Meet members of ABA's newest networking Council, the African American Motorcoach Council. If you would like more information about the AAMC or to join, firstname.lastname@example.org">email email@example.com.
Name: Frede Smith
Company: First Class Transportation, LLC
City, State: Houston, TX
Years in the Industry: 28 years
How did you first get involved in the industry?
I received my CDL while driving rental car shuttle at San Francisco airport and kept my CDL after I stopped driving. I was promoted and relocated to New Orleans. Since I didn’t know really anyone there I thought it’d be fun to try out driving charter busses. I was hired as a part time driver by Kohoutek Transportation in Kenner, La.
Who has inspired your career?
Growing up I’ve always loved buses. While working for Byron and Sharon Kohoutek at Kohoutek Transportation in New Orleans they inspired me to consider switching from the car rental business to the motorcoach business. This consideration stayed with me stayed as I transitioned into different roles in the rental car business back to San Francisco and into Houston. Working for The Rogers Family at First Class has cemented my interest in staying in this industry. Lanny and Jeff gave me the opportunity to bridge my skills and experiences from rental car into the bus industry into a role in operations and dispatch and currently in sales.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
Making sure when I give input and ideas in situations that I’m being consistently authentic and not going along to get along.
What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?
Every day is not perfect and you will face challenges. Use the negatives as inspiration to overcome the challenges. If you’re not appreciated and respected somewhere speak up and let them know how you feel and don’t be afraid to change scenery to a place where they’ll recognize your worth.
Why is it important for you to belong to the African American Motorcoach Council?
It’s beneficial to see representation in all departments. In sales I don’t come across many people like myself working in sales at motorcoach companies. I think representation goes a long way in showing there’s opportunity in a variety of areas. I’ve worked in operations, dispatch and sales over the years which gives me a unique perspective.