By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Nov 29, 2006 at 5:20 AM

Milwaukee’s budding filmmakers were given the chance by the Southeast Wisconsin Transit Partners -- comprising the Milwaukee, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha county bus systems -- to create a short video celebrating the benefits of riding the bus for its “Get On Board” video contest.

Glendale’s Mark Lauwasser, a teacher in the Fox Point School District, was named the winner, but he says that it was really a team effort between himself and his son Scot, a senior at Nicolet High School.

“We planned it out together and did it together,” Mark says. “He was the guiding force.”

The Lauwassers’ video involved the old cliché: Time flies when you’re having fun.

“We had a couple of other ideas that I didn’t like as much,” Scot says. “To go with the saying, I thought it’d be cool to make background go really fast and people regular speed. I followed pointers on Web page (the “Get On Board” Web site) and had a person listening to music, a person reading, person enjoying themself waving to the cameras.”

But Mark says that they never expected to win the contest, but they were thrilled because they put a lot of work into it.

“When we turned it in, it was like ‘we did it’ and then when we found out we were in the top five,” he says. “It was like ‘oh my gosh.’ The other five, some were really good and looked specially done in studios and so we were very surprised and flattered.”

And he says that the best part of the contest was the grand prize: a new laptop.

“(Scot) is going to college in the fall, now we won’t have to buy him a computer,” Mark says.

Second place went to Milwaukeean Eric Ham whose video portrayed the evolution of man in terms of transportation.

“I always thought of the bus as the next generation of travel in terms of efficiency,” Ham says. “I came up with the idea of comparing the caveman to a (passenger) and the wheel to the bus.”

He says that he’s a big proponent of using public transportation since he’s from Milwaukee and he found that this contest provided a great experience.

“I thought entries I was competing against were well done,” Ham says. “I was worried to be honest. I think that generally it was a really good experience.”

Ham got a camcorder as part of his prize package.

But of course, both winners got free bus rides, the Lauwassers got a year’s worth free and Ham received six months.

Mark says that the bus rides will definitely been used during festival season.

Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.