When Cynthia was a child riding the school bus, she never would have guessed that years later she would be working 20 minutes away from her childhood home; let alone working for a company with a mission to keep roads safe for children on their journeys to and from school.
BusPatrol, helps communities and law enforcement uphold the school bus safety laws by installing cameras and AI technology on buses. If cars pass a school bus, their vehicle and license plate is captured on video, processed and sent to the police for evaluation along with other data. This helps reduce illegal passing of buses.
Cynthia’s memories of taking the school bus as a child, listening to music with her headphones on while enjoying the ride, were pretty uneventful, but even so, a few alarming memories came to mind as she was reminiscing about the past. As an adult and as a mother it was important for Cynthia to find a career path where she could find fulfillment while giving back to the community. She previously explored work in the medical field as a Dental Assistant, but after a few years yearned for more. As Cynthia shares her story we’ll get to find out more about her experiences and the work she does at BusPatrol.
In search of more regular hours and stability, Cynthia applied to BusPatrol. Her first interview offered a pleasant surprise. She would play a direct role in community correspondence, education and empowerment.
In search of more regular hours and stability, Cynthia applied to BusPatrol. Her first interview offered a pleasant surprise…
CYNTHIA: During my interview, they explained to me what BusPatrol does, I actually had no idea what BusPatrol did when I applied. So they explained to me what their mission was. I’m a mom of two boys, six and four and they go to school, they ride the school bus. So to me, as a mom, it is important for me that my kids get on and off the bus safely. It was very important to me. I really love the mission here and the fact that they explained it to me. During the interview, they just explained what their mission was, and that really inspired me to look more into the job I was applying for [Cynthia laughs].
Introducing Cynthia: Team Leader Community Correspondence Education Empowerment
Clearly Cynthia’s interview was a success. She’s been with BusPatrol for three and a half years, and is now part of an ever growing team. She has moved her way up the ladder and currently holds the Correspondence Team Lead position. We asked Cynthia to tell us what one can generally expect working in Correspondence…
The daily routine here is sending out late notices [for people who were issued police citations] and proofing letters that need to be sent out to citizens. We scan all the mail that comes through via PO Box. So we do a lot of scanning, we read letters from citizens, whether it’s, you know, angry letters or letters thanking us for what the company does and what their mission is. We have citizens who send us letters that have looked into what BusPatrol does, and even though they don’t like the citation they receive, they’re grateful for what we’re doing as a company.
How a rigorous process helps Community Correspondence, Education & Empowerment.
We also work closely with the courts and the officers that approve these citations. So it’s very important here in Correspondence that anything we send out to our citizens, to the courts, to the judges, everything is 100% accurate and there are no errors in it. We’ve done a pretty good job with our evidence packets for the past three years by not having any errors in them. Any small, little, tiny error could cause the judge to want to dismiss the case altogether.
So no errors in all that time?
Right. Yep. So that’s always a goal of mine: to keep that going. It’s very important to me to make sure everything gets sent out 100%
What to expect with a role in Community Correspondence Education Empowerment.
What can a new member of the Correspondence team expect when they come on board?
So for the initial training process we have videos and manuals that they receive. It usually takes about a month or so, depending on how fast you learn, to train someone in Correspondence. Of course, things are always changing so we just have to get up to speed with all these changes that come along with it. Most of my team members are very hands-on learners. So we would sit with them one-on-one and go over each process that we have to learn. They also take advantage of those videos that they did during the first week of training, and they look back on them. They come up with their own steps and their own ways to make sure they’re 100% in their work — flip steps if they have to, whatever makes them feel more comfortable.
We asked Cynthia to tell us about some of the stand-out qualities for those working in Community Correspondence Education Empowerment, and what those [qualities] look like in a member of the Correspondence team…
So it would definitely be someone who is very careful with attention to detail. Catching any errors, whether it’s your letter, the font size is off by one or two sizes — little things like that my employees catch. If the letter doesn’t match, one little thing doesn’t match with the rest of the letter, they let me know and so they have definitely proven that they have the attention to detail skill. Someone who’s very fast paced, but also accurate is very important.
What can a new member of the Correspondence team expect when they come on board?
Yeah, this is the first time I’ve worked in an environment like this (Community Correspondence Education Empowerment). My previous jobs were in the dental field, in the medical field, and then prior to that I was a teenager doing retail jobs. So this is the first job where I feel I’m doing something that could change someone’s life.
Three and a half years ago, I was a quiet person starting off as a Call Center Agent. Back then I couldn’t really go out and, you know, talk to everyone that was working at the time just because I was answering phone calls all the time. We were in a small room with the three of us and away from everyone else, so we were really only able to talk to each other, but I mean — strangers becoming friends: it was really nice. During lunch hours, we would go and sit down with everyone else in the kitchen and just talk. Everyone was just talking, communicating and getting to know each other.
What’s favorite part of the day at work?
My favorite part of the day, I think, would be having my team meetings. We try to have these at least once a week. And we’re always getting new employees since we’re getting bigger now. So it’s nice to ask, you know, a few icebreaker questions and get to know everyone on the team.
And what is the first thing you do when you get into the office, like a morning ritual?
I pull all my exports that I need for the day, that way when it comes time and I need those exports, I don’t have to wait 5 or 10 minutes to receive them. An export is for late notices and we ask for them every morning. It’s a spreadsheet that we get via AlertBus, which is the software we use to view the citations. We filter them out to what citations need these late notices. So it’s just a simple spreadsheet with all our citations needed for that day.
Cynthia gives us the play-by-play in greater detail about her daily role as Correspondence Team Lead…
Well, like I mentioned, we do the weekly team meetings. So these weekly team meetings consist of any updates that I may have for the team regarding, you know, our courts, our Partners, any new Partners that we may get along the way. And then I have bi-weekly meetings or one-on-one meetings with each individual person on my team. I review everything that goes out into the mail [for Community Correspondence Education Empowerment], everything that goes to the courts, everything they do — I have to review to make sure it’s accurate. So any errors that I may find along the way I keep it, you know, tally it up in a book or on my computer, and that goes towards that bi-weekly one-on-one meeting. I’ll discuss it with them individually, and what I’d like to do is keep track of those mistakes and see if it’s a constant issue. And if it is, then we figure out ‘what can we do to resolve that issue?’
Any specific childhood memories about the school bus?
I grew up 20 minutes away from here. So I’ve always been around the area. As a kid, I mean, I would just stay quiet. I loved the ride, you know, to school and back home, just putting on my headphones and listening to music. So that was a good thing on the bus. I did experience a lot of cars, you know, passing by, through neighborhoods. Where driver’s were supposed to be going 15 or 25 miles an hour there were cars just speeding by. Obviously, there’s only so much a bus driver can do, so I would always experience our bus driver just honking at these cars. One time a parent actually, like, went to the middle of the road to try to stop the car.
Regarding work culture in Community Correspondence Education Empowerment
Yeah, I mean, it’s all different. Everyone’s different so you don’t know what you’re going to expect. Some people are extroverts. Some people are introverts. What I’ve noticed a lot in the company is we get a lot of introverts, and the longer they’re here, they slowly break out of their shell. So you’re kind of meeting a whole ‘nother person. And I’ve met a few people where they were completely quiet in the beginning of when I started at BusPatrol, and now you know, they’re out here talking to everyone wanting to get to know everyone. I’m a very shy person, but here at BusPatrol I just tried to poke and ask questions to try and get to know someone here. Everyone’s super nice and everyone greets each other in the mornings, goes to make their coffee in the kitchen, and everyone’s just there chatting until eight o’clock.
Cynthia and her team have found fun ways to strengthen team spirit…with a dose of some healthy competition in the mix:
Among our team there’s always little competitions to see who can get the most letters done — who can get the most letters done with no errors. So there’s always some type of competition. We try to mix it up every month. We do these competitions within our department. Sometimes everyone will check each other’s work and we’ll catch errors, or it just comes back to me, and I’m the one reviewing everything and making sure everything is good.
As a mom, it’s very important to me that my kids are safe and I’m sure a million other moms can relate to that. It’s always a concern when you drop your kids off at the bus or when they get off the buses. They say “Okay, I know I’m going to be safe. I know the rules!” Most drivers should know they are not supposed to pass a school bus. Other drivers just are distracted or don’t care. As a parent, it’s really encouraging to know that the company I’m a part of is working on this problem. Maybe people didn’t realize it was such a problem at first — but now when someone passes the school bus, BusPatrol will help the police make sure they know. When they get that citation with that fine, they’re going to be like, ‘oh, I shouldn’t pass a school bus again.’ [this is where Community Correspondence Education Empowerment take effect]. Some people just don’t know the laws of when and when not to stop for a school bus. So this is another way to educate them and let them know, “hey, you do need to stop even though you may be on the opposite side of the school bus”.
At some point here at BusPatrol, we decided to have a costume contest. So that kind of broke everyone out of their shells — seeing how everyone dresses up and what they’re into for Halloween. So that’s always fun and always gives us a chance to come more out of our shells.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
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