The Kouri family has been building refuse trucks since 1960. Ed Kouri started Bemars Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. after leaving Bowles Inc., building front loaders and roll off trucks until he sold his interest in the business to Maxon Industries in 1972.
Ed then moved up to the San Francisco bay area and started Able Body Company in 1976 with his son and apprentice Matthew Kouri. At Able Body, Ed continued the fine standard of manufacturing he had at Bemars, while refining and perfecting it throughout the 1970s.
They started designing and making drop frame side loaders and began building dedicated recycling trucks to accommodate the popular recycling movement of the early 1980s.
The Kouri family continued to see success during the 1980s, selling their refuse bodies in many states across the US. As Ed’s health started to decline during this period, his sons Matt and Tony started running more of the day-to-day operations. The automated side load technology was still young and hadn’t caught its true fire yet with many markets still running manual residential collection. Tony saw the potential in this emerging market and in 1989 took a welder to the back of the shop and spent a few days creating an automated arm concept to test and field. A test arm was retrofitted onto a modified drop frame side loader and Oakland Scavenger agreed to route test the new arm.
Upon Ed's retirement in 1992, Tony decided to move to Texas and opened up shop in Bridgeport. Operating as Bridgeport Truck Mfg Inc, Tony built his first front loaders for Portland Disposal Company and Silver State Disposal.
Ed moved to Texas with Tony and even with failing eyesight and declining health, Ed made sure he lived close to the production floor where you would often find him involved in the production and design of the trucks. Tony continued to refine his automated arm design and with Ed’s help, saw growth in their new market.Ed passed away in 1997 surrounded by family and friends. From the very beginning, he helped shape the face of the waste industry and some of his design innovations are still used on trucks made today.