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A welder from LGE Coachworks solders a shell casing joint. All of LGE Coachworks’ vehicles are put through rigorous testing from Altoona, a specialty vehicle safety testing company, to make sure suspension, seats, engine, and wheels are all working properly. LGE also offers an extended warranty on interior parts.
Randy Galbreath, president of LGE Coachworks
, has gone through a structured evolution since first entering the limo industry.
When LGE Coachworks was looking to come out with a new design, Galbreath and partner David Sacco decided to focus on building party buses that can be used for both luxury limousine-style transportation as well as five-star business executive class.
The creative engineering team at LGE has always tried to challenge itself, and going into the company’s seventh year, Galbreath says he’s most excited about a new interior design that LGE is debuting next year. “There’s a new luxury style that is becoming popular, that has more of a living room feel,” he says.
The new bus designs create an inviting atmosphere with bucket seats, couches, and a booth dinette with two people on either side of the table. It has a mix of limo-style bench-seating with forward-facing seats and a table up front. “It was a build I came up with and it really came out of a result of me and my team having done this [bus manufacturing] for a while, and wanting to do something new,” Galbreath says. “I got to the point where I wanted to make something that I would want to ride in, and we’ve seen a whole market embrace this type of vehicle, so we’re excited to keep going with it.”
Regulatory items have been standard in LGE Coachworks buses for a few years, with emergency escape windows, escape hatch, and exit doors all complying with DOT regulations so operators can put the vehicles to work upon delivery.
The company offers four options for interior bus design built on a range of chassis sizes for varying passenger capacities. The options include the new luxury/business combo design; the full party bus design with bench seating, dancing poles, and LED light lasers; a limo bus with subdued lighting; and the forward-facing shuttle. LGE Coachworks has set a goal for 2016 to manufacture 100 buses, and Galbreath feels confident the team will hit that target thanks to the new design, new facility, a talented staff, and a growing demand.
Being flexible and adjusting to changing demands helps the company succeed, Galbreath says. “It’s a big thing to change with the times, and that’s evident in our new luxury coach design. It’s not all about the party bus anymore. You’ve got the Baby Boomer crowd that wants to go to concerts, games, or nights out, and they want to be in something comfortable.”
Method of Production
At LGE Coachworks, bus building is locked down to a science, Galbreath says. The company has an exclusive partnership with Forest River, a nearby manufacturer of recreational RV chassis and shells. LGE receives full units and then installs the interiors with custom, self-built parts. Galbreath works closely with his business partner and chief of engineering David Sacco to work out the designs. The two complement each other well in the pre-production phase, he says.
LGE Coachworks is noted for its unique interior design with custom lighting and upgraded audio systems and LED lights. The input between TV/DVD is split from the music input, so guests can operate each individually.
“I come up with a lot of the ideas, but it has to be able to be physically built, and David brings me back down a little bit on some designs. But I trust him because he’s an extremely talented crafter, so we’ll battle over some of the details, but then we’ll compromise and get the build done.”
LGE does not sub contract out any production for interior parts. Everything is built in-house. Sacco wields two CNC machines, one for metal and one for acrylic and foam, and all upholstery is done in-house as well. The team has moved into a new facility in Erie, Pa., a 15,000 sq. ft. building with seven vehicle bays and a crew of 23 employees. The production increase Galbreath credits to the growing skill level and efficiency of his employees. “Four years ago, we were only building two buses a month, but now we’re up to seven. Last year, we doubled the size of our facility, and we use every inch of our space. We are very efficient.”