Name: Anthony W. Griffith WSO-CSSD
Company: A. W. Griffith Transportation Consulting
City, State: White Lake, NY
Years in the Industry: 40+
How did you first get involved in the industry?
I first became interested in the industry by talking to some of the bus drivers that used to bring me home from high school. At the time, it looked like it was really cool to drive something so big. Operating a bus was introduced to me as a positive thing with good potential. I actively started looking for a bus driving job. My first job was with Hudson General driving buses around JFK LaGuardia airports and then my career took off driving for every motorcoach company that would let me and finally ending up working for MTA.
Who has inspired your career?
Some of these bus operators like Willie James, Stephen Schwartz, Craig Williamson and a few others gave me the opportunity at a very young age not only to learn the skill of driving but to learn the rules and regulations and how to do it correctly. It was my first introduction to what a mentor was. Later in my career I was introduced to other individuals who are respected in this industry like, Carmen Daecher, Norm Littler, Clyde Hart, ABA’s own Peter Pantuso, Ken Presley to name a few. These individuals and many others created more than a positive influence for me, they pushed me to be the best that I possibly could within the industry and on a personal level.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
One of the greatest challenges has been operating buses and motorcoaches primarily in New York City and with different opportunities many different states in the country safely for 40 years. And every day it has been a challenge just not to be involved in any type of incident. One of my greatest opportunities was given to me when I was finally allowed to compete in driving competitions. For many years I was told that I was not good enough at what I did every day. However the individuals that I named above and many other people saw fit to allow me to compete. This gave me the opportunity to become one of the best of the country, and my job now is to pass that on as a mentor.
What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?
The first thing I always tell new operators is that what you are about to do is not a job, it’s a skill. If you look at it as a skill, your mindset and your whole approached toward the operation of the bus/motorcoach will take on a whole new prospective. You will strive to be the absolute best that you can possibly be and understand every aspect of what you’re skill entails. Always treat people with kindness and respect and you’ll realize that you have just fulfilled all the requirements for customer-service. Learn everything about your craft.
Why is it important for you to belong to the African American Motorcoach Council?
I wanted to be a member of the council that will bring a positive voice to this industry. A council where I can be a witness and to incorporate a prospective from my experiences into a forum of positive individuals that truly care about the growth of this industry. More importantly, I want to show the younger generation that they have options and opportunities in this industry. And by mentoring up-and-coming individuals by expressing the story of where I came from and where I have gone, and that they can be better. I also want to show that as an African American male, in the transportation industry, a young woman or young man can not only have a future in this industry but have a voice in its shape and direction. And this voice is specific. This council will provide a unique perspective to this industry, and I wanted to be a part of that.