Iconik Transport partners Darin Stockham and Ryan Miller.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Iconik Transport takes one of the most unique approaches to chauffeured transportation. It has a fleet of Bentleys and hires chauffeurs with extensive military or law enforcement training.
Inspired by the film, “The Transporter,” co-owner Ryan Miller purposely recruited individuals of this background because he believes they make a different caliber of chauffeur. Being a former U.S. Marine himself, Miller has many friends in law enforcement and the military, and finds them the best fit for the job. “They drive with precision and in my opinion are the safest,” he says.
Iconik markets its chauffeurs as “Transporters” and referrals come to the position by word of mouth. The Transporters have Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) certifications and are experienced working with high-profile clients and integrating with their security teams. Miller says when he brings in chauffeurs of this level, it instills confidence in the operations of the company. “They are so on point and so trustworthy,” he says.
Iconik Transport has moved forward successfully since Miller and business partner Darin Stockham started the company in late 2013. The Bentley fleet has secured distinction among the local high-end clients of the Orange County “Gold Coast,” California, and the Transporters add to the elite professionalism of the service. Business has been growing and Miller hopes to get more farm-in work in the near future, as well as pursue brokering and managing opportunities worldwide.
A Good Match
Iconik Transport uses Bentley Flying Spurs, chosen to make an eye-catching impression among high-profile clients.
When Stockham first met Miller, he was mostly just investigating a good investment in the transportation industry. Stockham asked Miller how he felt they could best make an impression coming into the market, and what type of vehicle they should pick to make a statement. Miller’s reply was Bentleys, noting their sturdy build and elegant appearance. After that conversation and learning more about the industry, he wanted to come on to operations. “For me that was great and I realized he’s bringing so much more to the table than capital,” Miller says. “I needed a good operator to run this and he has definitely picked it right up. He’s running it meticulously.”
A Mercedes CLS55 AMG is also in the fleet, and used for clients that request a less-flashy vehicle than the Bentleys. Stockdale’s Transporter here is Jayden Godlock, a 12-year USMC veteran.
The avenue back to the limousine industry for Miller was not planned out. He left the business after a successful career at Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network managing corporate and entertainment sales, and then later starting his own limousine brokerage company, Heineken Miller. During the time off, Miller worked as a grip for film and television productions and felt relief in the scheduled nine-to-five that contrasted with the hectic order of night-and-day limousine operations. But after some time at the new gig, Miller started to feel the tug of the old industry pulling him back. “As time went on, I realized I cared too much for the relationships I had developed over time with all these clients,” he says.
Stockham worked for Marriott Hotels for 15 years, and managed the Palm Springs Convention Center before he began focusing on venture capital. Before Iconik, Stockham invested in restaurants, bars and hotels, and had a successful go at headhunting for large international companies such as Berkshire Hathaway and Turner Construction.
“He asked me every hard question in the book, and we had a great conversation,” Miller says of the meeting. “A lot of his friends were corporate planners and meeting company managers, and we felt that together we could create something fun and a little different.”
With Miller’s background in entertainment, Iconik Transport started out courting the celebrity and professional sports market, and the Bentleys became a hit. “But I told Darin from the outset, though, this isn’t going to be our only clientele,” he says. He knew that with his connections in the transportation industry, and Stockham’s in hospitality and travel, they could grow into an international brokerage for affiliates worldwide.
“Everything is falling into place,” Miller says. His clients have connected him with travel agents who book large music tours with some of the biggest artists out there in hip-hop, jazz, and rock-and-roll. “They’ve used me because of the relationship, and that I’m on every single detail. It’s working out beautifully,” Miller says.
His experience in being a one-point company has made Miller a valued asset among clients, and it’s the type of work he likes to focus on at Iconik. With Stockham eager to learn the operations side, but still new to the business, Miller enlisted Sally Theard to manage reservations. With her experience from previously working at Empire CLS, Theard is a valued member to the team and Miller says “we are very fortunate to have her.”
Ryan Miller and Transporter Scott DeFoe, who heads the security team Iconik uses for its Transporters. DeFoe is a former LAPD SWAT officer.
Miller started in the industry after working his way up through sales in luxury vehicle rentals, and then being introduced to Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El. Miller eventually became Dave El’s director of national corporate and entertainment sales, traveling coast-to-coast at least once a month to visit clients and manage business. “Scott was really a mentor,” says Miller of the early days. “He was the perfect example for me of a salesperson whose last questions are about business, and first are ‘how are you, how is your wife, how is your dad,’ — I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”
Class & Style Tips by Ryan Miller
1. Hire proven industry experts with innate personality traits that match your company culture. Five star people make a five star culture which will produce a five star service.
2. Each team member must know their customers’ service expectation and buying criteria. What is important to Roadshow customers and Entertainment customers is different than what individual customers want or expect.
3. Have a fleet to be proud of. One that looks well and performs well. It’s your public identity on display for your customer in the back seat.
4. Deploy your hospitality minded people and five star fleet into the field, trained and all knowing of their mission ahead. Whether it is one job or a board meeting, consistent precise planning and operating procedures are necessary for five star service.
5. Have a niche product in your offerings, one of superior value and quality than any in the marketplace you serve. We chose the Bentleys and Transporters, and created a niche based on knowing our customers.
Location: Newport Beach, Calif.
Year founded: 2013
Main service region: Greater Orange County and Southern California
Vehicle types: Bentley Flying Spur sedans, Mercedes sedan, SUVs-Cadillac Escalade’s
Fleet Size: 8
Annual Revenues: N/A
Owner: Ryan Miller and Darin Stockham
Information: (855) 565-3755