Operations

Pennsylvania Operation Grows Into Showcase Building

Lexi Tucker
Posted on September 4, 2019

The big, beautiful headquarters has plenty of space for employees to move around in. (All photos courtesy of Sterling Limousine)

The big, beautiful headquarters has plenty of space for employees to move around in. (All photos courtesy of Sterling Limousine)

NEWTOWN, Pa. — Johnny Donohoe, president of Sterling Limousine & Transportation Services, knew it was time to expand into a building that could properly contain his growing workforce.

Although almost in the exact same location, he has built a new headquarters from scratch to give his staff and chauffeurs a place where they could feel at home. He bought the five-acre parcel seven years ago and has transformed it into a facility suited to the business.

Employees Come First

Creating a new headquarters from the ground up was a challenge and took a little under two years. Donohoe says there were many times he second guessed himself, but now that he gets to see the results, it’s been worth it tenfold.

The chauffeur lounge is furnished sparing no expense.

The chauffeur lounge is furnished sparing no expense.

“We always wanted to put something together that would be here forever as a part of our legacy,” Donohoe says. Naturally, to have a legacy you must have a group of people to carry it on. That’s why he invested in a chauffeur lounge that has become the hit of the building.

Chauffeurs can access it 24/7. It’s filled with vending machines, a big screen TV with cable so they can watch a ball game while their vehicle is being cleaned or maintained, and a full-size arcade game that has started to spur friendly competition.

An arcade game has spurred lots of friendly competition.

An arcade game has spurred lots of friendly competition.

“We have a private employee-only Facebook group and we’ve seen a lot of playful bantering about it. It’s worked 10 times better than I could have ever imagined.”

Donohoe has gotten ample feedback from an appreciative staff. His goal was to dedicate a large portion of the building to them and spared no expense. “We didn’t just go to a thrift shop and buy whatever was cheapest; we went the extra mile and got quality furniture. It’s one thing to say you care, it’s another to actually show it.”

  When you’re growing fast, there are telltale signs you may need to expand. Before the new headquarters was built, Donohoe says at one point employees had to share work stations, which they were less than ecstatic about. “I completely understood it was time to upgrade. When you don’t have a place to call ‘home,’ it can irk some people. This now gives me the ability to continue to expand and hire more people,” he explains.

Staff can stay up to date on the latest industry news with copies of LCT.

Staff can stay up to date on the latest industry news with copies of LCT.

He has since added another reservations agent, two more dispatchers, and promoted John DeMarcello to safety and operations manager.

DeMarcello first joined Sterling in January 2017 as a weekend operations manager, where he welcomed the opportunity to use his knowledge and experience in a leadership capacity, emphasizing clear and concise communication and attention to detail. With the new office, he is even more motivated to lead a team with a wealth of industry experience.

He will focus on reinforcing infrastructure to handle expected growth during the next couple of years. “The safety of our employees and customers is paramount, and this is achieved through ongoing trainings with our management team and staff,” he says.

Staying Central

 

Dispatch has enough room to keep watch comfortably.

Dispatch has enough room to keep watch comfortably.

Donohoe didn’t want to move from the area because of its central location. They are about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia International Airport, 20 minutes from Trenton-Mercer Airport, an hour and 10 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, and an hour and a half from New York City. “We wanted to be positioned in a way that would allow us access all of these areas in a relatively short time.”

This allows him to position chauffeurs strategically throughout the tristate area. The company permits chauffeurs to take vehicles home with them. “They aren’t always coming from home base. We stage people all around so we can accommodate just about anything.”

Everyone has their own workspace to get the job done right.

Everyone has their own workspace to get the job done right.

This is efficient and helps reduce hours of work and driving time. “For example, you might have someone who lives in Center City. If we didn’t allow him to take the vehicle home, he's going to have to drive an hour up to the office to get the car and then drive another 45 minutes back down to the city to do a 10-minute transfer. At the end of the day, when he drops off in the city, he’s got to drive back to the office to drop off our vehicle and go back home. It just doesn’t make sense. It's really helped with morale, because now the drivers get to spend more time at home.”

The Next Step

(L to R) Johnny Donohoe with LCT contributing writer Tom Holden of Bus Advisors

(L to R) Johnny Donohoe with LCT contributing writer Tom Holden of Bus Advisors

With business booming and ample growth happening, Donohoe says the next step is getting into the motorcoach industry. The company is talking with some of the coach manufacturers and trying to decide which works best for them.

Related Topics: customer service, employee benefits, employee management, employee perks, employee retention, eNews Exclusive, facilities, Lexi Tucker, new buildings, Pennsylvania operators, staff management

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