Transfinder names Savannah-Chatham’s Ling Ambassador of the Year
Austin, Texas – May 12, 2017 – Transfinder Corp., the leading developer of school bus routing software, named Kecia Ling, director of transportation operations at Savannah-Chatham Public County School System, its Ambassador of the Year.
Ling was named Ambassador of the Year during Transfinder’s three-day Annual Client Summit in Austin, Texas. The summit ends today.
“I’m excited and blessed. The reason I say blessed is this award allowed me to know I have a very dedicated staff and dedicated partners from Transfinder to help us make routing work for over 26,000 in four months,” Ling said. “I do feel like this is a team award.”
Ling becomes the third Ambassador of the Year, the first being named in 2015.
Transfinder President and CEO Antonio Civitella said with more than 1,800 clients, it takes a special story to be considered for the Ambassador of the Year award.
“Kecia Ling truly represents what the Ambassador of the Year award is all about,” Civitella said. “She and her team faced difficult odds building a transportation department, learning new software and getting ready not just for the first day of school in the fall but the start of summer school. To learn the software and build routes in four months was a huge undertaking. And then to use our software to deal with the logistics nightmare caused by Hurricane Matthew in October made her an obvious choice for this year’s award.”
Ling said the district learned in February that it would not be turning to its third-party busing company for transportation in the fall. That left her with the need to build her team and learn Transfinder, a software system different from what the previous vendor had used.
“Our routers were familiar with a previous routing software and so for many years they used that one particular software,” Ling said. “Getting the routers accustomed to a new software was our biggest challenge. Transfinder really made it happen for us. They did a lot of the routing work themselves. We had 376 routes and with this software we’ve been able to cut down to 314 routes.”
Ling said her team worked 13-hour days for two months straight to be ready for summer school and the fall opening.
After a smooth opening, “then we had the hurricane,” Ling said. “Using Transfinder software we were easily able to identify which of our students live on Tybee Island, which is a part of Savannah which has one road in and one road out and is surrounded by water. It was very easy to work with Transfinder software so we could build our emergency preparedness plan.”
The district used Transfinder software to adjust bell schedules (start times) for students that coordinated with high tide, when transportation on and off the island is impossible. In the west side side of Savannah, the district used Transfinder software to identify families in need of housing and transport them to emergency facilities.”
School had closed for more than a week, and when it reopened, Ling and her team used Transfinder software to create new routes for students scattered in different locations from where they were when the school year started.
“They were in hotels, homeless shelters and living with different family members all over the town. We had to transport them from wherever they ended up to and from school,” said Andrea Wiggins, a router with Savannah-Chatham schools. “It was a whole lot easier with Transfinder.”
Wiggins said the Ambassador of the Year award for Ling was “well deserved. She goes above and beyond for us all the time.”
The award was given before more than 250 school transportation officials from 36 states and two Canadian provinces who attended the three-day conference.
Earlier in the day, summit’s keynote speaker Ms. Donna Bohorich, chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education, spoke on leadership.
“When you know who you are and you know what you’re about, you can lead without concern about the stomach punches,” she said. “You can lead without fear. You can lead because authentic, focused leadership is hard to find but oh so attractive to follow.”
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Schenectady, New York, Transfinder is a national leader in intelligent transportation systems, providing transportation management systems and services to school districts, municipalities and adult care facilities. Transfinder, an Inc. magazine “fastest-growing company” for the past ten straight years, has offices in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, China. The software company develops and supports routing and scheduling solutions for optimal transportation logistics.