Ten years ago, the Matthews family, with their two young children, moved from Albany, N.Y. to Orlando, Fla. to manage the all-new Thomas Built Buses Dealership for Central and North Florida.

They quickly had to learn the market and develop a business plan that best suited the needs of Florida school district customers. With over 9,000 uncompleted recalls, there was a dealer problem that needed to be solved. Lori Matthews created a strategy using mobile service vehicles with qualified technicians, armed with a plan to complete all those recalls and provide excellent customer support. With a passion for providing great customer service, they embarked upon a challenging task of doing things right for Florida customers with not much revenue at the time to support it.

They eventually developed a new winning culture at the dealership. In doing so, they noticed that Florida districts lacked real, honest technical training. Therefore, they decided to move Ali Rampartab, who was hired as the service manager, to a different seat on the bus, as the full-time dedicated trainer and technical support adviser. They also hired two amazing women to run their service department: Donna Matura, who manages the road techs, and Norma Delung, who runs the shop. The moves have worked well for them and their great customers. They made the financial commitment to grow the road service program as needed. They relocated out of an old leased building and purchased a new state-of-the-art facility now recognized as one of the best school bus sales, service, parts facilities in the nation.

At first many schools were skeptical of the mobile service business model, but they soon realized the benefits and cost savings of not having to shuttle buses back and forth to the dealership for repairs – not to mention having an extra qualified tech at their facility. In April of 2017, the business known as Matthews Buses Florida, Rifled Air Conditioning Systems and Matthews Buses Commercial under the corporate umbrella of Matthews Bus Alliance, Inc., became solely owned by Glenn Matthews. This marked the return of Lori Matthews to the dealership since her absence from 2013. With the Matthews family back working together at the dealership, the energy and fun is back in the building. When you ‘choose Matthews’, you get a whole entire team of customer driven bus dedicated professionals who love what they do.

The commitment to the mobile service program is evident in the 15 vehicles their techs operate. Team Matthews is constantly adapting and gearing up to meet the needs of its customers. If you haven’t experienced their “local everywhere” service, you really don’t know Matthews.

Now with the new Detroit Diesel DD5 engine available as an option on the Thomas C2, Matthews is gearing up to provide exceptional warranty, parts, service and training support on site the Matthews way. The fuel and service mileage advantages of this diesel motor alone warrants a closer look. Daimler fully expects this motor to follow the success of its heavy duty DD15 predecessor by dominating the medium duty bus market. As part of Matthews’ platinum support certification commitment, they continue to reinvest in the dealership, employees, community and customers.

Over the past year and a half since breaking out on their own, the Matthews family has reinvested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the dealership and Rifled Air Conditioning to improve the overall customer experience. When visiting the dealership and RAC, there is no questioning the commitment made to Florida school bus customers.

As Team Matthews embarks upon the next decade, as a family, they do so with confidence in their unique ability to adapt based upon its commitment to Florida bus customers and amazing employees. Lori and Glenn wish to thank all their great Florida Customers for choosing over the past 10 years and beyond.