I'll admit it: I am proud to be a Thomas Built Buses fan. And it's not just because I work here either. Over the years, I've had the privilege of watching Thomas Built Buses grow and innovate. I've seen innovation in our plants, innovation on our buses, and unimaginable growth among the employees that challenge and teach me every day.
Believe it or not, many employees at Thomas Built Buses have been with the company for over twenty years, and still many more are second and third generation employees at Thomas Built Buses.
Our very own Ken Hedgecock, V.P. Sales, Marketing and Service at Thomas Built Buses, has been with the company since 1987, and he follows in his father's footsteps. His father worked for Thomas Built Buses for over 40 years! Passionate and hardworking employees like him teach me the rich heritage of Thomas Built Buses and what it means to truly care about your work and your community. In this day and age, I realize this is an extraordinary gift.
But at Thomas Built Buses, it isn't about clocking in and out. It's about showing up to work every day ready to make a difference, being excited about the work that you are doing, and being devoted to delivering the very best product that you can – because it means something. And even in the community, our staff knows the importance of giving back. I'm continually amazed at the impact that can be made when so many employees band together for the good of the community.
Beyond our employees, I am also so very proud of what Thomas Built Buses stands for as a company. We are innovators in the industry. We look at the needs of our customers and our industry; needs that are both known and unknown to them. And so Thomas Built Buses brought many firsts to the school bus industry since our inception in 1916: Outward facing doors, SmartPlex® wiring, steel frames and extended roof bows are just a few on a long list. And it's not innovation for the sake of being a leader, but innovations that make a difference for transporting students everywhere. We care about the products we build and create every day, and know that the needs of our customers and our industry are always changing. We walk in the door every day striving to be better for our customers.
This year at NAPT, we looked back 100 years, but we also looked toward the future and announced a number of new innovations for our school buses. Some of these features will begin production in 2016 while others may be a few more years in the making. Regardless, I am so thrilled that we are on the cutting edge of safety and innovation, and I cannot wait to see what the next 100 years brings.