June 15, 2021

University of Iowa’s CAMBUS recognizes Darshaun Smith as the 2021 Driver of the Year. Transit service providers across Iowa annually each nominate an employee to be honored by the Iowa Public Transit Association (IPTA) for their commitment to providing safe and friendly service. 

On average, 160 student-employees operate transit services across the university campus. Student drivers play a critical role in ensuring campus access and mobility for students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Their responsibilities begin with driving but can grow to include training, dispatching, assisting with maintenance, and supervising.

Smith is a third year sociology major and has worked with CAMBUS since November 2019. Smith has shown immense dedication to his schooling, the UI Hawkeye Marching Band, and of course, CAMBUS. The selection team noted the positivity that Smith brings to the workplace. "Anyone around in the office or maintenance facility knows his friendly demeanor and willingness to chat," wrote the selection team. 

"Working at CAMBUS has introduced me to a variety of different people and settings that have all taught me a thing or two" replied Smith. "I can confidently put my best foot forward in my academics and social life."

Darshaun Smith

On top of being an exemplary bus driver and coworker, Smith has shown his dedication to creating a positive work experience for others through his participation on the CAMBUS Engagement Team (CEnT). CEnT was formed in 2019 at the suggestion of student employees and the committee focuses on evaluating CAMBUS as a student job and identifying opportunities to continually improve the workplace experience. Previous CEnT initiatives have included employee surveys, new employee recognition programs, and evolving communication channels. Smith is one of CEnT's most active members - contributing thoughtfully to conversations and offering ideas to enhance CAMBUS as an inclusive and fun work environment.  

"There are a lot of transferrable skills one gains in a group like CEnT, but I personally enjoyed the ability to think critically with likeminded peers from different seniority ranks to better our workplace," stated Smith.  

Smith continues to provide his positive influence in his unofficial role as CAMBUS' biggest promoters. Smith’s name is frequently included as a reference by CAMBUS job applicants. 

"I myself am a big fan of just driving and thinking about life, so if that's you, why not get paid to do just that," said Smith. "You will also gain numerous transferrable skills that can apply to your life post college." 

Smith is an excellent example of what makes CAMBUS successful - the dedicated employees that go the extra mile to create a community.  

Please join us in congratulating and thanking Darshaun Smith for providing excellent service! 

Honorable Mentions

In reviewing the Driver of the Year 2021 candidates, the selection team also wish to recognize drivers Kristen Wampole and Scott Houser as honorable mentions for Driver of the Year.  The selection team noted Kristen's and Scott's positive and friendly attitudes, their dependability, and overall great work records.

About the Driver of the Year award

A driver from each Iowa public transit agency is recognized each year by the Iowa Public Transit Association (IPTA) for their service to local communities. IPTA sets minimum criteria drivers must meet to be eligible for the award. Each public transit agency then uses their own process to select a driver to be honored. 

Criteria for award eligibility includes a clean work record, no attendance violations, and an excellent safety record. The CAMBUS management and student supervisor team evaluate the list of eligible candidates to select an overall award winner. The CAMBUS team looks at factors such as previous recognitions received throughout the year, feedback from other staff, and their contributions to creating an inclusive and positive workplace experience. 


CAMBUS is the University of Iowa’s student operated, no fare public transit system that provides fixed-route service throughout campus and demand-response paratransit services for qualifying persons. CAMBUS works in collaboration with other Parking and Transportation Department units to provide and support access and mobility for students, faculty, staff, patients, and visitors. For more information about our services visit https://transportation.uiowa.edu/cambus or call (319) 335-8633.