January 2014

LaFrance, local transit agencies forge partnerships, reap benefits

by Joe Brinkmeyer

LaFrance has supported Athens Area Transit by providing upholstery for the seat insert replacement program and new bus purchases.

LaFrance has supported Athens Area Transit by providing upholstery for the seat insert replacement program and new bus purchases.
Because of the sluggish economy, transit properties and suppliers are bound to form more meaningful partnerships. A lack of job stability in the transit bus industry, as well as the textile industry that services the transit market, is a key reason three transit properties and their seat fabric supplier forged a bond that has proven to be mutually beneficial to all participants.

As the only U.S. producer of transit seating fabric, LaFrance Industries, located in LaFrance, S.C., made an effort to reach out to neighboring transit agencies.

A special relationship with Clemson Area Transit’s (CAT) Al Babinicz, president/CEO, and Keith Moody, transit supervisor, began through a chance meeting at BusCon in Chicago five years ago, according to Danny Grant, VP, LaFrance.

The bond was a natural occurrence because many of LaFrance’s employees ride CAT, with its plant and the agency’s operations center only five miles apart, Grant explains.

Babinicz, Moody, Grant and Joe Brinkmeyer, sales executive for LaFrance, make it a point to meet at each of the major bus shows throughout the year, according to Brinkmeyer.

Babinicz appreciates the support of the LaFrance employees and the products and services they offer.

“LaFrance is a world-class company with quality products and a sales staff that are reliable leaders, creators and thinkers that work hard to save CAT money and time,” he says.

The CAT and LaFrance partnership has worked to improve the community they share by making public transportation both more accessible and enjoyable to the employees of LaFrance, the students of Clemson University and residents of the community.


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