Breathe, don’t let things become bigger than they are.
Jean Souliere, Chief Executive Officer of BusPatrol and Entrepreneur is on a mission to bring safety to our communities and awareness to all residents across the country. After many years of working in the high-tech industry for companies such as NetSuite and Oracle, Jean decided to strike out on his own. He opened a high-tech business in transportation logistics. In an effort to expand his business he began to research other avenues for expansion. He discovered an opportunity when his research turned up evidence of neglect in transportation safety in our country’s’ school bus systems.
Everyday children face risks as they travel to and from school, due to distracted motorists and negligent driving behavior around school buses. In a one-day survey, the NASDPTS recorded over 80,000 stop-arm violations across North America.
Mr. Jean Souliere made it his goal to educate the public on these dangers and the consequences when drivers do not heed the extended school bus stop-arm. He was determined to protect school children from drivers illegally passing school buses. He established BusPatrol to accomplish the task.
BusPatrol embarked on their mission to develop the leading stop-arm enforcement program and turn school buses into smart buses by installing leading-edge, artificial intelligence-enabled devices. This A.I. technology is designed to identify drivers committing stop-arm violations. He partners with school districts, municipalities, and the police forces to enable school districts to have the revenue to provide access to this technology.
Where did the idea for BusPatrol come from?
I own a transportation logistics company and I was searching for a variety of technologies that would make that business grow. I came across some school bus cameras, telematics and smart bus technology. I became aware of the problem of drivers illegally passing school buses. After conducting research on the issue, it proved to be a problem of epidemic proportions. It also became evident very quickly that this situation had not been addressed due to the lack of finances in school budgets. This is was driving the lack of technology innovations school buses. I saw an opportunity to resolve those issues and began to find solutions.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical varies daily. I travel 3-4 times a week across America and Canada. We are educating people about the dangers that our children face daily. It could be how drivers approach buses responsibly or how children behave on the inside of the bus. We provide a tool to assist with bullying. We also educate them on what kind of technologies can be made available to them.
How do you bring ideas to life?
New ideas are brought to life when you listen. When you listen to people who are sharing problems, it gives rise to bringing new solutions. What do people think to get the outcome they are looking for? If you keep an open mind and listen and ask the right question to what people are saying you can truly innovate.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is artificial intelligence and our ability to capture and contextualize data to better understand how human beings interact with their environment. We are strong advocates of Vision Zero. It is a pledge that cities have taken around the world to make our roads death-free zones by 2025. It is a huge enabler for smart city technologies. Being able to be involved in that space, at this time, is unbelievably exciting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The one habit that makes me most productive is my flexibility and willingness to adapt. I am not the kind of person that has to be the source of every idea or every process. I prefer for it to occur organically so that you get the best quality innovation. The more people that contribute through their experience and expertise, the better the organization.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell younger Jean Souliere to be patient and breathe. Don’t let things become bigger than they are. Many things could have gone smoother with some pause. I think pause and steadiness today allows me to have the support from the people who I work with. I work very hard to be the rock. I do what I say I will do. I have an amazing group of people. They know that they can rely on me when.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
What BusPatrol is doing is collecting evidence. The evidence is being processed in conjunction with law enforcement and shared with the courts. As we implement the technologies, there is a lot of technical issues that revolve around securing the chain of evidence. We also must respect the privacy of individuals. The data has to contain safety and security encryption. The technologies of today have evolved. The shared security of Cloud technology is much more secure than someone’s server in their homes. When speaking with potential users, we have to eliminate the fear that the specific protocols for securing the chain of evidence are in fact secure. We focus on the human processes that interact with it. That is where the problems would be.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I take a very detailed approach to everything that I do. I listen and collect information from all my sources. When I don’t know something, I admit to it. I seek to find someone who does. From there we make decisions, based on data and experience. If we make the wrong decision it is not the end of the world. If that happens, we simply pivot to get the best possible result.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The most effective way to educate the public is through our pilot programs. We can show people data and stop-arm violation evidence from other pilot programs. However, if we can equip ten buses for a few months and gather video data from their local area, they can see proof-positive images that the problem exists in their own community. It helps these people understand how pervasive the stop-arm problem truly is. The images are worth a million. We show them how leading-edge technology can resolve their issue.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Initially, there were a lot of technical failures around data management and transferring data. I got on the bus and physically touched the technology. I just rolled up my sleeves kept my head down and dealt with one problem at the time.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would really like someone to invent the machine that turned Captain America into that guy. I travel so much if I could just get into a machine that everything was done it would be great! I would buy that!!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best hundred dollars that I spent and will spend repeatedly is when I meet my fiancé for lunch in Toronto. We go to a place called Shabrowl, on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. We belly-up to the bar. I get to disconnect from everything. We get to share what must be the best Quiche in the world.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I rely on NetSuite for all our office needs. It really consolidates everything in one place. They have a great e-commerce platform connected through cloud-based services and has customized dashboards. It is a centralized database.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
What is your favorite quote?
There is no love, just proofs of love. Whatever love I might feel in my heart; others will see only in my actions. By Pierre Reverdy
● Breathe, don’t let things become bigger than they are.
● I just rolled up my sleeves and dealt with one problem at the time.
● Taking pause and steadiness win the day
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.