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Virginia Operation Hires Top Leader To Take Wider Road To Growth

Posted on July 13, 2011
Chauffeured transportation executive Barry Gross brings his operational experience to A. Goff Transportation in Virginia starting July 14.

Chauffeured transportation executive Barry Gross brings his operational experience to A. Goff Transportation in Virginia starting July 14.

Chauffeured transportation executive Barry Gross brings his operational experience to A. Goff Transportation in Virginia starting July 14.
Chauffeured transportation executive Barry Gross brings his operational experience to A. Goff Transportation in Virginia starting July 14.

A> Goff Transportation recruits industry veteran Barry Gross to lead the 50/50 chauffeured transportation/charter bus company on an aggressive, multi-year expansion arc.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Operator Dan Goff prefers to say he put himself out of a job so his company can grow stronger.

The day-to-day director of A. Goff Transportation, a 56-vehicle limousine and charter bus company based in central Virginia, “steps down and up” on Thursday to make way for a new executive director, Barry Gross, formerly with Execucar in Arizona and All Resort Group in Utah. While at All Resort, Gross was instrumental in growing annual revenues from $2.2 million to $14.4 million over six years.

New layer of leadership
Gross, 44, will lead the company while Goff and his wife, Ana Regina Goff, will continue to own and oversee the operation. “From an operating point of view, he’ll be at the top of the food chain and I will act along with my wife as board members and chairman, and still work in the business. Our business got bigger so it made sense to bring someone who’s worked bigger.”

Goff chose Gross for his diverse experience that spans operations, affiliate development, and executive transportation management since 2002. Gross most recently worked as chief strategy officer at 49-vehicle Grand Avenue Chauffeured Transportation in Nashville, Tenn., for three and a half months before accepting his new position.

“I was brought in as Chief Strategy Officer, and ultimately that strategy was not a good fit at Grand Avenue,” Gross told LCT. “In my brief tenure there, I believe I did good work; indeed many of the programs I instituted have become staples of their operation. Unfortunately, not every situation works out as hoped, despite one's best efforts. I am thrilled to now be working with my friend, Dan Goff, in an environment rife with opportunities.”  

New vision
Gross has been charged with expanding  A. Goff’s service reach throughout the mid-Atlantic region by developing a solid affiliate network and pursuing new market niches, such as DMCs, meetings and conventions business, ride shares, and line-runs. The company also will build on its more traditional corporate chauffeured transportation business.

“A. Goff now serves all of Virginia, parts of North Carolina, western Maryland, and has a toehold in the Washington, D.C., market, where we handle some overflow,” Gross told LCT. “We’d like to flesh out what we do in Virginia, pursue more line-runs and corporate transportation. In that regard, with my motorcoach background, we’re positioned to go after markets ripe with RFP potential for government, military, and private corporate business.”

In addition to Charlottesville, A. Goff has vehicles and/or facilities in the Virginia cities of Richmond, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Lexington, and most recently, Arlington, where A. Goff is partnered with D.C.-area operators willing to give it more business, Goff said. Among the company’s local brands are: Atlantic Limousine, Executive Limousine, Old Dominion Motor Coach, Starlight Express, and Van On The Go.

Gross will be working for at least the next six months out of company headquarters in Charlottesville, with periodic visits to the other regional sites. He may eventually choose to permanently locate in one of the other cities with A. Goff operations. “My role coming in is to develop operational infrastructure,” Gross said. “Once we do that we can develop sales outreach to help maximize that.”

Virginia operator Dan Goff steadily grew his operational reach across the mid-Atlantic region during a tough recession and now is ready to take his company to the next level.
Virginia operator Dan Goff steadily grew his operational reach across the mid-Atlantic region during a tough recession and now is ready to take his company to the next level.

Growth goals
A Goff now operates 56 vehicles, the second largest in Virginia, and has annual revenues just under $3 million. Among its fleet, there are 22 motorcoaches and 11 mini-bus/shuttles. It employs 13 full-time workers and 63 part-time workers. Goff said he and Gross want to grow the company long-term to annual revenues of $10 million. He described a three-step company goal timeline as follows:

  • 30 months: Double the size of the company
  • 60 months: Grow to $7 million in annual revenues.
  • 84 months: Reach $10 million in annual revenues.

Goff sees much of that growth coming from expanded bus line-runs, shared ride airport services, outbound/inbound affiliate services, van services, and more long-term motorcoach service contracts. The company, now split about evenly between chauffeured luxury transportation and charter/tour bus service, plans to emphasize growth in both areas, Goff said.

Strategies for success
A Goff Transportation this month marks the first anniversary of its first line-run between Charlottesville and Manhattan in New York City, a motorcoach service operating under the Starlight Express name that makes several round-trips per week. The line-run has been so successful that Goff is paying off its purchase amount two years early. Goff said Tuesday afternoon that he was literally going to head to the bank with a check to make the payment after getting off the phone with LCT.

Going forward, A. Goff will be “aggressive with its opportunities, but conservative in infrastructure,” as it proceeds to “grow organically,” Gross said. That means taking a measured approach to buying more vehicles, adding more employees, and potentially acquiring smaller operations, he added.

“We want to make sure the business is there before we increase capacity,” Gross said.  “We’d love to have several hundred vehicles, but right now the greatest challenge is to develop the operational capacity. Last year demonstrated that if you get caught holding too much equipment, it is amazing how the balance sheet turns down. A. Goff maintained a positive balance sheet through the worst of economic times that have driven many companies in this industry upside down in a hurry.”

Transportation experiences
Before working at Grand Avenue, Gross was a general manager at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ExecuCar from August 2008 to February 2010. While there, he developed an affiliate program for the now-325 vehicle operation.

From October 2002 to August 2008, Gross was director of operations at All Resort Group in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. The transportation company owns All Resort Limousine and Lewis Stages, an IMG motorcoach company. Gross worked among various divisions that ran a diverse mix of more than 100 fleet vehicles, including sedans, stretches, SUVs, motorcoaches, premium motorcoaches, mini-buses, shared-ride vans, and transit vehicles.

Prior to his transportation career, Gross worked in Los Angeles as a talent agent in the entertainment industry and as a district manager for a rental car company.

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Related Topics: Barry Gross, business expansion, charter and tour, Dan Goff, execu-car, executive changes, motorcoaches, new hires, Virginia operators

Comments ( 1 )
  •  | about 7 years ago

    Barry, Congratulations buddy I wish you all the best. Chris Hecker

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