FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird Corp.’s school bus production and demand has substantially increased due to market share growth and greater industry demand over the past four years, company officials said on Tuesday.

Blue Bird reported that it has experienced growth in all vehicle segments, including alternative-fuel buses, led by the Propane Vision. Officials said that propane is the fastest growing alternative fuel in the school bus industry.

As a result, Blue Bird’s workforce is now over 1,600 employees — a 44% increase from 2010. Employees hail from more than 45 Georgia counties.

Also, company officials noted that employee retention is high, with an average employee tenure of 16 years.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently visited Blue Bird and toured the manufacturing line, meeting with employees and learning more about the company’s products and growth.

“Our manufacturing sector is booming, and it is because of companies like this one that our state can claim such success,” Deal said. “This Georgia-based business employs more than 1,600 citizens statewide and supports other local businesses and charities. I am thankful for its commitment to Georgia citizens, our communities and the economic vitality of our state.”

“Blue Bird’s impressive growth has had a tremendous impact on Peach County, Central Georgia and the state of Georgia,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “The company’s growth is a direct reflection of Blue Bird’s commitment to engineering and building industry-leading buses that our customers value. We are proud of Blue Bird’s sustained success and are committed to growing the company and providing more employment opportunities for the citizens of Georgia.”

Officials said that Blue Bird is the second-largest automotive manufacturer in Georgia and the largest manufacturing employer in Central Georgia. Blue Bird’s Fort Valley headquarters is the city’s and county’s largest employer. The company’s Fort Valley footprint includes two production facilities with more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing and fabrication space.

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