Portland Public Schools’ transportation director wins EPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Mallory, the Portland Public Schools’ transportation director, has won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in reducing pollution from the district’s school bus fleet and raising awareness about the benefits of greener school transportation. The award will be presented on June 26 in a ceremony in Boston.

More than a decade ago, Mallory began working to reduce exposure to school bus diesel emissions that can accumulate in and around idling buses and pose a significant health risk, especially to children.

“Kevin Mallory has been a leader in Maine and the country in addressing the problem of diesel emissions,” said Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. “His efforts have helped the Portland Public Schools create a healthier environment for our students and staff. The district’s bus fleet reflects our commitment to create a ‘green’ school district.”

In 2001, the Portland Public Schools was the first school district in Maine to establish and enforce a no-idling policy for school buses. The ban on idling was expanded to include private vehicles around school buildings. The district worked with the city of Portland to designate the city as a “Clean Air Zone” and to extend the reduced idling policies beyond the schools.

In 2004, the Portland Public Schools was one of the first districts in the country to retrofit its buses with pollution control equipment provided by the EPA.

Two years later, the district replaced three diesel buses with buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG) that were purchased with money from a Clean Cities grant. Since then, the district has replaced seven additional diesel buses with cleaner-burning CNG buses purchased with assistance from Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grants.

The Portland Public Schools has obtained DEP grants to buy three more CNG buses. That will make Portland’s CNG fleet the largest of any school district in New England. For the past five years, the district has used a blend of biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in its diesel buses.

The district’s initiatives to reduce pollution have received state and national honors, including the 2005 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and 2009 recognition from the national publication, “School Bus Fleet.”

Maine Clean Communities nominated Mallory for the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has worked in management positions in the transportation sector since 1973 and became the Portland Public Schools’ transportation director in 1996.

Mallory is one of three school bus directors in Maine to obtain Certified Director of Pupil Transportation status from the National Association of Pupil Transportation. He has served as president and treasurer of the Maine Association of Pupil Transportation, and currently is a board member at large of the association.