CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Ashley and Rex Carriker are parents. They get it.
“That’s the number one concern with everyone returning back to school -- are my kids safe?” said Ashley Carriker.
Safety is the number one thing on these parents minds when they send their boy to school every day, especially during a pandemic.
The Carrikers own Queen City Engineering and Design, in Concord.
Since last March, they’ve turned operations at their engineering company upside down.
“The shields and the barriers we’re providing, it gives the parents another check off their list, like ‘okay, they’ve done this. They’ve thought about my child’,” said Ashley Carriker.
Their main focus now is creating clear barriers that can fit in cars, vans and buses.
“We started with public transportation right here in Mecklenburg County DSS,” said Rex Carriker.
Since then their company has created and fitted barriers in commercial vehicles, county buses, city buses, and even ride shares.
With schools heading back in person, now they’re ramping up school bus barriers.
The clear barriers don’t just protect the passengers, they protect the drivers, too.
They’re in talks with Thomas Built buses—the largest school bus manufacturer in the country.
“We started back in July working directly with them and their safety and engineering team. We’ve developed a product in hand with him,” said Rex Carriker. “The issue with school buses is safety is a very obviously the top priority you’re transporting children all over every day. So the safety standards are extremely stringent.”
That’s why their barriers are different. The barriers aren’t acrylic, which could shatter into dangerous shards during a potential crash. Instead, they use polycarbonate, made right here in the USA.
The material is tough and shatter resistant. Fun fact; it’s the same material commonly used for NASCAR windshields.
Providence Day School already uses Queen City Engineering and Design products.
As soon as the NCDOT gives their company the stamp of approval, they can start installing the barriers on public school buses, for districts interested.
“We’re doing what we’re supposed to do to make our staff feel comfortable and our children feel comfortable coming back to school,” said Ashley Carriker.