Brandon Billingsley, who brought innovative products to the school bus market through Heavy Duty Bus Parts and UltraLED, died unexpectedly early Tuesday morning.

A preliminary report showed that Billingsley, 42, suffered a heart attack.

Billingsley was president of Heavy Duty Bus Parts and UltraLED. Through both companies, he was credited with introducing inventive components for school buses.

Billingsley was a strong advocate of the use of LED lighting to enhance safety and efficiency. Most recently, UltraLED launched an LED upgrade for school bus warning lights, which is designed to be a quick and easy way to upgrade from halogen bulbs. UltraLED had previously introduced a school bus stop-arm LED upgrade that uses the same concept.

Another of Billingsley’s forward-thinking developments was I-Skin, an integrally bonded polyurethane seat foam that is still in development. Billingsley said in 2011 that the I-Skin foam offers greater protection against vandalism and fire and that it maintains its integrally bonded skin and inner foam structure.

Branden Smeltzer, general manager of Heavy Duty Bus Parts and UltraLED, said that Billingsley and his family have a long history of supporting industry groups like the National Association for Pupil Transportation and the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation. The Billingsley family has been involved in the school bus industry for more than 40 years, beginning with Billingsley Parts and Equipment, which was founded by Brandon Billingsley’s grandfather, L.B. Billingsley.

Smeltzer said that Brandon Billingsley’s dedication to safe pupil transportation guided his leadership of Heavy Duty Bus Parts and UltraLED.

“We should all appreciate Brandon’s core values in every business decision he made, which were focused on student safety first, no matter what the cost,” Smeltzer said.

Billingsley is survived by his wife and two children.

Smeltzer said that outside of work, Billingsley had “strong values as a human, a husband and father of two wonderful and impressive children. Brandon is the guy that will look you straight in your face, shake on a deal, and that would be that.”

To read an SBF profile of Billingsley from 2011, go here.

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