Ten Thomas Built Buses employees spent the weekend of August 12-13 driving ten school buses, and a van for the return trip, from High Point, N.C., to Trenton, N.J., to ensure on-time delivery of a recent order.
“Third party driveaway companies are in high demand this time of year, and weren't available to deliver the school buses on-time, so we decided to do it ourselves,” said Ken Hedgecock, Thomas Built Buses vice president of sales, marketing and service, who was one of the drivers.
Cincinnati-based First Student, Inc., the largest provider of student transportation services in North America, ordered 101 Saf-T-Liner® C2 SCR-equipped Thomas Built buses for the new school year. In an extraordinary demonstration of the company's commitment to customer service, employees drove ten of the vehicles designated for school bus application only more than 500 miles to ensure the buses arrived before drivers were assigned this year's routes.
Hedgecock credits Thomas Built's sales logistics manager Sid Adams with coming up with the inventive delivery solution. Ray Fattore, director of vehicles and parts procurement for First Student, was so impressed by the offer that he, too, volunteered to drive one of the school buses in the caravan. In addition to Hedgecock and Adams, the Thomas Built drivers included Joe Craver, direct sales manager; Ronnie Cobb, government fleet service representative; Terry Darr, market analyst; Eddie Gregg, direct sales service representative; Ricky Myers, call center manager; Jed Routh, product planning manager; Jim Smolder, call center technician; and Ed Swain, Type C product manager. Each of the participants holds a current CDL.
“We sincerely appreciate Thomas Built Buses' commitment to quality and customer service,” said Linda Burtwistle, First Student president. “Their focus on personally transporting each school bus up the coast showcased a true partnership between our organizations and allowed us to begin training and practice runs well before school began.”
“It was an opportunity to show our commitment to our customers by pitching in while gaining some valuable first-hand experience with product performance,” said Hedgecock. “And it was a beautiful drive up I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley.”
The company conducted an unofficial fuel mileage test during the one-way trip, reporting that the new school buses averaged 9.05 miles per gallon.
About Thomas Built Buses
Founded in 1916, Thomas Built Buses is a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line, the company has been committed to delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America. Learn more at www.thomasbus.com or at http://www.facebook.com/thomasbuiltbuses.
Thomas Built Buses, Inc., headquartered in High Point, N.C., is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 4-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.