Georgia’s Blue Bird bus company thriving, staying put in Peach State

Every so often, a long yellow train of school buses snakes its way through traffic on I-75 north. It’s a parade of new Blue Bird buses journeying to schools -- some right here in Georgia; others located far from the Peach State.

Blue Bird, the largest employer in Fort Valley, a town of 9,800 people in the peach-and-pecan country of central Georgia, is thriving on the kind of labor-intensive manufacturing that President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised to keep from moving out of the United States.

Trump recently publicly shamed Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp., into keeping about 800 jobs at its Indianapolis factory that it had planned to move to Mexico.

In contrast, Blue Bird has no plans to move. In fact, they’ve added a second shift at the Fort Valley plant.

“I think we’ve shown here we are in central Georgia with an efficient work force,” said Phil Horlock, Blue Bird’s chief executive. “It’s really a pretty competitive business. We don’t want to go offshore.”