After more than 30 years leading the American Bus Association, Peter Pantuso says he plans to retire in September 2024.
Pantuso joined ABA in 1996 and has served as President and CEO since then. During his tenure, ABA’s membership nearly tripled, and its annual convention, ABA’s Marketplace, grew to be the industry’s leading domestic packaged travel event.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else leading ABA, says Gene Berardi, the organization’s board chairman.
“The professionalism, expansion, creativity, and steadfast dedication that Pete brings to ABA and to the entire industry is second to none,” Berardi said. “He guided the association through tough times, including the September 11th terrorist attacks, a recession, and the COVID pandemic, providing outstanding direction and guidance to the entire industry and to individual members.”
Finding ways to support members
Among Pantuso’s many accomplishments were launching the Bus Industry Safety Council and the Bus Maintenance and Repair Council to highlight and promote the highest ethical standards in the bus industry and to increase industry safety.
As a way to provide closer relations and cooperation among the diverse ABA membership segments, Pantuso was instrumental in forming the African American Motorcoach Council, Women in Buses Council, Hispanic Motorcoach Council, Entertainer Motorcoach Council and the School Bus Council.
Pantuso has also been a tireless advocate before all branches of the government for the enactment of just and appropriate laws and regulations for the industry, especially in these unprecedented times.
Pantuso created and serves as President of the ABA Foundation, an $8 million organization that advances industry-related research and provides scholarships to promote academic excellence and diversity in the motorcoach, packaged travel and tour industry. In addition, he serves as President of the National Bus Traffic Association, the ticket revenue clearinghouse for the scheduled bus industry, with activities that approached $200 million per year at its peak.
Grateful for support
“I am honored and grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve ABA and its members. It has been the members’ support, and their trust and belief in me and our staff, that has allowed the Association to grow and become the leading organization it is today,” Pantuso said.
“I am tremendously pleased with the way we have reached out to the industry and developed programs and services during my tenure to enhance our members’ respective business operational, sales and marketing needs regardless of which segment of the motorcoach, tour or packaged travel industry they were part of. This could not have been accomplished without the dedicated industry leaders and the talented team of professionals on the ABA staff.”
Because this is a long-term transition and not an immediate departure, Pantuso said in his letter to the ABA leadership, he will continue to put 110% effort into leading the Association as he always has done, and he still has more to accomplish over the next 19 months.
ABA’s leadership will take time to select its next leader to ensure that person can carry on and to enhance the ABA. Over the next year, a Board-level committee will be appointed to interview and hire a search firm, which will assist the Association in finding a new President and CEO.