Trailways has appointed Eva Hotard as their new president and CEO.
A search committee selected Hotard from more than 400 applicants. She succeeds Gale Ellsworth, who is retiring after nearly two decades in the position.
“Eva ran a very successful bus company. She has been in the business for many years; worked her way up through the ranks and has a wonderful reputation as a talented business leader," said Ron Moore, Trailways chairman and president of Burlington Trailways in West Burlington, Iowa. "She knows all of the trials and tribulations that independent bus companies go through. Eva clearly understands everything about the industry.”
Hotard has almost 40 years of experience in the transportation industry, beginning in 1977 with her family's business, Louisiana-based Hotard Coaches, Inc. Hotard was elected GM of Hotard Coaches in 1984 and served as President/CEO from 1993 to 2004.
Under her leadership, the business expanded from a three-vehicle operation to a fleet of more than 100 vehicles and became one of the largest travel service companies in the Gulf South, with offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and Washington, D.C.
These expansions included adding a destination management company for large themed events and meetings, a receptive tour operator, and 50% ownership in Gray Line of New Orleans, a sightseeing company. She also led company initiatives to develop a customer monitoring system, customized operating and fleet management software, convention sales systems, and a system for training hundreds of good drivers.
“Ms. Hotard is well respected in the motorcoach industry and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Trailways organization. She led a family motorcoach business based in New Orleans through a tremendous growth period. We chose her because of her extensive knowledge and experience in the industry,” said Jonathan Berzas, search committee chairman and president and CEO of Fullington Trailways.
In her new position, Hotard plans to work with stockholder companies to help with revenue management, operations, and driver management. She also anticipates implementing elements of an online, modular, computer-based learning program for drivers.
“The 80-year-old Trailways brand is very powerful. It’s a tremendous strength. So, building on the brand and leveraging resources are what I want to concentrate on,” Hotard said. “A strong brand helps everyone on the Trailways Team.”
Since 2005, Hotard has worked as a management consultant and executive coach. She was a founding member and first chairman of the International Motorcoach Group and served on the boards and committees for a number of organizations including the National Motorcoack Network, American Bus Association, and New Orleans Convention and Tourism Bureau.