GNJMA honors ‘standout’ employees with awards

The Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association honored seven “standout” employees in the industry with the 2021 Motorcoach Professional Awards.

The GNJMA Motorcoach Professional Awards is a way for members to recognize their “standout” employees in front of fellow members, industry leaders, peers and friends, said Patricia Cowley, GNJMA executive director.

Recipients received a plaque and a watch from the association, plus overnight accommodations and other gifts from GNJMA’s casino partners. 

Four of the employees honored: Erwin Pantel of DeCamp Bus Lines, Lou Franov of COACH USA/Suburban Trails, Binyam (Benny) Yilma of Lakeland Bus Lines, Inc., and Keith Hollenberg of Bailey Coach.

These are this year’s honorees, with comments from their employers:

Keith Hollenberg of Bailey Coach. “Keith has been with Bailey Coach since 2014 and has been accident-free for 7 years. He is always willing to do whatever is needed, regardless of his job description. When COVID hit, Bailey Coach became a disinfecting company using existing employees and company vehicles to get around. Keith was one of the first to volunteer to learn the new duties and be out in the field disinfecting COVID-infected areas at all hours of the day/night. It’s because of employees like Keith that our transportation company was able to survive the pandemic. Another area that Keith brought great value to Bailey Coach was with transparent communication when he helped to implement an employee monthly newsletter. Keith has proven to be a great asset to the Bailey Family of Companies and we are very proud to have Keith on our team.”

Lou Franov of Coach USA/Suburban Transit. “Lou Franov has been an asset to our company since day one. Lou has been with Coach USA/Suburban Transit for nine years, and hasn’t had an accident in seven-plus years. Lou drives over 250 trips a year. His customer service is unparalleled, and he always is eager to help his clients in any way he can.  His on-road performance is outstanding, and he strives to be the best he can be. When the pandemic hit, he volunteered to drive firefighters to training, every day without fail, placing community needs over his own well-being.”

Erwin Pantel of DeCamp Bus Lines. “DeCamp Bus Lines is honored to recognize the hard work, dedication, and outstanding performance of Erwin Pantel. Erwin has been active in the motorcoach industry for 35 plus years, with 16 years at DeCamp.  His industry peers seek him out for his vast knowledge and technical know-how. Erwin is active with GNJMA and sits on the Safety and Risk Committee.”

 Binyam (Benny) Yilma of Lakeland Bus Lines, Inc. “Benny started as a driver with Lakeland in 2007 and is an excellent employee. He has a great personality and gets along with both fellow workers and customers. In 2018 Benny joined our management team and became a dispatcher where he quickly excelled. Just recently Benny took over as our Head Dispatcher and is doing a fine job. Benny is the type of person we enjoy having represent Lakeland Bus Lines.”

Hayley Diaz-Hernandez of Panorama Tours, Inc. “Hayley Diaz-Hernandez has been a Panorama Professional for just over two years. The last year and a half have been one of the hardest times in our industry’s history. Thanks to Hayley’s hard work, dedication, willingness to adapt, and simply fabulous attitude, Panorama’s COVID rebound was smoother and stronger than anticipated. With the necessary staff cuts, most would be intimidated or overwhelmed with the tasks of the day. Not Hayley. She tackled every project and every position as if she had been doing it all along. There was no challenge that Hayley gave up on. Some worked, some didn’t, but she came in every day recognizing the next challenge as the next opportunity. Panorama Tours is lucky to have Hayley Diaz-Hernandez on its team and so proud to nominate her for the 2021 Motorcoach Award.”

Samantha Craig of Safety Bus Service.  “Samantha has worked for Safety Bus Service for many years. As our safety director, she handles both safety protocol for the Pennsauken and Absecon properties and the compliance for school bus and motorcoach drivers.  She keeps the records straight for the DMV for our school vehicles and motorcoaches. Samantha is an asset to our company.”

Frederick Sydnor of Sheppard Bus Service. “Frederick is an outstanding driver and Manager, always ready to cover both trips and School routes – driving over 100 trips a year.  He is Sheppard’s Mays Landing Terminal Coordinator with over 150 employees that respect and love working with him.”

The GNJMA is a group of leaders in the motorcoach, casino and travel industry that represents bus operators and owners in New Jersey and its region.

The association works in cooperation with industry associations, local, state, and federal agencies, legislators, vendors, attractions, and destinations to promote the betterment and welfare of our industry, members, and association objectives. 

“We take proactive steps in promoting safety in the motorcoach industry by sponsoring safety workshops for bus drivers, driver excellence award programs, inspection workshops, scholarship program and industry professional awards,” Cowley said. 


Heather Colache, of Meet AC, is newest GNJMA board member

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