Brooke Garcia is president of 4Seasons Transportation.
Tell me a little bit about 4Seasons. The company’s history and what you do?
Garcia: We are a student transportation company focused on serving children with special needs in the Calgary and surrounding area. We employ caring and compassionate people, and train them to be professional drivers and attendants who take a personal, family-focused approach in caring for the children we transport.
I started as a driver with 4Seasons nine years ago; at the time there was a total of five employees. Today our company is made up of almost 500 wonderful team members and continues to grow.
Who are your clients?
Garcia: Our clients are made up of the school boards, guardians and students with a variety of special needs, from physical, cognitive, to behavioural. The common link is that they may have difficulty getting to and from school without our service. In some cases, they may not be able to attend at all. Wheelchair transportation is not always easily accessible for families and modifications for personal vehicles can be costly.
At 4Seasons, we focus on making the bus as safe and calm as possible, so when the students arrive at school they are ready to learn. We’ve been able to provide a service to school boards and parents that allow them the peace of mind that their student will not only be safely transported to and from school, but with a company that is educated and prepared to handle the challenges that may occur.
What is the Supportive Community Driver Initiative and why was it launched?
Garcia: The Supportive Community Driver Initiative embodies everything we do. It’s a full circle approach to developing drivers, attendants and our company culture. Focusing on what is most important, providing a service that’s focused on compassionate care and individualized service.
Through the Supportive Community Driver Initiative, we recruit members of the community who are compassionate, responsible and dedicated to making a difference in their community.
How difficult is it to get drivers?
Garcia: Finding good employees is a challenge for any transportation company. We come at this from two angles. At 4Seasons Transportation, getting previously certified professional drivers is only part of our recruiting approach. Our primary strategy is to recruit caring and compassionate individuals that want to make a positive impact in the lives of our students. Any time we find a candidate who not only has the right personality, but also is a professional driver is a bonus.
What are the qualifications needed to be a driver?
Garcia: Our ideal candidate would be someone who is a stay-at-home parent looking to bring their child(ren) with them during the day, a retiree wanting to give back to their community or an entrepreneur who is starting their own business but needs steady income to support them while they’re following their dream.
In regards to qualifications, experience with children, volunteering, the elderly, someone who loves being with people and is a kind caring individual, are the qualities we admire. All our drivers must have a clean driver’s abstract and several years of Canadian driving experience and clean insurance history. A class 1, 2, or 4 driver’s licence is an asset but not mandatory. Our minimum licence requirement is a class 5, non-graduated driver’s licence (GDL).
Firstly, we train our candidates in a full curriculum to educate them on special needs and the different students they will be transporting. Secondly, we provide professional driver training in order for them to obtain their commercial licence.
Interviewed by Mario Toneguzzi, a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.