Meet Kathy Chiasson: Zeelo US Driver of the Year 2023

Please join us in celebrating this exceptional driver and the exceptional experiences she has provided for our clients and riders
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At Zeelo, we value our operator partnerships and the drivers running our services. We believe in recognizing their contributions to our success, so please join us in celebrating this exceptional driver and the exceptional experiences she has provided for our clients and riders.

Meet Kathy, an indispensable member of the First Student team, responsible for running services on behalf of our clients. She has been honored with our first ever Driver of the Year Award in the US, a testament to her remarkable attitude, consistent exceptional performance, above and beyond service, and providing an outstanding customer experience. 

To offer you a glimpse into Kathy's role in the delivery of Zeelo services, we invite you to take a closer look at the responsibilities she undertakes, especially in the vital task of transporting young people to school each day. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself Kathy and how you got started in the transportation industry?

I’m a single mother of 5 adult children who I put through college and am a proud owner of 2 beautiful cats. Due to circumstances with my children getting older, I decided to become a school bus driver, so I could continue to be there for my kids. 

How does it feel to be named Zeelo's Driver of the Year? What was your initial reaction upon hearing the news?

I’m honored, and proud to receive this award. My initial reaction was quite surprised as I was unaware that Zeelo even provided this accolade to its drivers. 

What do you believe sets you apart and contributed to your success in winning this award?

I really enjoy the passengers I work with, and the smooth interaction between myself and Zeelo personale. Working together as a team, and always making sure I’m at my stops when expected, ensured my riders get to work and home on time. 

Can you walk us through a typical day as a driver? What challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?

A typical day includes waking up at 2am 6x a week, arriving at work around 3am, pre-tripping my bus, and completing all paperwork to ensure my bus is safe for my passengers and myself. A couple challenges include the weather, which includes zero visibility due to fog, whiteouts due to snow, and slippery road conditions. These have been overcome with the 24 years of knowledge of how to handle these conditions alongside my many years as a driver. 

What motivates you to consistently provide excellent service to your passengers?

Consistent support from Zeelo personale and my supervisor has empowered me to consistently provide excellent service to my passengers. 

How do you handle challenging or unexpected situations while driving?

I always say expect the unexpected. As a driver, you cannot predict anything that happens on the road. You’re at the mercy of other drivers, animals, weather conditions, what happens on the bus, and other unexpected situations. I am fortunate to have the grace, patience, and years of experience in this industry that allow me to face these challenges one day at a time.

What led you to pursue a career as a driver, and how has your journey been so far?

Prior to pursuing a career as a driver, I was a quality control inspector for nuclear power plants in the US. Once my children were of age to go to school, I wanted to have the same schedule as them, and became a bus driver for their school after receiving my CDL license. My journey so far has been very rewarding. I’ve continued to drive school buses, and have also driven shuttle buses as well. 

Have you faced any unique challenges as a female driver in the industry, and how (if any) have you navigated them?

In my experience in the industry, the majority of the drivers I have worked with have been women. I'm extremely thankful to have not endured any challenges in this regard. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career as a driver, especially women who might be hesitant to enter the industry?

It is such a big responsibility to be entrusted with getting children and adults alike to work/school, and back home/to their destination safely. The job can absolutely be stressful at times, but it is most rewarding as well. To the women who are looking to begin their careers as a driver, I would say this is a huge human interactive job. You’re interacting with so many different people all the time, and everyone has a destination you’re responsible with getting them to safely and on time.

What are your future goals within the transportation industry? Are there specific achievements or milestones you hope to reach?

I would love to continue working with the collaboration between Zeelo and First Student. At this time, I am happy in the role as a driver, and continue to provide excellent service for my riders, and the organizations involved alike.

Kathy lives and breathes the core values, not only of First Student, but here at Zeelo too! We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Kathy for her hard work and unwavering dedication. There's truly no one more deserving of this recognition. 

Keep your eye out for more content from our operator network, where we will be showcasing the tremendous effort that goes into the operation of Zeelo services both in the US and UK markets.

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