Motorcoach

2013 Innovative Operator: Windstar Lines

Posted on January 9, 2013 by Brittni Rubin, Assistant Editor

Jeff Greteman, president of Windstar Lines, comes from a family of transportation industry veterans and a long line of entrepreneurs. Growing up, his mother and father, Mike and Cathy Greteman, owned and operated a travel agency, which contracted outside motorcoach companies before acquiring its own fleet.

“They were never satisfied with the quality of area operators, so after two or three years of research, my folks decided to buy buses,” Greteman says. “After a while, that division was just flailing so my dad was either going to sell the buses or hire somebody to run them. That’s where I came on board.”

In 1997, when Greteman took control, the motorcoach division grew into its own charter and tour service, serving mainly churches, schools and other large groups. Greteman received his degree in transportation logistics and always aspired to work in the field. While his two brothers Scott and Pat were in college, they helped out until their jobs turned into full-time positions as well.

“The three of us really just grew the motorcoach company to what it is today,” Greteman says.

Seventeen years later, the company has 56 motorcoaches, 120 drivers and operates out of six major locations: Carroll, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Dubuque, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; and Rochelle, Ill.

The company has grown both organically and through acquisitions. Over the past 12 years, Windstar Lines purchased about 10 smaller motorcoach companies. Every year Greteman tries to modernize the fleet; customers are offered 20- to 56-passenger standard, deluxe, VIP and sleeper motorcoaches.

According to Greteman, having such industry-experienced family members has helped his team make all the right moves to stay competitive in the market.

“My mom is an expert in tour and travel — she’s been in the business for the last 30 years and was recently the chairman and CEO of the National Tour Association. My dad is in the insurance and real estate business and has a great deal of expertise applying his skills to our field,” Greteman says. “It’s nice that we have people to assist us when we’re making larger decisions; experts to bounce ideas off of.”

Customer service has been key for the company, which has numerous small- to mid-sized clients.

“We always believe that the customer is right, and we’re doing everything we can to provide top-notch service at a competitive price with modern equipment and safe, friendly drivers,” says Greteman. “We don’t have a big secret, it’s just a combination of little things we’re doing as well as we possibly can.”

Windstar Lines has also produced a detailed customer survey offered for clients to take after each ride.

“The surveys impact our business directly and we share everything with our staff members,” says Greteman. “They either get a pat on the back or find out what we need to improve on. We don’t want to make the same mistake twice.”

The company offers a new hire training program for all new drivers in addition to monthly safety meetings at each location. Windstar Lines has also recently installed Idrive, an accident event recorder, in each motorcoach, as well as a GPS system. The GPS has helped Windstar Lines reduce its idle time by 10% to 15% over the last four years, Greteman says.

“It has been a lot of fun and it’s definitely a challenge, but a rewarding one,” Greteman says. “Once it gets in your blood, it’s tough to get out of the bus business.”

Windstar Lines’ executive board continues to keep its eye on expansion. On the side, Greteman runs and owns a small trucking company purchased four years ago called Windstar Express. There are several other divisions within the Windstar brand.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

MCI delivers 5 J4500s to Miami's Travel By Bus!

The 2015 J4500 also comes with a variety of model improvements, including an independent ZF front suspension for tighter turning and an improved ride; and Bendix brakes that offer car-like control.

ABC delivers 17 Van Hools to Texas, New Orleans

Euless, Texas' Roadrunner Companies added eight TX45s, while New Orleans' Hotard Coaches added nine TX45s.

CH Bus delivers Temsa TS35 to Ky.

R&R‘s new coach is seated to 38 passengers and is utilized for a variety of groups such as corporate events, weddings and tours.

MTR Western deploys Lytx DriveCam safety program across entire fleet

The Lytx DriveCam Program helps prevent collisions, reduce injuries and save lives by combining video with predictive analytics, real-time driver feedback and coaching, empowering fleets to identify and correct driving behaviors that could lead to collisions.

IMG names STARR Bus Charter & Tours Operator of the Year

Each year, IMG shareholders recognize one of their own for this honor, based on a criterion of operational excellence, safety performance, best practices, community and motorcoach industry involvement, and engagement within the International Motorcoach Group.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close