CSU Bus Driver Recognized for Safe Driving

Columbus State University bus driver James Beard recently earned an MBA - or Mobile Billboard Award - for his outstanding, safe driving. Beard, also known affectionately by students as "Mr. Teddy Bear", was awarded the honor last month before 40 of his colleagues in the CSU's Plant Operations department.

"I was overwhelmed. This is the first time an honor like this has ever been bestowed upon me. I'm very happy and pleased," said Beard. "I can walk proud with my head high."

Beard received the award after a motorist used his "Report My Driving" decal to call in and compliment his driving skills. According to the report, Beard's safe driving helped to prevent a traffic accident.

"I try to be alert and on my Ps and Qs at all times," said Beard.

Upon learning of the positive feedback, Beard's supervisor, Potiphar Alexander, and CSU Director of Transportation and Environmental Safety Byron Harris, called a special session safety meeting to surprise Beard with the MBA certificate. The honor was also recognized by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services in their weekly electronic newsletter.

"Safety is one of our top priorities," said Harris. "We really wanted to show Mr. Beard and the other drivers that safety is a big deal and that people recognize when you do something right."

Beard, who has worked at CSU for a total of 18 years, is now a part-time driver at CSU, who typically shuttles students between main campus and RiverPark campus. He retired in 2014 but decided to return as a part-time driver just one year later, because he says enjoys the job.

"I enjoy working with the students and the communications we have. I especially like my shuttle routes, because I get to know my students," said Beard. "It is a pleasure working for Columbus State."