After seeing and listening to so many small business owners devasted by the COVID pandemic, ABC Companies was inspired to create a concept that would help them have a big voice with government. What initially began as a proposal shared with the American Bus Association (ABA) and United Motorcoach Association (UMA), and later married with a very similar vision shared by the Ohio Motorcoach Association, the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness (MR4A) movement was born. Other key contributors including DATTCO and DC Trails quickly jumped onboard and helped to formulate ideas and strategize how bring the biggest industry social media “meet up” in history to life. The event is scheduled to be held on May 13 in Washington, D.C., with hundreds of motorcoach companies nationwide expected to participate.
“The event coordination is being led by an all-volunteer group of individuals from multiple disciplines within the industry,” said Thom Peebles, VP, Marketing, ABC Companies. “When [ABC President and Chief Commercial Officer] Roman Cornell and I first developed the concept, it was simply to help our industry get back on the road. ABC and the Cornell family have long believed that taking care of customers takes care of everything else, and we couldn’t just sit back and watch our industry, customers, and friends be decimated by these shutdowns.”
According to Peebles, following the first meeting with ABA and UMA they were introduced to Ben Bolog, president of the Ohio Motorcoach Association (OMA) as well as an independent multi-generational operator and president of US Coach Tours. Bolog was also simultaneously developing the same concept ABC had brought to the table. All parties quickly recognized the obvious synergies of bringing ABC and OMA together. After consulting with different operators and associations, it was clear that the industry was primed for the idea and needed a method to funnel into action. The initiative was agreed to and named, followed shortly by a website all in the same day. ABC says that Cornell has generously contributed many staff members including Peebles, who is spearheading much of the effort, to bring this event to life.
Since the concept’s inception, key industry leaders including MCI, Prevost, and other bus OEMs have all contributed at various levels to ensure that the event accurately represents the industry as a whole and its many customers served.
“This is the kind of grassroots movement my grandfather Clancy Cornell would have gotten behind, and I think he would be proud of ABC working so hard at this level to help our customers and their businesses. Making customers and our industry our priority is what makes ABC what it is today,” added Cornell. “When this pandemic first hit, I challenged my team to truly understand how we could help our customers and our industry as a whole. Since then, we have launched our CLEANS initiative of products and services to clean and sanitize motorcoaches and provide support elements to get the traveling public back on our customers’ coaches. When the concept of bringing miles of motorcoaches to D.C. as rolling billboards to educate and garner government and public support, in a way that was positive, I was all in,” he said.
“We think this will be the largest meetup in our industry’s history and we’re truly humbled to be a part of it. We look forward to seeing so many of our friends and operators on the road as we roll together during the ultimate social distancing, awareness-raising event,” said Peebles.
ABC companies will be posting daily updates about the MR4A Event on the ABC Companies website at abc-companies.com using hashtags #dontmissourbus, #busesmoveamerica, #motorcoachesrolling4awareness, #rolling4awareness, and #R4A2020. ABC encourages participants and stakeholders to continue to post stories, videos, and pictures on its Facebook group page.
Visit busesmoveamerica.com for more information on how to participate. All companies wishing to join the rally must pre-register (space is limited).