Fleet Services building named for beloved bus mechanic
Ken Watts | 9/10/2013, 7:47 p.m.
The building on Mountain Industrial Boulevard where mechanics maintain the buses that transport thousands of DeKalb students to and from school now bears the name of a beloved employee.
Family, co-workers and school leaders dedicated the Gregory K. Davis Fleet Services building on Sept. 9 in a special ceremony before a crowd that included Davis’ three grown daughters.
“He sometimes joked with us that one day his name would be on the side of a building,” 28-year-old Teonne Franks fondly recalled about her late father. “It came true. I just wish he were here to see it.”
“Words can’t express what this means to us,” said Ivory Davis, 27. “Dad would be humbled but also proud of what the county has done for him.”
Davis, a 51-year-old bus mechanic who worked for the school system for nearly 13 years, collapsed and died June 3 while waiting to speak at a school board budget hearing.
Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond quickly requested that the board approve the memorial in Davis’ honor.
“In recent years, Davis rose to become a key voice for all service employees,” Thurmond said at the dedication. “And in this effort he gave his life on June 3, 2013, as he sought to inform the district about funding priorities for support services at a budget hearing.”
Davis was much admired by co-workers and administrators alike for his devotion to his fellow employees.
Davis was concerned that the district layed off four mechanics because of budget constraints. In April he complained to the board that the staff shortage was causing a backlog of repair work and disrupting the school bus transportation schedule for thousands of students.
Davis arranged a meeting between Thurmond and the remaining mechanics to discuss the situation. In May, Thurmond and his team discovered a $27-million surplus for the fiscal year 2014 budget and the superintendent said he wanted to hire four new mechanics.
“He was an outstanding gentleman, a dedicated and beloved employee of the district,” Thurmond said after Davis’ tragic death.
When it came time to unveil the building’s new facade at the dedication, a cover didn’t fully release on cue and a worker in a cherry picker truck had to go up and pull it away. But on this brilliant, sunny day no one seemed to mind and the crowd cheered and applauded when the name “Gregory K. Davis Fleet Services Building” was fully revealed.