The Blue Bird Corporation, originally known as the Blue Bird Body Company, has its corporate headquarters and main manufacturing facility in Fort Valley where it was founded more than 85 years ago.
In addition to school and activity buses, the company has also manufactured transit buses, motorhomes, and specialty vehicles such as mobile libraries, bloodmobiles and mobile police command centers
The company now known around the world was founded in 1927 when a friend asked Albert L. Luce Sr. for a bus to transport his workers. This request gave Luce the opportunity to create the first Blue Bird school bus and spearheaded the beginning of a highly successful corporation. The words "Fort Valley, Ga., USA" have been taken to every corner of the world by the familiar yellow buses with the stylized bird above their windows.
The Luce family played a major role in the history of Fort Valley as Albert Luce's three sons, George, Buddy and Joe, took over Blue Bird and guided it to its position of prominence. Devout and active Methodists, the Luce's treated their employees like family members, offering regular worship services at the plant for those who wanted to participate. When none of their children expressed an interest in continuing to operate the company, the Luce brothers sold the company to an investment firm. It has since been sold and reorganized several times. It now a subsidiary of the Traxis Group, part of Cerberus Capital Management.
Blue Bird offers a complete line of Type A, C and D school buses in a variety of options and configurations. For more than 85 years, Blue Bird Corporation has continued to set industry standards with its innovative design and manufacturing capabilities. Additionally, Blue Bird provides comprehensive financial solutions through Blue Bird Capital Services.
Today, Blue Bird has more than 1,200 employees, Georgia-based manufacturing facilities and an extensive network of dealers and service-parts facilities throughout North America. Its global presence can be seen in more than 60 countries through sales into Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit the Blue Bird Corporation web site at www.blue-bird.com
Building on the success of its school bus line, Blue Bird expanded its vision. More than 40 years ago, the company set its sights on the motor coach market and created a product that delivered luxury travel at its best. The first Blue Bird Wanderlodge motor coach was built in Fort Valley in 1963 and was built in Fort Valley until the line was sold to a California company in 2009.
Interestingly, Blue Bird engineers helped develop the color known today as school bus yellow.