Ramblin Express' Holland Drives Industry Forward

Posted on February 14, 2011 by Nicole Schlosser, Associate Editor - Also by this author

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[IMAGE]MET2Operator-ToddHolland-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Motorcoach Council founder

Holland has provided a significant contribution to the transportation industry's big picture by co-founding the Motorcoach Council in 2008 and bringing other operators on board.

Holland played an integral role in recruiting many of the organization's founding partners and raising the initial seed money to develop the campaign, says Heather Horton, executive director, Motorcoach Council. For three and a half years, Holland served as the founding president and chairman of the Council, formerly known as The Green Operators. "Holland was instrumental in the launch of this start-up...and took a personal interest in its initial success," Horton says.

Holland always found extra time to promote the Council's "Get Motorcoachified" campaign, encouraging involvement from motorcoach operators, suppliers, vendors and associate partners while running his own company, Horton adds. "Holland has a contagious spirit for the vitality of the industry and an unwavering enthusiasm for the Council's mission. He is an innovator and known for his forward thinking."

UMA's Parra  says Holland's leadership on the Council and pushing the "Get Motorcoachified" campaign were crucial to getting the program off the ground. "Todd comes across quiet, unassuming, but in meetings he really brought synergy," Parra says. "Everybody has their own ideas about what the industry should do. Todd was so effective in managing that process. We've had a lot of fits and starts with industry campaigns. This didn't come off the ground until Todd took the reigns and became chairman of the council."

Steve Klika, IMG's president, agrees. "He's had to rally an industry that has been pretty focused internally and bring a lot of parties to the table, from vendors to associations to trade groups as well as individual members," he says. "He invests a lot of his own personal time and energy and works to get consensus and groups to come together."

Holland currently serves the Motorcoach Council as an ex-officio member of the board, lending insight to the Council's new Chairman, Brian Annett of Sebring, Fla.-based Annett Bus Lines. Holland continues to participate in several Council committees, attends all Council events and supports campaign initiatives in place, as well as those in development, according to Horton.

Holland foresees the Council having long-term benefits for the industry. "I feel very strongly that we need to be able to look to 10 years from now and say, 'How do we want this industry to be viewed by the public?' There isn't a real concerted effort - it's fragmented at best - to put our industry on the map in a positive way. The Motorcoach Council has all kinds of challenges for it regarding funding and participation, but it's gaining traction," Holland says.

Agent of change

At one time, Holland's employees joked that his middle name was "change." He concurs, viewing the label as a positive. "I'm not afraid to question everything on a daily basis, to change systems, formats, programs, for the better. If you're not evolving, then you get stuck...because what definitely worked for us five years ago [may not] work today."

Klika attributes what he calls Holland's unique perspective on the motorcoach industry to not having years of experience in a family business. "He tends to look at things with more of an entrepreneurial spirit," Klika says.

Starting as a young gun in the industry also worked to his advantage, Holland believes. "I have a fresh set of eyes on things, [and am] a little more seasoned now," he says, "but I'm still excited about the industry."

Part of what spurs Holland's quest for change is his constant search for the most up-to-date knowledge and technology. Holland is very active in a 20 Group, run by Spader Business Management, with 14 to 20 other IMG operators working in non-competing markets, who meet a few times a year. With the help of a mediator, the carriers provide each other with feedback, share best practices, financial and statistical data, and discuss trends. "It's been one of the smartest things I've done, because I've been able to associate with a number of companies that are larger and smarter than me in many areas," Holland explains. "I've been able to learn from that and, hopefully, share things that others have learned."

Applying what he learned from the group enabled Holland to implement a major undertaking that changed his operation for the better. In September 2009, Ramblin completely changed its driver compensation program, based on modeling the best parts of the programs of three or four other companies. "It's allowed us to become much more competitive by moving away from hourly pay and into a percentage pay and flat rate program," Holland says. "It has benefits both for the company and the driver." 


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