Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2005

Same name, different owner

October 6, 2005

There's a common misconception about Judy Durham she hears even from people who've never met her.

As transportation manager of Durham School Services in Lansing, it is common for people to assume she is either the owner of, or related to the owner of, the company. That she shares a name with her employer is just a coincidence, she says.

"I've had parents call up and say, 'You own the company; why don't you do this?'" she says.

"High school friends will call and say, 'I heard you bought a company," Durham says with a smile.

The eponymous founders of the company, Jerry and Patricia Durham, in fact sold the company to National Express Corp., which has busing and train services throughout the western and midwestern United States, as well as Ukraine and England.

Durham has worked at DSS since 1989, when she started as a bus driver. Six years ago she became manager. She is responsible for getting 547 Lansing children, and 105 Wyandotte County special education students to school. As stressful a mission as that sounds - she recently had to reroute five of the nine Lansing routes because of road construction - Durham says she enjoys her job.

One aspect she enjoys is driving when she fills in for one of her drivers.

Her favorite part about the job? "The people," she says.

"We get all kinds of personalities. Altogether, we have 58 employees here," she said.

The next year holds some changes for Durham. In June, she and Piper resident Steven Bettis plan to marry.

Name: Judy Durham

Address: 104 Rock Creek Commercial Court

Graduate of: Lansing High School

Family: Steven Bettis, fiance; daughter, Valerie; sons, Jeremy and Lacey

How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Since I was 5. My dad was in the military and we ended up staying here.

What do you like most about Lansing? Community atmosphere. I went to school with a lot of business people, coaches and teachers here.

What do you do for fun? I garden, read books, go bowling and have fun with my kids and grandchildren.

What would surprise people about you? That I like canning vegetables from our garden. It's my hobby.

What the best advice you've received? Not to gripe or complain about a problem. Look for answers to the problem. Focus on the answers.

What organizations or clubs do you belong to? None right now. I am moving now, and after I settle, I am looking forward to getting involved in my church.

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