As soon as he was old enough to hold a wrench, Jeremiah Bradberry started working on car engines. The now veteran mechanic graduated from working on cars and motorcycles to caring for the engines responsible for transporting more than 70,000 students per day as part of the Cobb County School District Transportation Department.
Today, he is America’s Best Technician for school buses.
Bradberry won the America’s Best Technician title in November when he competed in the National Association of Pupil Transportation technician contest also known as America’s Best Training & Skills Challenge.
Before being crowned the number one bus technician in North America, Bradberry captured the title for Georgia. Bradberry, who won fifth place at the national competition in 2014, scored close to perfect on the state’s written technician test before heading to nationals again this year. The hands-on portion required Bradberry to inspect engines and diagnose problems.
Bradberry’s role on the Transportation team includes repairing bus engines and handling routine bus maintenance like oil changes. As the bus dispatcher, it’s Bradberry’s voice that the bus drivers often hear when they call for help if their bus breaks down. Whether it is guiding the drivers through fixing the problem over the phone or making a road call to lend his hands-on expertise, the national champion of bus mechanics is available to help hundreds of Cobb bus drivers get rolling again.
“I know my job is very important,” said Bradberry, who has worked as a bus technician with Cobb Schools for six years. “These buses roll, and most of the kids in the county ride the buses.”
Like all the members of the transportation department, Bradberry’s focus is keeping students safe.
“I know what it means to have a child on the bus and to worry about whether that bus is safe or not,” said Bradberry, whose child rides a school bus. “As long as I’m working on the buses, I want everyone to know that I’m going to make the buses as safe as I possibly can.”
Safety and teamwork are paramount inside the fleet maintenance shop where Bradberry works.
“We are a network,” Bradberry added. “We all help each other get through problems. It is a family that we have here. We are all in it for the same goal—to keep the kids safe.”
“It is a good group of guys to work with,” Bradberry revealed about his teammates in the Transportation Department. “Part of coming to your job everyday is enjoying who you work with. I enjoy everyone I work with.”
Bradberry isn’t the only member of the Transportation Department to win a national award this year. Rick Grisham, the Executive Director of Transportation, won the 2017 Leadership Award from School Transportation News.
America’s Best Technician explained why his boss stands out and how he impacts Transportation Department employees.
“[Rick Grisham] is a stand up guy. He is always positive. When you see him walking around, he always has a can-do attitude. I like that. A lot of people like that,” praised Bradberry.