Jim Bridgewater (left) and Barry Huebner have been working in the bus industry for over 35 years and have worked their way up from mechanics to vice president of sales and marketing, and president, respectively, of Midwest Transit Equipment.
Huebner and Bridgewater credit much of their success as a company to their dedication to service and support for their customers.
The company hosts a website called Midwest Transit University, which has the same online training that its technicians take. These are three-day classes that are held every summer in different states with in-depth training in electronics, brakes and engines. The classes are free and provide manufacturer-level training so professionals can learn about the technology as it develops and changes.
Huebner and Bridgewater explain that the top priorities for Midwest Transit Equipment are to provide safe, reliable equipment and to be honest in all of its dealings with customers. “We believe that safety is first and foremost,” Bridgewater says.
Huebner explains that they have great customers and that when the customers need something, the company and its employees will be there to help and support them. It’s this heavy investment in customer relations and support that has brought Midwest Transit Equipment to the top of the bus industry in the U.S.
Wide range of buses, parts, services
Midwest Transit started in the ’70s by serving 14 counties in Illinois and selling about 50 buses a year. The company started out in larger cities, and as the populations of those cities grew, so did the company’s reach.
In 1977, the company sold over 150 buses and kept growing each year after. Over the years, the company purchased other dealers as well. Today, Midwest Transit Equipment serves Illinois, Indiana, east Missouri and 13 southern counties in Michigan. While the corporate office is located in Kankakee, lll., other locations are in South Holland, Ill., Swansea, Ill., Whitestown, Ind., and Marshall, Mich.
Among the new and used school buses that the company supplies are Starcraft, IC Bus, Collins Bus and Mid Bus units. The buses offered range in size, price, brake type and fuel type to create a large inventory of many choices. In addition, the company has a $4 million parts inventory.
Midwest Transit’s locations have body shops, mechanical shops, air-conditioning installation shops and on-the-road parts sales and delivery. Huebner explains that these services are centered on the customer and the customer’s needs.
The corporate office and four other locations stock over 1,000 buses at any given time and employ over 200 people, many of whom, including Huebner and Bridgewater, work six days a week — a testament to their dedication to meeting their priorities and effectively serving their customers.