All in the Family (Again)
The Fullington Auto Bus Company is once again owned 100 percent by the Fullington family.
Beginning negotiations in early 2017, owners Michael and Lory Fullington started the new year having repurchased all outstanding shares of the company stock owned by previous parent company RATP DEV, a global transportation company based in Paris, France.
"We're excited to begin the new year, a rebirth of sorts, with total ownership and control of the company," said Michael Fullington in a statement.
The Fullington Auto Bus Company has been serving Central Pennsylvania and beyond with transportation services for more than a century. The company began operations in 1908 when Emerson M. Fullington and his three sons began a livery and surrey company in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
As transportation changed, the company grew, adapted and evolved. Today, Fullington Trailways serves educational groups, sports teams, church groups, corporate VIPs and more.
In 2009, RAPT Dev approached The Fullington Auto Bus Company about partnering to enter the U.S. market. Under the prior leadership of CEO Aerial Fullington Weisman, the decision was made to sell majority ownership of the family company to the major global transportation company.
Over the next nine years, The Fullington Auto Bus Company grew—and prospered.
"We've learned a lot from each other," said President and CEO Jonathan Berzas. "We're pleased with what we were able to achieve together."
Berza notes The Fullington Auto Bus Company was able to develop a corporate structure with internal analytics that made operations more efficient, all while maintaining a family culture—which remained central to the company's values.
"Michael's father—Richard 'Dick' Fullington's—wish was for Michael to take over and own the family business and continue the Fullington legacy in Central Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region," Berzas said. "We can now focus our organization exclusively on meeting the transportation needs of our customers."
Berzas also notes one of the main reasons for the repurchase was to ensure job security for the company's employees. Along with The Fullington Auto Bus Company's strong financial position, he credits the company's success to "great, hardworking, dedicated employees" and "longstanding loyal customers."
"We have a strategic growth plan for the next several years with a focus on contracts and a continued effort to deliver great customer service while partnering with our customers," Berzas said.
"That's my family's name on the sides of those buses," said Michael Fullington.
"I feel a personal responsibility for making sure we honor that legacy in everything we do as a company."
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.