CALGARY, Alberta – Launching a new ground transportation company takes a lot of know-how, planning, plus courage and determination, so Judy McBride, president and co-owner of TransProtection Security Services, deserves a ton of praise for her achievements in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry.
Only four years old, TransProtection was one of three finalists at the recent Canadian Operator of the Year Awards held at the Toronto Hilton Hotel by the U.S.-based Limousine and Chauffeured Transportation magazine. The other two finalists are both large Toronto-area livery services that have been in the business for more than 20 years with well-tested business operations and reservation systems.
McBride got her first taste of the business on a contract as transportation coordinator for National Motor Coach Systems at the 2002 G-8 Summit held in Calgary and Kananaskis; RCMP were responsible for heads of state and National looked after all other participants.
McBride determined that Calgary could support another corporate transportation company and launched her firm to specialize in protective services – a niche she felt could be filled in the city.
The company augments traditional chauffeur service with a complete security package but is strictly a pre-booked commercial service – no retail work. She launched her business with co-owner David Goodbrand who had retired after a 30-year career with the RCMP. In his senior position with the VIP section providing personal security, he devised motorcade routes, bodyguard duties and site security plans to ensure safe and comfortable visits to Alberta.
The 40 drivers in their pool are all former law enforcement personnel trained with extra driving skills and knowledge of the city and area. They do route reconnaissance, understand the need for confidentiality, can think on their feet and have a sense of awareness critical for the safety and welfare of their charges. They have a pride in doing the best job they have been assigned to, which may include sweeps for listening devices prior to departure as well as consistently ensuring the selection of the most secure and efficient routes.
Key contacts have been event management companies that have hired McBride's drivers for celebrities such as Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Al Gore, Tony Blair and Reba McEntire, but the majority of need is to transport political and diplomatic dignitaries and high-profile senior executives.
Working with corporate security officers TransProtection is often asked to pick up executives at the airport and deliver them downtown with the high standard of service that clients have come to expect.
Murray Streight, who retired four years ago from the Calgary Police Service, is one of McBride's professional security drivers with the added task of helping educate Calgary corporations and event organizers on the advantages of relying on a team of professionals to handle security and safety.
A big plus is that payment is by final invoice – passengers have no worry about paying or tipping; everything is looked after. The vehicles they use are generally from the company's fleet of 10 sedans, SUVs, vans and a mini-coach.
Delivery was taken recently of a new Nashville-manufactured 24-seat executive coach complete with five televisions and state-of-art electronic capabilities, plus washroom and galley. It has already been used for a board meeting held en route to an out-of-town location.
Source: Calgary Herald