Denver Operations Director Stresses Teamwork

Lexi Tucker
Posted on March 13, 2019

Erica Bugbee, director of operations for Prestige Worldwide Transportation

Erica Bugbee, director of operations for Prestige Worldwide Transportation

DENVER, Colo. — Work is work. It’s hard to say you look forward to eight-plus hours of making other people’s needs your priority. However, Erica Bugbee, director of operations for Prestige Worldwide Transportation, says the bonds of trust you build with coworkers and managers can not only help improve the service you provide, but create genuine friendships with those you work with to get the job done.

Client Education Leads To Sales

The foundation of Prestige Worldwide lies on helping clients understand what the company can do for them. “We don’t sell to our clients — we educate them,” Bugbee says. She’s learned taking the time to listen to what they need and then teaching them what the business offers will win more sales than standard quoting.

“For example, in the case of corporate events or wedding shuttles, we will give the client an idea of previous successful groups with similar scenarios, or the option of using multiple vehicle types,” Bugbee says. “There are times during these discussions we learn the client doesn’t need as big of a bus as they thought because a smaller shuttle could make multiple trips. I’m sure some people see this as down-selling ourselves; however, what we are really doing is building a long-term relationship with that client in which they trust us and our experience to find the best solution for them. A few hundred extra dollars isn’t worth it if the client never comes back and books future services.”

Bugbee says every person on the business’ executive team has industry experience that precedes their time at Prestige Worldwide. They’ve learned from past successes and mistakes, and are able to share those experiences with each other to come up with the best solution for every situation.

“I love working here because we make everything fun. We laugh at the silly mistakes after fixing them, our whole team has inside jokes, and we make anything we can an enjoyable experience.”

Getting Along

Jason Ramsey, owner of Prestige, treats Bugbee like she is also an owner and grants her full authority to make decisions as she sees fit for the business. In return, she treats the company as if it was her own and works hard to ensure its growth and success. The two constantly communicate.

Every morning at 7 a.m., they are on the phone debriefing anything that happened the day before and planning actions for that day. “We’ve recognized we each have very strong individual strengths that complement each other incredibly well. When faced with a new project or operational need, Jason and I will go over it and determine who would be better suited to take the lead.”

She believes they mesh well for two reasons: One, they like and respect each other, so they have fun while working. Two, they trust each other to make decisions always in the best interest of the company.

(l to r) Bugbee and Jason Ramsey, owner of Prestige

(l to r) Bugbee and Jason Ramsey, owner of Prestige

“If Jason didn’t trust me like he did, I would not be as effective in my position,” she says. She believes other owners in similar situations should find a person they can interact with closely and comfortably who they trust enough to act as if they owned the company.

“This freedom has granted me opportunities to close deals and make major decisions without having to wait for approval from someone higher-up. It’s increased our productivity and significantly increased our bottom line.”

Introduction To The Industry

When she first started out in the industry, she had no clue how much it encompassed. Bugbee came into the luxury ground transportation business with a different company on a whim when her kids were smaller. There was an afternoon dispatcher/CSR position open at a local company and she applied for it because she liked the schedule.

After getting the job and learning much in the first few months, she was soon promoted to the position of group and special event coordinator and then logistics manager the year after. In the Spring of 2018, she left her old company and went to work for Prestige.

Bugbee has an educational and professional background in marketing. In the past, she’s worked in small business marketing for local companies and voucher marketing operations. She loves the way the females in the luxury transportation industry build each other up.

“I’ve never been in any situation where I’ve seen women be so kind and supportive of each other. I would encourage more owners to integrate their female managers and staff into industry relations as well: Have them send the email blasts, introduce them to affiliates, encourage them to get on Facebook groups, and attend trade events that could grow their businesses even more because of how welcoming women in the industry are.”

Handling All Client Types

Prestige’s clientele is about 80% corporate and 20% retail. The company does a lot of group work for conferences. “I love groups, but I also loathe them. The organized chaos they bring is very intense, sort of like building a puzzle inside of a tornado while on a timer. But, at the end of the time, nothing beats the accomplished feeling you have when you made every last-minute request happen and everything goes smoothly for your client,” she explains.

A shot of the Prestige fleet.

A shot of the Prestige fleet.

However, she wouldn’t say she likes corporate more than retail, because retail is a lot of fun. These clients are more likely to be taking an interesting trip like to a wedding or a concert, so these kinds of services end up more personalized. “You feel like you know them on a personal level after creating something so special for them.”

Better Yourself

For operators new and seasoned, Bugbee recommends reading as the best form of self-improvement. Industry magazines, airport information blasts, reports from your state’s PUC, the FMCSA rules, other companies’ advertisements, the questions and answers you see in Facebook groups, and your local news all provide valuable information you can use to better yourself and your business. “Things like old manuals, past reservations, and proposed state legislation for our industry brought me up to a higher level.”

She’s learned many situations can be avoided if you know what’s going on. This can relate to compliance, traffic, weather—anything, really. This is where education comes back into play. Educate yourself and your staff so they can be prepared as well.

Recognize Your Successes, But Never Stop Moving Forward

Bugbee believes her biggest success is the relationships she’s built while working in this industry. “I have such a strong local and national affiliate base that I can trust them with any client without any worry whatsoever. I’ve also at times turned these relationships into opportunities for mentorship and asked for advice from those I’m close with across the globe on how they would handle a situation or how something works for them.”

(l to r) Phil Andryshak, Bugbee, and Ramsey

(l to r) Phil Andryshak, Bugbee, and Ramsey

In one recent move she handled, she navigated Denver City permits, used traffic control companies, farmed-out to multiple local bus companies, and closed a road in downtown Denver on the middle of a work day to load 600 passengers onto coach buses with assigned seating. It was a success, and they actually ended up being 25 minutes ahead of schedule.

The future holds big things, as owner Ramsey has partnered up with Phil Andryshak to create Prestige World Class Services. Prestige World Class Services will be the parent company of those the two already own together: Prestige Worldwide Transportation, Denver Executive Coach, and Uptown Limousine. These will remain three district brands, with one prestigious level of service.

They want to continue to build and grow their geographic market, as well as their client base. Between all three companies, they can provide any type of vehicle, from sedans to SUVs, Sprinters, executive buses, and stretch limousines, with brick and mortar offices in both Aurora and Colorado Springs.

Related Topics: building your clientele, business growth, business management, Colorado operators, customer service, industry education, Millennials

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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