Name: Marcos Sarmiento
Company: OK TOURS
City, State: San Antonio, Texas
Years in the Industry: 18 years.
How did you first get involved in the industry?
Our family started the business in 1993, and I took my first steps on a motorcoach. Since then, there hasn't been a bus part I haven't seen or can't find.
Who has inspired your career?
Watching my parents put their sweat and tears into this company grew on me. They were known for putting together weekend trips to Mexico. When I started working here full time after I graduated, I always wanted to raise the bar a little higher for us. Now seeing them enjoy their lives outside of the motorcoach industry brings me joy and happiness. We're teaching our kids to put the same energy into our business as we were taught, and the future looks bright for them as well.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
The biggest challenge for us was transitioning from trips to Mexico to school and university travel. We were known for doing that for so many years that our new clients thought we were a bus line. We won a lot of schools and universities over with the quality of service and newer motorcoaches that we operated. Without those struggles, we wouldn't have been able to make it this far.
What advice would you give others about working in this industry?
I would tell people to do their best and don't sweat the rest. I was shy when I first started since I had an accent, I overcame that, and now I have relationships with a lot of small and large companies. I personally give out my contact information to everyone I meet in our industry. I'm always available to give a helping hand. My goal is always to pay it forward; you never know when you're going to need help in a city you're not familiar with.
Why is it important for you to belong to the Hispanic Motorcoach Council?
It's the same place to ask questions that you'd be too shy to ask in a large group setting. That's where I was able to meet Mr. Bill Torres of DC Trails when I was a teenager. I took his speech to heart and appreciate his kind words at the time. Just like him, there are a lot of members of the Council that have the same background as us.