In Memory of Zack

Zack mobility van Recently, Kansas Truck Equipment lost a beloved family member. Richard “Zack” Zackula passed away on September 15, 2018. Along with his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, our staff mourns his loss and cherishes his memory. He was a visionary within the company and a champion for people with disabilities.

Looking Back…

Zack was just 21-years-old when he started working for Kansas Truck Equipment. This was years before our second building and mobility division were even a speck on the horizon. As a mechanic, Zack worked in the shop installing farm bodies on trucks for rural customers. He also worked in our fledgling bus division, delivering Blue Bird buses across the state of Kansas.

In an article featured in School Bus Fleet, Zack talked about the booming bus business and how he was able to deliver so many at a time:

Service Manager Karl Gragg would rent a small plane and fly Zackula and other staff members to a Blue Bird plant that was in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

“He’d land in a cornfield — literally,” Zackula said. “We’d drive the bus back to Wichita. The next weekend, we’d deliver the bus somewhere in Kansas.”

Zackula recalled a time when they delivered a bus to Tribune, Kan. “Karl landed on a sod airstrip to pick us up.”

Mobility Division was Inspired by Zack’s Ingenuity

Today, our mobility division is housed in a second building and features a showroom where customers can view products in a climate-controlled environment. Zack’s ability to fabricate real life solutions for mobility issues was the impetus for our mobility line. When he retired after 48 years, the mobility department had become his legacy. Over the years, Zack touched the lives of thousands and considered many to be his friends. He enjoyed our annual Mobility Rodeo because it gave him a chance to chat with customers new and old.

Heart and Soul of Kansas Truck

During his nearly five decades at Kansas Truck Equipment, Zack built long-lasting relationships with coworkers. He was a foreman, mentor, manager, and friend. He may have had a lack of patience at times, but he was also known for his “great big heart” and mischievous smile. President of Kansas Truck, Maurice Linnens, described him as the “Heart and soul of our business. He was authentic and you always knew where you stood with him.”

To our friends and customers who have reached out over the last few weeks – Thank You. We love hearing your stories and we know you’re hurting too. Thank you for helping us celebrate the life of Richard “Zack” Zackula, a person who showed us the importance of helping our fellow man and paying it forward whenever we can.

 

wheelchair fall festival

Wheelchair Accessible Craft Fairs in Kansas

wheelchair fall festival

Crisp mornings, hot apple cider, homemade cinnamon rolls, and rows of crafts, art, and vintage finds is pure Kansas Fall. For those in need of a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, we’ve put together a list of local fairs and festivals with accessible walking paths, parking lots, and other accommodations.

Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson – September 7-16, 2018

What started as an agricultural fair in the late 1800s has grown to be one of the largest attractions in Kansas. In addition to live entertainment, animal displays, midway rides, and festival food, the state fair includes daily access to multiple air conditioned buildings featuring arts, crafts, and locally-sourced goods. Get in FREE on Monday, September 10th by showing your Dillons card.

ACCESSIBILITY: Visitors with disabilities have three parking areas available each day of the fair. Two are located on the east side of the Fairgrounds in Public Parking Lot C. The other is on the north side of the Fairgrounds off State Fair Road. Parking Lot C has a shuttle service with wheelchair accommodation available each day. Wheelchair and scooter rental also available at the fair. You can find more information on the State Fair Accessibility Guide page.

Haskell Indian Art Market in Lawrence – September 8-9, 2018

Celebrating its 30th year, artists will showcase and sell original handmade artwork including jewelry, pottery, paintings, drawings/prints, basket weaving, rug weaving, sculptures and more.

ACCESSIBILITY: A representative of the Indian Art Market noted that the event is outdoors in the grass, so powering a manual wheelchair in these conditions could prove tough. FREE admission and parking.

Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair in Hillsboro – September 15, 2018

Located in downtown Hillsboro on Main street, over 300 juried vendors will have items on display. This fair is one day only and runs 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. “This is our 49th year,” said director Brenda Walls, “we jury hard to select the best vendors in a wide variety of mediums.” Vendors will come from Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Booths will line six to seven blocks on Main Street.

ACCESSIBILITY: Three designated handicapped parking areas within close proximity to the fair.

Belles Bazaar in Wichita – September 22, 2018

Hosted by the Belles of St. Mary at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
This is the 11th year for this FREE tasty event. Enjoy fresh homemade cinnamon rolls, lentil soup, and meat pies – plus unique craft vendors.

ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair access on north side of church. Wide aisles for browsing.

Kansas Barn Sale in McPherson – October 6, 2018

One of Kansas’ most popular craft/vintage fairs will be located at Lakeside Park in McPherson, Kansas. Over 130 juried vendors will be on hand from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. One day only.
From the Kansas Barn Sale Facebook Page – “Art, primitives, rustic, shiny, edible, handmade, blingy, barnwood, upcycled, junky, pretty!”

ACCESSIBILITY: Designated wheelchair parking. Handicap accessible porta-potty units. Lakeside Park is suitable for wheelchair, scooter, or walker.

Neewollah Arts and Crafts Fair in Independence – October 27, 2018

Neewollah (Halloween backwards) is the largest event in southeast Kansas. Celebrating its 99th year, the event features parades, live entertainment, and an arts & crafts fair located in downtown Independence (8:00 am to 6:00 pm).

ACCESSIBILITY: Several handicapped parking spaces located in various locations downtown for easy access to the fair.

Take Us On the Journey

As you attend the many fall festivals Kansas has to offer, we’d love to see your adventures and treasures. Take a photo and post it on our Kansas Truck Mobility Facebook page.

 

bus winter

It’s Never Too Early to Get Your Buses Cold-Weather Ready

bus winter

School is back in session. That means buses are tuned up and ready for a new season of daily driving and field trips galore. While your school bus fleet may be in top condition right now, it’s never too soon to plan for old man winter.

Review this quick Seven-Point list now and take action so your department isn’t in the deep freeze later.

  1. Are all coolant lines and connections leak free?
  2. Do you have proper coolant/antifreeze on hand?
  3. Are proper filling procedures being followed?
  4. Do you have starting aids such as a coolant block heater/intake manifold heater or oil heater on hand and ready to go?
  5. Has the fuel/water separator been drained?
  6. What is your plan for a winterized diesel fuel?
  7. Do drivers know about the High Idle switch and its proper usage for longer idle times in cold weather?

“Few school budgets allow for an extra route bus, so anticipating cold weather requirements can really save the transportation department headaches and money.” Jason Jackson – Bus Service Manager

The Parts Department at Kansas Truck Equipment can help you with winter fronts, fuel filters, fuel/water separators and more. Most parts available for delivery within 24 hours. Call for more information – (866) 948-3849.

For more details on cold weather prep ideas refer to this article by Cummins Engines which appeared in the monthly publication, School Bus Fleet.

Kansas Truck Equipment is proud to be the only Cummins-certified Blue Bird Bus dealer for the state of Kansas.

rei mobile video surveillance

Benefits of Mobile Video Surveillance

rei mobile video surveillance

Safety and cost are a transportation director’s two most important responsibilities. So a solution like mobile video surveillance from REI on school buses offers long-term benefits that far surpass the short-term cost.

1: Provide a safe environment for Students, Drivers and Monitors

A safe environment in student transportation is one that combines responsibility with accountability, and mobile video surveillance can keep drivers and aides accountable to transportation directors and fleet managers. It can also keep students accountable to administrators and parents, allowing administration to address parental concerns in a timely manner.

Inside the bus, video surveillance offers footage over high back seats, something that can’t be done from a rear-view mirror. Students can benefit from the ability of video surveillance to record stop-arm violations and capture license plate information. Video surveillance footage can benefit your school district in many ways, protecting your transportation teams in the process.

2: Minimize Costs

It goes without saying that safety is the most important part of a transportation director or superintendent’s job. But they also must find ways to reduce costs, both in the short-term and the long-term.

Mobile video surveillance on your school bus fleet allows you to monitor the performance of your drivers and aides and spot opportunities for improvement in their performance. Real-time location information can be immensely helpful in improving the efficiency of your drivers, and improve your training, both of which can save on costs such as equipment downtime, fuel costs and overtime cost. Well-trained employees can reduce risks, which can have long-term insurance savings. Another benefit of mobile surveillance is that it can even save on maintenance costs by identifying issues with equipment before they become costly repairs.

3: Reduces Vandalism

We mentioned accountability earlier, and studies have shown that the presence of mobile video surveillance reduces vandalism. That can save further on unnecessary maintenance costs.

Mobile video surveillance on buses creates an environment where drivers and students can feel safer. Parents and administrators can rest easy knowing that drivers aren’t alone in keeping an eye on things.

For your custom quote, call Dave, Dan or Alicia at Kansas Truck Equipment Co., Inc.
(316) 491-2995 or (866) 948-3849

John and Scott

Kansas Truck Equipment Welcomes Scott Lemon and John Rich To Our Truck Equipment Sales Team

Kansas Truck Equipment would like to send a warm welcome to Scott Lemon and John Rich who have recently joined our Truck Equipment sales team. Read more

buslotoverview300

OTC or Blue Bird Activity Bus? What to consider.

We believe there are two issues to consider when evaluating the use of OTC (over-the-road-coach) buses to transport students. They are not built to meet FMVSS school bus standards which have specific safety requirements to protect students. And, the long-term cost-of-ownership can be expensive. In Kansas, school districts cannot, by law, purchase new motorcoach buses. Read more

Bluebird Bus - Front

Leasing vs Purchase of a School Bus

Has your school district considered Lease over Purchase? Kansas Truck Equipment Co., Inc. can discuss financing and leasing programs for new and used school buses. Read more

gas_bus

What does USD 330 Mission Valley say about their new gas Blue Bird?

Bill Logan, transportation supervisor, USD 330 Mission Valley, has been in the ‘school transportation business’ for 28 years. He’s been at it long enough to watch the bus barn go from gas to diesel, and, back to gas. Read more