To borrow a metaphor from Jeff Shanker, he’s a man that wears many different hats. Before his days at A-1 Limousine of Princeton, N.J., Jeff spent time as a police officer for The College of New Jersey and then as the chief EMT for Ewing Township, N.J. This public safety background made him a good fit when he started at A-1 in 2002 as the director of safety and insurance — a hat he still wears with that of executive vice president.
Jeff also serves as secretary and treasurer for the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association, secretary and legislative chair for the Limousine Associations of New Jersey, as well as the liaison between the two groups.
When Jeff and I sat down to talk at his office, I got a clear sense that his public safety experience plays a big part in the work he does with A-1. It’s an especially valuable asset when planning large group movements, which often require an understanding of traffic flow and a knack for logistics.
Last year A-1 was selected by the Department of Catholic Schools and The Diocese of Trenton to manage transportation for a Eucharistic Congress, an event meant to reinvigorate faith within the Catholic community. The project required moving 7,200 students throughout Central Jersey in a single day. Jeff supervised the project, which took months of planning, involved 165 vehicles and required the creation of transportation plan for the Diocese’s approval.
It was a huge logistical undertaking, even more so when considering that when you’re dealing with children, there’s zero room for error. Careful consideration and multiple checkpoints were required to ensure the safe pickup of students at each school, delivery to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., pickup after the event, and return back to the home school. “Safety was the primary objective of the day,” Jeff says.
Jeff continues to serve as a volunteer EMT and president for East Windsor Township Rescue Squad District 1. And his current position with A-1 actually brings his career full circle: In the 1980s Jeff ran his own four-vehicle limo company that he unfortunately lost to a house fire.
As for A-1, the company will mark 50 years of business next year and is family-owned. Michael Starr, his wife, Marilyn, and their son, Jeffrey, lay claim to a 240-vehicle operation and their garage is a certified GM warranty facility.
— Denis Wilson, LCT East Coast Editor
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