Operations

Houston Operator Breaks Into Big Bus Market

Posted on November 17, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

ABOUT PHOTO: GHL of Houston recently added its first MCI motorcoach to its fleet.

SUMMARY: GHL Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation joins the MCI family with the purchase of a fully outfitted J4500 coach.

SCHAUMBURG, IL — Houston-based GHL, a family owned chauffeured transportation company that started with a single used limousine in the early 1990s, recently purchased its first MCI J4500 model to serve its expanding corporate convention and event business.

“We’ve been going to bus shows for years and we zeroed in on MCI because aerodynamically there’s no coach that’s quite like it and it’s really pleasing to the eye, and it’s an extraordinarily well-built coach,” said Kimberly McLea, president of GHL WORLDWIDE CHAUFFEURED TRANSPORTATION, created from the 2001 merger of Greater Houston Limousine and the McLea family’s original company, Royal Coach Limousines. The company’s 45- vehicle, limousine and van fleet did include one previous coach, a competitor’s model that’s being retired.

As America’s best-selling coach, GHL’s new MCI J4500 is a fully appointed demo that includes a top-of-the-line interior with wireless and Blaupunkt video and stereo system. It also features a Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine and an Allison B500 6-speed automatic transmission with prognostics capability.

Kimberly McLea and her husband, Brett, come from a family of entrepreneurs, although Brett was in sales for a flooring company and Kimberly was at home raising their four children when Brett decided to start driving a limousine part-time to bring in more income. “Our first limo was an older model — we were happy with the extra income and we’d use it for weekend airport transport and weddings,” Kimberly McLea said. “But right around 1990, Brett realized that he really liked driving and we started talking about doing it full-time.” Royal Coach Limousines was formed.

Kimberly ran the office while Brett drove and expanded vehicle operations. After their decision to buy GHL — “we did it because we needed to get bigger,” Kimberly explained — the new combined company faced an immediate chill in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “We’re at our best when times are tough, aren’t we? It forced us to be better thinkers.”

Today, the children are joining the business. Daughter Ashley, 25, is now handling customer service for all the company’s operations. “She’s exceptional. She has a business degree and we’re hoping to groom her to keep this company going another generation."

ABOUT MCI: MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., is the largest manufacturer of intercity highway coaches for the tour, charter, line-haul, scheduled service, commuter transit and conversion markets in the U.S. and Canada. The company also operates seven sales centers and eight service centers in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, MCI is the industry's leading supplier of aftermarket parts for most makes and models.

Source: MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES

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