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About Us

Vision & Mission

Nelsonís Bus Service is in the business of operating, selling, and servicing both school and commercial buses. In addition to service, sales, and parts, Nelsonís Bus Service provides safe and reliable transportation for more than 3,500 students daily to and from schools within the McFarland, Monona Grove, and Whitewater Unified School Districts.

Nelsonís strives to be the most complete provider of transportation products and services to our customers; to provide the safest, most efficient, and most reliable transportation to the students we serve; to achieve and maintain a dominant position in the school and commercial bus markets by continuing to provide our customers with safe, reliable and premium products; to be the leader in support after the sale, by striving to be the principal and most reliable provider of parts and services to the end user.

This can only be accomplished by being responsive, professional, personable and engaging in knowledgeable interactions with customers, and by providing quality products and services on time that meet or exceed our customerís expectations.

Stemming from our commitment to service our customer, Nelsonís will continue to be the premier family owned, family run business to work with.


Wendell and Dorothy Nelson started Nelsonís Bus Service in 1940. Wendell, or W.C. as everyone knew him, built his first bus at his service station in La Grange, Wisconsin. In addition to the bus business, Wendell was always very busy with the repair business. His philosophy was that it didnít matter how old a bus was, what mattered was how you took care of it. This allowed him to operate buses longer than most anyone else in the school bus business.

Together with Vern Behselich, their partner for many years, Wendell and Dorothy eventually went on to operate school buses and taxicabs as Lakeland Coach Lines. In 1961, Wendell and Dorothy purchased Vernís share of the business. Eventually, the Nelsonís purchased the other small bus operators in the area and became the sole operator of school buses in Whitewater. By 1970, it was apparent that a new school bus terminal and repair facility had to be built. There have been additions and expansions to those facilities since that time but we continue to operate out of the same facility today.

Bob, Howard, and Jack Nelson purchased the business from W.C. and Dorothy in the early 1970ís. In 1974, the Nelsonís business grew significantly and became a school bus dealer for Thomas Built Buses, Inc. Through Jackís efforts, Nelsonís acquired a fleet of motor coaches, which operated until 1996 when Jack passed away.

In 1997, Nelsonís Bus Service purchased the rights of Northland Equipmentís dealership agreements with Thomas Built Buses, thus expanding Nelsonís geographic area of responsibility with Thomas. This acquisition allowed Nelsonís to sell and service school and commercial buses, as well as distribute parts in the entire state of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Northern Illinois.

In addition to Thomas Built Buses, Nelsonís also acquired a full line dealership for Eldorado National, a leading commercial bus manufacturer. In addition to representing school and commercial bus manufacturers, Nelsonís also represents such companies as Cummins Engine Company, Caterpillar, Mercedes-Benz, Ricon Corporation, and the Braun Corporation, to name a few.

In 2005, Chris Arnett and David Nelson purchased the business from Robert and Howard Nelson. It wasnít long, before the newest owners took the company to yet another level.

In 2007, Nelsonís Bus Service expanded again, and marked the first time the company added an additional location. Nelsonís acquired longtime friend and contractor, RMA Bus Service and was approved as the new contractor for the McFarland School District. This expansion facilitated growth opportunity related to all facets of Nelsonís Bus Service. A terminal and repair facility was secured in Cottage Grove, WI to operate the McFarland transportation contract, as well service Nelsonís dealership customers in the surrounding area.

Both lifelong members of the school bus industry, the current owners hope to build on the solid foundation generations have created, but strive to take this business to a bold new level.