The first Blue Bird bus was made in Fort Valley for local school children over 86 years ago. Today, Blue Bird produces hundreds of buses that come down the lines of Fort Valley and out to school districts around the country and the world.
13WMAZ got an inside look on what goes into making a Blue Bird bus.
"Right now we're producing 40 buses a day. You think about it, that's every 14 minutes a school bus is going out the front door," said Mark Mattingly of Perry, an employee of 33 years.
It's a long process that includes melding a chassis, putting the engine in, and cutting holes for the tires.
The buses go through eight ovens before they are then painted that signature Blue Bird yellow.
While the process of making a bus is routine, the first memory of riding in one for long-time employees is not.
"Growing up, I did ride a Blue Bird school bus. It was actually driven by my aunt, so I was really watched when I was on the bus," said Julie Cawthon of Fort Valley, a Blue Bird employee for 35 years.
"I was in the 4th grade rode a Blue Bird bus, and I actually worked the stop arm for my bus driver," said Mattingly. "I sat on the left side of the bus driver and he had each kid a different week work the stop arm and I pulled the stop arm on and off."