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May 27, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Large Bus Showcase 2010

Here, we spotlight three exemplary school bus dealerships. Read about their interesting histories, their commitment to the customer and their insights on the 2010 engine technology. Look for details on the latest Type C and D models in the June print issue.

by Thomas McMahon - Also by this author

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The Bryson headquarters in Centerville houses the parts, service and sales departments and serves Utah, Nevada and Idaho.

Blue Bird Corp.

Dealer Spotlight: Bryson Sales & Service

Centerville, Utah

Fittingly, it was a Blue Bird customer who launched Bryson Sales & Service Inc. back in 1969.

That year, the existing Blue Bird dealership for Utah and Nevada became available for purchase. Glenn Bryson was director of transportation for the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah.

Bryson had been a loyal Blue Bird customer since 1957, when he bought the first Blue Bird All American school bus in the state. After 33 years of serving the school district, and after thorough consideration, Bryson decided to purchase the dealership.

So Bryson Sales & Service was founded, and Glenn’s son Lynn and grandson Greg Bryson came to work nights and weekends at the new family business. Initially, the dealership was operated out of a basement office and the garage in Glenn’s backyard.

Great growth

Bryson Sales & Service has grown significantly over the years. Beyond Utah and Nevada, it also now covers Idaho and Washington state.

The headquarters is now in Centerville, Utah, in a sizable facility that houses the parts, service and sales departments and serves Utah, Nevada and Idaho. The Washington facility is now in Everett, north of Seattle.

The dealership prides itself on maintaining high standards of honesty and integrity, and it has received numerous accolades.

Glenn Bryson was inducted into the Blue Bird All American Hall of Fame in 1975. Ten years later, in what is said to be the only second-generation induction in the history of Blue Bird, Glenn’s sons Lynn and Brent were also named to the Hall of Fame.

Most recently, Bryson Sales & Service was named Blue Bird’s Dealer of the Year for 2009.

Dealing with difficulties

Along with all of the success, Bryson Sales & Service has met its share of difficulty.

In August 2004, Brent Bryson, who was serving as president and CEO, unexpectedly passed away. The loss of his knowledge, experience and rapport in the school bus industry left a void that couldn’t easily be filled.

After Brent’s death, his ownership was purchased from his estate by Greg Bryson and Rick Barton (husband of Greg’s sister).

Greg, like Brent and Glenn before him, is an avid mechanic, but he had no previous managerial experience. As he stepped up to the role of president and CEO, he was initiated immediately in the duties of running a company. And he rose to the challenge.

Since Greg’s inception as leader, Bryson Sales & Service has undergone extensive growth and expansion in physical facilities, customer base and personnel. All the while, Greg says he remains committed to the original mission of his grandfather: “Take care of the customers, and everything else works out.”

Still, these are hard times for most customers.

“Right now, what I see is a lot of underfunded transportation departments trying to come up with any way to stay operating,” Greg Bryson says. “Most districts are in a survival mode. They are falling short on staffing, money and buses, with no relief in sight.”

Yet Bryson remains optimistic. “As Americans, we may be down for now, but we will come back,” he says. 

Clean solution

Blue Bird buses are using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet the EPA’s 2010 emissions standards. Bryson says that in addition to having already been used successfully in Europe, SCR provides some key benefits.

“The advantage is the SCR is producing the heat outside or away from the engine,” Bryson says. “This allows the engine and its related components to run cooler, and this extends the lifecycle, including oils and coolants.”


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