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A-Z Bus Sales Expands Business Into West Texas with Acquisition

A-Z Bus Sales, the Blue Bird dealer in California and Hawaii, closed its acquisition of Blue Star Bus Sales based in Lubbock, Texas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John Landherr, president and CEO of A-Z Bus, told School Transportation News that the transition started immediately, with customer notifications ongoing.

“Blue Star, under the tremendous foresight and leadership of Wayne Dever, has spent 25 years building a reputation for excellence in West Texas. We are thrilled to combine forces with a company as strong as A-Z Bus that shares our culture and values,” said Carolyn Degenhart, co-founder and outgoing president of Blue Star in a statement. “John Landherr and his team understand the Texas market and will allow Blue Star to continue serving the Texas student transportation market with excellence.”

Landherr said Degenhart retired Tuesday upon completion of the sale to A-Z Bus. Degenhart and Dever formed Blue Star in 1997, when Blue Bird’s previous Texas dealership went out of business.

“Carolyn’s family had one of the largest school bus contractor businesses in the country and was no stranger to student transportation,” noted Landherr. “At the time, she and her husband owned the New Mexico dealership for Blue Bird. Wayne had been selling buses in West Texas for several years, so it made a lot of sense for Blue Bird to sign them up for West Texas. Carolyn and Wayne have done an outstanding job for Blue Bird ever since.”

Added Matt Stevenson, CEO and president of Blue Bird: “There is tremendous synergy between the two companies, and we fully support this transaction. We thank Carolyn for her 25 years of dedication as a Blue Bird dealer. A-Z Bus’s proven team and [electric vehicle] expertise will strongly complement the Blue Star name and reputation.”

The first three electric school buses are currently in operation at Everman Independent School District south of Dallas. But several school districts have commented to STN that they plan to use the Clean School Bus Program rebate funds this year to acquire their first electric buses.

Devers remains with the company as executive director of sales.

“In terms of growth in West Texas, we will represent Blue Bird in the same territory. However, we do see growth and acceleration of interest in electric-powered school buses where we have over five years of experience selling and supporting school districts. We do not anticipate any challenges, and all employees [will] stay with the company,” said Landherr, a native of Temple, Texas.

“I am super excited to come back home and assist Texas school districts,” he added.

Meanwhile, A-Z Bus’ Brandon Bluhm was appointed vice president of sales for Blue Star and will support Dever. Reporting to Bluhm is industry veteran Pete Tuckerman, who A-Z Bus also announced it hired as director of school bus sales. Tuckerman was previously the director of sales for the western U.S. for the Lion Electric Company.


Related: Blue Bird Announces Price Increases For All Model School Buses
Related: Blue Bird Announces Price Increases For All Model School Buses
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Related: A-Z Bus Sales Launches New Brand Identity

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