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Wynne Transportation owners Bedford Wynne Jr. and his mother and founder, Joan Wynne, see motorcoaches as their company’s fastest growing segment.
DALLAS and IRVING, Texas — Wynne Transportation occupies a former rental car counter building on a flat five-and-a-half acre lot. Throughout the day, a steady stream of commercial airliners fly overhead. Dust from nearby housing construction sites at times blows over, speckling the black vehicles and white buses. Parking lots, low office buildings, hotels and storage facilities are neighbors. You’re likely to see the occasional, iconic tumbleweed sweep in from nearby plains.
While many businesses would not consider it the choicest property, for a motorcoach and limousine company, the location couldn’t get any better. Wynne is the closest such company to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the fourth busiest in the world, and has immediate access to I-35, the region’s main north-south artery.
There’s plenty of room for all 69 fleet vehicles, offices, a fuel tank, a maintenance garage, tire storage, vehicle wash facilities, and about every function needed for a full-service, 24/7 ground transportation service. When you hear the term “in-house,” Wynne has it all. As its vice president and namesake, Bedford Shelmire Wynne, Jr. likes to say, transportation is all about logistics.
Finding the ideal location for a motorcoach and limousine company, however, was not a coincidence, nor just good luck. It resulted from the background and expertise of owner and founder, and Bedford’s mother, Joan Wynne, a regal, refined Texas dame who has parlayed an entrepreneurial career in commercial real estate into luxury ground transportation. When Mrs. Wynne approaches a dining room table, all seated gentlemen stand.
She knew exactly how to look for and acquire the location in 2009. It now supports a company that has flipped from 70% sedans and black vehicles versus 30% buses in 2008, to 70% motocoaches and buses versus 30% sedans and black vehicles, says CFO Phillip Capers, who joined Wynne Transportation in 2002. As anyone who has owned, run or managed a chauffeured transportation company in the last decade knows, such a “flip” is considered a sign of success as many limousine companies add motorcoaches.
Some of Wynne’s top accounts include a roster of Fortune 500 companies, elite five-star hotels and professional sports clients. Dallas ranks second in the U.S. for Fortune 500 company headquarters. From selling properties, to serving Fortune 500 companies, to running motorcoaches — the connections for Joan Wynne are literal.
A Dallas Story
The Wynne Transportation team is the closest working limousine and bus team to the nearby DFW Airport.
Joan Wynne entered the commercial real estate business in 1985, a field she notes is male dominated just like the limousine industry. “My dad told me I could be a schoolteacher or a nurse, like many parents did,” she recalls. “I said, ‘No, I want to do something that women aren’t expected to do, something in business that was more challenging and fun.’”
Joan Wynne worked for a real estate company for a few years, buying, selling and owning a mix of residential and commercial properties. Her husband, Bedford Wynne Sr., a prominent Dallas attorney and businessman who was once part owner of the Dallas Cowboys, died in 1989 at the age of 65, according to the Know Your Cowboys website. Wynne Sr. was present at the meeting in Miami in 1960 when NFL owners officially approved the Dallas club as a franchise. He held the position of director and secretary of the Cowboys. In 1967, he sold his minority stake in the Cowboys to help organize the expansion of the New Orleans Saints.
Joan Wynne started her own company in the early 1990s, where she also hit upon her future career. When clients wanted to look at office buildings for sale or lease, she would take them around in a six-passenger stretch limousine. “I’d put them in it and pick them up at the airport, slip in a video of the property we were looking at, and later drink champagne if the deal was solidified,” Joan Wynne recalls. “And if it wasn’t, I’d lock the door and keep them in there until it was,” she jokes.
Because she couldn’t park a stretch in her Highland Park neighborhood, she found a limousine service near the airport to park, clean and insure it for her. When she wasn’t using the stretch for real estate visits, the limousine company would use it as an overflow vehicle for weekend runs. Demand was enough that she earned about $1,500 per month after expenses on that one stretch.
The owner then asked for another, so Wynne bought a limousine company with 10 vehicles in Austin and Oklahoma City. She brought all the vehicles back to Dallas and hired someone to run it as a weekend service. Wynne drew affiliate work from Boston Coach, prompting her to buy more vehicles and hire chauffeurs.
“It got so overwhelming, I didn’t have time to do real estate anymore,” she says. “I asked my son to come help me, because I sometimes had 50 rides coming in per day. Somehow I did it, and it just grew from there.”
From 1995 on, the company evolved into a full-service chauffeured transportation service, and after 2008, expanded with a motorcoach division running 29 buses and counting. Joan Wynne also credits her growth to the company’s formal status as a woman-owned business. It was certified with the Women’s Business Council Southwest a few years after she started the company. The credential helped her get a long list of corporate Fortune 500 level contracts, and to this day she pursues new clients in that category.
Lots On The Lot
A fleet license plate collection lines the wall inside company headquarters.
The Wynne headquarters and facility has a maintenance garage and raised repair platform that can handle motorcoaches. It has a high-pressure chemical car wash bay and equipment, tire storage area, and a fuel tank that stores 10,000 gallons, divided between diesel and unleaded. One portion of the garage resembles a parts warehouse, with A/C pumps, airbags, light bulbs, brake discs, filters and marker lamps among the many components lining the shelves. Wynne is staffed with five mechanics, certified by MCI and Temsa.
“You must have a good preventative maintenance program,” Bedford Wynne says. “You change your belts, tires, fan motors more than the manufacturer recommends. You should also have one extra item of every mission critical piece of equipment on each bus, such as belts and fuses.”