Collins’ bus manufacturing stayed at full production during the entire reconstruction of the facility, which lasted a year.
Coming back stronger
Tyler notes that storm-proofing an entire plant would be virtually impossible, but the company did take the “opportunity” of the microburst damage to rebuild its facility with up-to-date construction methods to make it a much stronger building.
Collins also upgraded its storm shelters across the plant and significantly improved its parts department’s ability to support customers.
The rebuilt office spaces include a new employee break room, training and conference spaces, and a lobby that houses Old #1, the first Collins small school bus, which was manufactured in 1967.
Currently, about 220 employees work in the Collins facility, which has a total of 265,000 square feet of production space.
The company’s three Type A brands — Collins Bus, Mid Bus and Corbeil — are all manufactured in the plant. It has the capacity to build about 4,000 buses per year.
Though the microburst wrought great damage on the Collins Bus Corp. facility, responding to it seems to have bolstered the company.
“I think all the employees take pride in the rebuilt facility, especially in the way that they pulled together to keep the buses moving through the production process in light of all the challenges after the storm,” Tyler says. “Our new entrance and signage is a huge visual reminder to everyone of the strength of our company.”