Transportation

Executive Perspectives: Dave Leach

In the face of adversity, there is room for innovation, says the CEO of Greyhound.

Founded in 1914, Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc. is the country’s largest provider of intercity bus transportation, serving 2,400 destinations across North America. Besides transporting people, it also offers express package delivery and charter transportation services. CEO Dave Leach got his start with the company in 1986, working as a baggage handler to help pay his way through college. He has held just about every imaginable job with the company since, working his way up to the top spot. 

How are you coping amid the COVID-19 crisis? 

As a major transportation provider, our industry was dealt an immediate impact due to travel restrictions stemming from COVID-19. During national crises–including 9/11, Gulf Coast hurricanes, and in wartime–Greyhound has been on the front line of critical transportation. Having been in business for over a century, we’ve seen our fair share of unique challenges, none of which compare to what we are faced with today. 

Over the course of just a few weeks, we’ve had to make difficult decisions, which include reducing our workforce in the field and our corporate office, as well as suspending service in many communities, some of which we have served for decades. Although these changes have had an immense impact on our community at Greyhound, we are choosing to remain optimistic. Throughout history, we’ve played a vital role in continuing to connect communities despite the odds, and we remain hopeful as we press forward during this unprecedented time. 

What are the short-term ramifications for your specific industry? 

Just a few weeks ago, families were planning summer vacations, students were preparing for graduation celebrations, and business commuters were on the go, headed a few cities over for a day of work. For most, those plans have changed. A drastic decline in travel due to guidelines put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 has had an immediate impact across the travel industry. It is our hope that after this crisis, the desire to travel is rekindled with a new appreciation for how transportation connects us all. 

Have you found silver linings in these difficult times? 

The new procedures and processes that have been developed during this crisis have given us an opportunity to evaluate and strengthen long-standing systems across our business. Processes that have been in place for years are now being viewed through new lenses, giving us a chance to think outside the box when tackling even the most routine tasks. 

Do you have advice for other local companies? 

We must manage the now and prepare for the future. Although this may be a time of great uncertainty, it is also a time of great opportunity. In the face of adversity, there is room for innovation. The idea that takes your business to the next level may be just around the corner of what seems like defeat. Now is the time to revisit old ideas and approach them in new ways. Taking a creative approach when envisioning the future of your business will keep your team aiming towards a goal and looking forward to the uncertain tomorrow. 

 

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