John Benish, Jr.
President and Chief Operating Officer
John Benish, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer, has more than 25 years’ experience in the school transportation business. He started in the business as a teenager and has worked nearly every position in the family school bus business.
A Purdue University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Management from St. Xavier University, he leads the second generation of the Benish family in running the company. Overseeing all operations, he works with customers and the management team to ensure that customers’ needs are met.
He also pioneered Cook-Illinois Corporation’s ground-breaking moves toward greener transportation. Under his leadership, the company was the first in Illinois to voluntarily switch an entire bus fleet to bio diesel fuel. He also created the Clean Air Bus, the first-ever clean air mobile museum for children. The Clean Air Bus is now used as a hands-on learning tool for all serviced by Cook-Illinois Corporation. Always encouraging the company to be environmentally conscious, John made sure Cook-Illinois was first in line to purchase the first hybrid school bus in the State of Illinois as soon as they became available.
John is the past treasurer for the Illinois Student Transportation Association (ISTA), on the Board of the National Student Transportation Association (NSTA,) an active member of the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the Illinois Association of Pupil Transportation (IAPT) and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO). He also serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Xavier University.
A licensed Illinois school bus driver, he can still be spotted driving a school bus to keep in touch with the drivers and students.