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May 30, 2014  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Blue Bird rallies in Fort Valley, ramps up business

Four years after consolidating large bus assembly at its central Georgia headquarters, Blue Bird has boosted efficiency and production capacity, and business is on the upswing. The company’s total sales have increased about 40% from 2012 to 2014, and its propane school bus sales have multiplied.

by Thomas McMahon - Also by this author


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Jay Jones, Blue Bird’s corporate chaplain, provides a variety of services for staff members and their families, including voluntary chapel services, counseling and hospital visits.
<p>Jay Jones, Blue Bird’s corporate chaplain, provides a variety of services for staff members and their families, including voluntary chapel services, counseling and hospital visits.</p>

Blue Bird’s chaplain supports staff, families

Since its founding in 1927, Blue Bird has continually had a chaplain on staff. That’s in keeping with the company’s Christian principles that were instilled by founder Albert Luce and his family.

“The Luce family made a covenant: keep God at the center of the company,” says Jay Jones, who has served as Blue Bird’s corporate chaplain for the past eight years.

In a recent interview at Blue Bird’s Fort Valley headquarters — where a sign declares “God is our refuge and strength” (from Psalm 46:1) — Jones discussed how he ministers to employees and their families.

Every two weeks, Jones holds voluntary nondenominational chapel services for both the morning shift and the night shift. The services often cover topical issues, such as personal finances and substance abuse. Jones has brought in notable guest speakers, including Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Yankee baseball star Bobby Richardson.

Jones also organizes staff cookouts, leads volunteer efforts (such as with Ronald McDonald House), offers private counseling services and visits staff members and their family members in the hospital. If an employee has a death in the family, Blue Bird will send flowers, and Jones will likely be at the funeral.

“Whatever they need, we’re going to be there for them,” Jones said. “If you take care of the employees, then they’ll take care of the business.”


Take a 'virtual tour' of Blue Bird

To see more photos from Blue Bird’s Fort Valley facilities, click here.

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