University of Iowa’s CAMBUS recognizes Scott Kerno as the 2023 Driver of the Year. Transit service providers across Iowa each nominate an employee annually to be honored by the Iowa Public Transit Association (IPTA) for their commitment to providing safe and friendly service.
Kerno started working as a fixed-route bus operator in October 2021. He then became certified to provide Bionic Bus service in January 2023. In their nomination of Kerno, the CAMBUS supervisor and management team noted that he has been a valued team member during the staffing challenges of the past year, often helping to fill in as a fixed-route driver before, between, and after providing Bionic rides. They also noted the positive work he has done in training new Bionic drivers. “If I was a trainee for Bionic, I would want to be on Scott’s shifts for him to teach me what I needed to know,” notes bionic supervisor, Abby Willging.
“I was very surprised when I found out I was selected for this award,” Kerno says. “I try to keep exceptional safety and attendance records and help out by picking up as many shifts as I can.”
"From the friendly driver wave to playing hacky sack with the cleanup crew, the culture creates a positive atmosphere."
In spring of 2023, Kerno graduated with a B.B.A. in Economics and an Informatics minor. He will go on to work as an Operations Analyst in Minneapolis, MN, and pursue his interests in the banking industry. He says he especially enjoyed driving CAMBUS after long days of studying, and values how the job adds uplifting moments to his day. “From the friendly driver wave to playing hacky sack with the cleanup crew, the culture creates a positive atmosphere,” Kerno says.
After driving a few routes and gaining a better understanding of the services, many student drivers find a particular route they enjoy driving. “Aside from my typical Bionic Bus shifts, my favorite route to drive is 35 Interdorm,” Kerno says, adding that the route was originally his least favorite. “Now I’ve realized how integral this route is to connecting Mayflower and west side dorms to the main campus… once I got the rush hour patterns down, driving the route became simple.”
Kerno says driving the bus made him nervous at first, but now, “I am probably better at driving it than my own truck.” By learning traffic patterns and relaxing into his routes, Kerno gained confidence in his skills and provided exceptional service.
“Not one of my coworkers I have talked to has regretted working for CAMBUS,” Kerno says. “I applied in the fall semester of my junior year and was still able to get the full experience. Even if you are an upperclassmen, it is not too late to apply!”
Kerno was recognized at the Iowa Public Transit Association’s driver award dinner on June 9 in Iowa City, alongside the Driver of the Year recipients from transit agencies across Iowa.
About the Driver of the Year award
The Iowa Public Transit Association (IPTA) recognizes a driver from each Iowa public transit agency annually 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 work record, attendance, and 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. On average, 160 student-employees operate transit services across the university campus. Their responsibilities begin with driving but can grow to include training, dispatching, assisting with maintenance, and supervising.
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 the CAMBUS page or call 319-335-8633.