Operations

Young Entrepreneurs Combine Limo Services

Martin Romjue
Posted on September 17, 2014
Phoenix operator Misgana Kebede, who recently sold his limousine company, is heading home to Ethiopia to resume his career as an entrepreneur. His company, Accent Transportation, is known for its use of the latest technology.
Phoenix operator Misgana Kebede, who recently sold his limousine company, is heading home to Ethiopia to resume his career as an entrepreneur. His company, Accent Transportation, is known for its use of the latest technology.

Phoenix operator Misgana Kebede, who recently sold his limousine company, is heading home to Ethiopia to resume his career as an entrepreneur. His company, Accent Transportation, is known for its use of the latest technology.

Phoenix operator Misgana Kebede, who recently sold his limousine company, is heading home to Ethiopia to resume his career as an entrepreneur. His company, Accent Transportation, is known for its use of the latest technology.
Phoenix operator Misgana Kebede, who recently sold his limousine company, is heading home to Ethiopia to resume his career as an entrepreneur. His company, Accent Transportation, is known for its use of the latest technology.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Misgana Kebede, owner and operator of Accent Transportation in Phoenix, recently sold his business to Billy Jinks of JET Limousines so he could return to his native Ethiopia to start new business ventures.

The deal closed on Sept. 7 between the two friendly competitors and local affiliates. The companies, which eventually will operate under the name of Accent Transportation, run 23 chauffeured vehicles.

For Kebede, the sale enables him and his wife and two young children to move to Addis Ababa, the capital of the east African nation of Ethiopia, from which Kebede emigrated in 1999. A February 2012 profile in LCT Magazine details Kebede’s success as an immigrant entrepreneur in the U.S., who cut his teeth working at Walt Disney World, Starwood Hotels and Honeywell International before starting Accent Transportation in 2008. Kebede adopted the latest cutting edge technologies and gadgets for his fleet.

After he returns to Addis Ababa later this month, Kebede will open up a gelato store and bakery and begin development of an extended-stay hotel with his wife, Bilen, who specializes in information technology.

“I’ve been in the U.S. for 15 years, and Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa,” Kebede told LCT. “I just want to get back and be part of the action. My wife will continue to work on the technology side of things.”

2009: Now 25, Billy Jinks started in the limousine business as a teen-ager. His company, JET Limousines of Phoenix, just bought Accent Transportation.
2009: Now 25, Billy Jinks started in the limousine business as a teen-ager. His company, JET Limousines of Phoenix, just bought Accent Transportation.
 
When Kebede got ready to sell, he reached out to Jinks, 25, who started his first limousine company in 2005 at age 16 with one vehicle bought by his parents. He grew his business, which later became Lexani Limousines, to the point where he was a millionaire by age 19. KVAL.com 2009 video report here

“I reached out to Billy because I felt like it would be good mix since he is strong in buses and Sprinter type of work,” Kebede said.

For Jinks, who was running 12 vehicles as owner of JET Limousines, the sale nearly doubles his fleet. JET is his second go-around in the limousine industry, after he sold off Lexani in 2011 to Ryan’s Express following the recession. Jinks worked as an operations manager for two years at Ryan’s and another coach company before starting JET Limousines in January 2013.

“During my first year I was building up my own business, and we were both both on the board of the Arizona Limousine Association, where we became good friends,” Jinks told LCT. “[Misgana] called me this summer, and asked to go have coffee. He said he was moving back home and thought of me first in creating a good synergy and scope for our businesses.”

JET Limousines does about 70% corporate work and 30% retail, focusing on local DMCs, smaller hotels and local affiliate work. “Accent was really strong in affiliate networks and offering client in other cities,” Jinks said. JET Limousines is moving into Accent’s mostly indoor facility, equipped with 13 cameras accessible via smartphones and tablets, located less than one mile from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The deal closed on Sept. 7 between the two friendly competitors and local affiliates. The companies, which eventually will operate under the name of Accent Transportation, run 23 chauffeured vehicles.

The 23 vehicle-fleet includes one Lincoln Town Car Executive L sedan, 2014 Cadillac XTS sedans, Mercedes-Benz S550 sedans, two Cadillac Escalades, one Lincoln Navigator L, a Chevrolet Van Express, an 11-passenger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van, a Krystal Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine, a Chrysler 300 stretch limousine, a Dodge Charger stretch limousine, a Hummer H2 stretch, two 22-passenger Krystal mini-buses, two Grech Motors 38-passenger GM-40 buses, and a DaVinci Coachworks-modified Temsa TS-35 limo bus with perimeter seating.

Jinks plans to buy two motorcoaches next month in anticipation of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz.

The combined companies have five office staff members, two vehicle detailers and about 25-30 chauffeurs. JET and Accent will operate under separate names and websites during a transition period until JET will become a division of Accent, Jinks said. “Accent been very strong in advertising and with its website, so it will be the dominant name.”

Related Topics: Arizona operators, business deals, business expansion, entrepreneurship, mergers & acquisitions, Misgana Kebede

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