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Experienced Drivers Who Are Customer-Driven

2010

Southern Express was founded in 2010 by two local professionals with strong southern roots and a commitment to exceptional customer service. After working together for more than 12 years at a privately-owned motorcoach company, Bruce Bechard and Vance Hoover became dissatisfied with corporate policies that lacked consistency and client focus. They underwent six different buyouts during their last nine years and decided it was time for a change. Recognizing a need in the market, the duo partnered in a venture that would allow them to utilize their experience and industry contacts. General Manager Bruce and Operations Manager Vance created a motorcoach company dedicated to the client experience where decisions were made locally and giving back to the community was a priority. They focused on building a reputation of the highest caliber by hiring and training the best drivers and support staff. For several years, Southern Express continued to grow both in the number of employees and the size of its fleet.

2015

In 2015, Bruce’s health began to decline and just two short years later, the team said goodbye to a leader and a friend. Vance was faced with tough decisions and double the workload. He was noticing smaller motorcoach companies being sold to larger conglomerates all around him and did not want that to happen at Southern Express. So, Vance took the road less traveled, remembering the principles on which he and Bruce had founded the company. With a renewed focus on company training and education, Southern Express experienced moderate growth year over year with a climbing sales revenue.

2020

Then in March 2020, COVID-19 trickled into North Carolina, shutting the company down almost overnight. The effects of the global pandemic have been, and are still, devastating to the travel industry. Southern Express was forced to furlough its team for an entire year as absolutely nothing was moving in the motorcoach industry. In fact, approximately 40% of these companies nationwide closed their doors. Due to Vance’s strategic planning and his loyal team members, Southern Express did not lose any of its fleet and is now coming back online, slow but steady.

Present Day

Though it has been more than a decade since Southern Express made its debut trip, the legacy started by Bruce and Vance has only grown stronger. Vance still drives from time to time, engaging with groups and seeing the sites of this beautiful country. Not many motorcoach company owners can do what their drivers do but it is important to Vance to earn the respect of every one of his team members. Together they put in the long hours, exuding above board service and knowledgeable insight.

A lot of challenges still exist for the travel industry but Southern Express has positioned itself to be an innovative leader through its involvement in motorcoach associations and training programs as well as its commitment to its craft.

 

Training

Our drivers are our best asset. Courteous and polite, most of our drivers have retired from careers where they were customer-facing. They enjoy interacting with people and have a calling for this industry. We provide in-house training, drawing on our decades of experience, to our drivers - empowering them to be the faces of the company.

Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) now has guidelines for community colleges to follow which would educate drivers on getting their Commercial Driving License and working specifically for a motorcoach company. As current Vice President of the North Carolina Motorcoach Association (NCMA), Vance is looking forward to helping implement and support these guidelines that would ensure drivers have the most updated information on customer service and safety practices.

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