how to use them, how to integrate
them into operations, due diligence
expectations, and liability implications.
As BISC did at the summer meeting,
there will be five sessions coordinated
by the Executive Committee on the
main technology themes. Each of the
BISC standing committees will have
two sessions focusing on issues they're
dealing with, and they'll make a connection to the technologies theme.

changes will occur online during the
first week of November.
Newly elected members will assume
their roles the day after the BISC winter meeting. The two-year terms will
be staggered, with half of each elected
committee changing each year.
To accomplish this transition, some
positions elected this year will be for
one-year terms and revert back to
two-year terms next November.
We think these changes will
strengthen the process, help encourage more members to be involved,
help with continuity as members of
the Executive Committee turn over,
and ensure that the winter meeting is
both planned and carried out by the
same team. ●

UPCOMING BISC EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE ELECTIONS
As announced previously, we've made
a few changes to ways in which BISC's
Executive Committee members are
elected. Our first elections with these

BISC Chairman Stephen Evans is vice
president of safety at Pacific Western
Transportation in Calgary, Alberta.
ABC Companies is the title sponsor
of BISC and BISC West.

EQUIP MAGAZINE // Fall 2016

15



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