Interview with Randy Henson conducted by Willard Watson in Randy’s cabin in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, for the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition "The Way We Worked."
Who are you and where were you born?
"My name is Randy Henson and I was born in Emporia, Virginia in October, 1962. My parents are from this area but moved up there to get a job teaching, they were both teachers. When they graduated Appalachian State they moved up to Emporia, stayed up there a year then we moved to Winston and then I was actually 18 when I finally made it back to Watauga County."
What did you do for a living?
"Well for 30 years I was a state employee. For the first 15 I worked at the DMV, basically as the school bus trainer for Avery, Ashe, and Watauga Counties. I did that from 1988 until 2002. Then the second 15 years starting in 2002 I was a state inspector for school buses and had a 33 county area. So there were 3 of us for the state and I had the western territory which basically ran from Mount Airy, down to Charlotte, to Murphy - that was the area I covered. I would inspect about 800 (buses) a year, 600 to 800 a year. Our goal was to inspect 10% of each fleet, I think there was like 5,000 buses in my territory. If I could get around 500 a year it kept my boss happy.
So the first 15 years when I was involved in the bus training I got to incidentally know all the school employees, I knew all the principals, all the teachers, all the lunch ladies, pretty much anybody who had to get a bus driver’s licenses and so that got me engrained with a lot of the local families because back then it was so many locals working the school system."
So you worked for the DMV, you worked with school buses for 30 years, how did you land on that?
"When I heard over the intercom, hey does anyone want to take a bus class? Well I just looked at it as a way to get out of class..."
Read the full transcript below.
Tags: BHS-work, BHS-Main-Street, BHS-Job-You-Had