COLTON, Calif. — Jack Parsons, a pioneer in the California school bus industry, will retire this month after 59 years in the industry, A-Z Bus Sales CEO George Tillery announced.
Parsons joined Crown Coach Corp. in 1951 as a heavy-duty mechanic, and by 1957 was a foreman for the company. He joined the sales department in 1960 and represented Crown Coach until they closed in 1991.
Parsons then joined A-Z Bus Sales as a special project advisor. In this capacity, he became known as the "Alternative Fuel Guru" because of his ability to route CNG buses from Georgia to California and because he was a certified engine expert.
Many innovations and changes to school transportation came about because of Parsons' curiosity, A-Z Bus Sales officials said. These changes include 10-inch brake drums, removal of rear and side door chains in favor of door buzzers, changing the ramp curb specifications on all highways in California, and modifications with school bus mirrors.
Parsons helped shape the school bus industry in California and the rest of the country by thinking, experimenting and studying what was and asking what could be, according to A-Z Bus Sales.
A-Z is a distributor for Blue Bird, Collins, Glaval, Elkhart Coach and other manufacturers. The company sells parts; is a provider of CNG, propane and electric-powered buses; and is a certified provider of exhaust aftertreatment for lower emissions.