District honors longtime employee on his retirement | Local-news | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors
HAVERFORD — On Thursday, officials at Haverford School District honored its retiring Director of Transportation George Ramplin with one last ride on the school bus. Ramplin is retiring after 41 years with the district.
A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the average American changes jobs as many as 12 times, so to see someone work for 41 years in one place is unique.
Superintendent Maureen Reusche surprised Ramplin at his front door and escorted him to work on the school bus on his last day. Riding bus 22, they were serenaded with sirens from a parade of fire trucks and police cars which escorted the bus up Darby Road and along West Chester Pike to the bus garage on Hilltop Road.
Ramplin was joined on the ride by his wife Karen, son Kyle, and fellow staff.
Jim O’Toole, who has worked with Ramplin for 21 years, said it was an honor to drive him on his last day of work, but admitted his boss sometimes drove him crazy with his attention to detail.
Ramplin started with the district driving buses, then moved up to fixing them. He was promoted to lead mechanic, then transportation manager and finally in 1994 he became the director of transportation.
Asked how his job had changed over the years, the soft-spoken Ramplin said, simply, technology. During his tenure, Ramplin pioneered the use of integrated school bus GPS tracking, mapping and student ridership software for the district.
“Technology is a wonderful thing,” Ramplin said as he described organizing 55 routes and getting thousands of students to school in the safest and shortest amount of time. Additional software allows the district to streamline field trips, sports and band events.
In addition to the students attending Haverford schools, Ramplin worked with other nearby school districts to develop a shuttle service used by non-public schools which lessened the length of time a student spends on the bus.
Former school board member Russ Bilotta spoke in praise of Ramplin at April’s school board meeting.
“I have always talked about unseen heroes of our school district, behind-the-scenes employees. A true unseen person is George Ramplin,” Bilotta said. “He is the person who, when there was poor weather – snow, ice and such – would get out to the depot early, 2:30-3 in the morning, take the bus out on the roads and see if the schools should be closed and report back to the superintendent.”
Bilotta said Ramplin always placed the safety of the students first. When asked why Haverford buses do not use tire chains in bad weather, Ramplin told him, “If the buses need chains to get around, they do not belong on the road.”
“George’s fleet management was unique,” Bilotta said. “Rarely did we purchase new buses, but one year old buses from other districts that would save a lot of money.”
Ramplin also pioneered the use of biodiesel and propane fuels to reduce pollution. Haverford was the first district in Delaware County to purchase rooftop snow clearing equipment after state law mandated snow removal on rooftops of vehicles, Bilotta said.
When flooding from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene threatened buses in the depot, Ramplin and a number of drivers jumped into action and moved them out of harm’s way.
Not only was George involved with our district but community as well. A lifelong Member of Llanerch Fire Co., and could always be seen at the gate to enter the track on Friday night football games.
“Everyone in the Haverford community shares his (Bilotta’s) comments about George Ramplin. He will be sorely missed. He has done such great work for us for so many years in so many ways,” said school board President Lawrence Feinberg.
Kevin DiPoalo will take over as the new director of transportation.