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Hartley Hageness honored for 40 years of service

January 10, 2014
Pierce County Tribune

When the weather's as cold and nasty as it was much of last week, Hartley Hageness is busy making sure his Blue Bird school buses are getting where they need to be safely.

Hageness, owner of Hartley's School Buses in Rugby, got a break from the cold in November when he was honored by the Blue Bird Corporation in Clearwater, Fla., for his 40 years of service as a dealer.

"That was great," Hageness said. "All of the dealers from the U.S. and Canada were there and there's very few people that have been dealers that long because of changeover."

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
Hartley Hageness (center) is recognized in Clearwater, Fla., for his 40 years of service as a Blue Bird Corporation school bus dealer. Also pictured is Steve Girardin, president of Micro Bird Inc., (right), and Phil Horlock, president of Blue Bird.

Hageness credits luck with some of the success that has allowed him to thrive since 1973 when he got into the business after working in autobody repair for Gronvold's in Rugby.

Now he oversees Blue Bird sales for North Dakota and Montana, where he has offices in Helena and Kalispell.

"(Blue Bird) is recognized as the premiere bus builder, and for the most part, everything goes pretty well and they try to back us up," Hageness said. "There's only three companies that build buses anymore. Blue Bird has a good reputation."

Though based out of Rugby, Hartley's also has shops in Langdon and Walhalla. They operate busses there and in Cavalier and hire the drivers.

Hageness, 71, still enjoys his work and said he'd rather "wear out than rust out." He's not looking to rush retirement, but will likely spend more time at Lake Metigoshe with his wife Jordy when it comes.

Hageness grew up on a farm north of Pleasant Lake and graduated from Rugby High School in 1968.



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