The motorcoach and bus community is mourning the loss of industry leaders Tom Picknally, Arlos “Bucky” Every, David Gregory and Dr. Daisy Soria Pico. The four are being remembered for their passion for the motorcoach business and their dedication to the industry.
Thomas J. Picknally
Thomas J. Picknally, 63, passed away peacefully after a brief illness on Jan. 30, 2021, at Lahey Hospital in Massachusetts, according to his obituary. Tom worked in his family business, Peter Pan Bus Lines, most recently serving as senior vice president of maintenance. He worked alongside his father, Carmen, until he retired. He was also active in the industry, as a member of the New England Bus Association, American Bus Association and United Motorcoach Association.
In 1998, Picknally was thrilled to have his son Joe join him, marking the beginning of the fourth generation in the business. The industry leader was dedicated to his career, working until he became ill recently. It brought him much joy that he was able to grow and expand the company over the years alongside his beloved cousin, Peter Picknelly, according to his obituary.
“Just like the words of the children’s song, the wheels on the buses at Peter Pan Bus Lines have gone ‘round and round’ every day because of Tom Picknally and his many years of experience and training,” said Mitch Guralnick, secretary/treasurer of the New England Bus Association. “Tom knew how to drive a bus before he drove a car. In charge of maintenance, Tom helped Peter Pan grow over the years. Tom was always there to lend a helping hand to operators, day and night. I know because I was one of them. Speaking for all the members of the New England Bus Association, Tom, we all thank you for all you did for us, and will be greatly missed at our meetings. Thanks for always lending that helping hand.”
Arlos ‘Bucky’ Every
Arlos “Bucky” Every, 90, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Jan. 23, 2021. Every started a school bus company in New York in the early 1960s that became known as Tonche Transit Inc. With the help of his wife, Vivian, he grew his fleet from one bus to more than 40, entered the motorcoach business in the 1980s, and acquired another school bus operation, RJW Transit, in the 1990s, which became EVCO Transport Inc., according to his obituary.
Joined by his son, Glenn, in 2000 and daughter, JoAnne, in 2009, the industry leader expanded the business into a regional interstate motorcoach operation while continuing to serve local school districts with school buses. Tonche Transit has been recognized by the NYSDOT and the insurance industry on numerous occasions for its safe operation, and the company was recently profiled on CNBC and in the New York Times. Every remained active in the business on a daily basis until a week before his passing.
“Arlos is best viewed through the lens of the family and friends in the community that he touched,” wrote his son, Glenn, adding, “My father was also my closest friend, the best man at my wedding, my business partner, daily companion and, most importantly, the finest example of how to be a man.”
David Paul Gregory
David Paul Gregory, 71, of Corona, California, passed away on Jan. 24, 2021, after a brief illness from COVID-19. Gregory was the owner of the Santa Ana, Calif.-based Certified Transportation Services, a family-operated charter and school bus company.
Gregory spent a long and fulfilling career in the passenger transportation industry, following his father, grandfather and numerous uncles. In the 1960s, while still in high school, he started washing buses at M&M Charter Lines in Harbor City. After school, he would head to the bus yard where his father, William “Bill” Gregory, worked as a dispatcher. In 1971, Gregory and his father started Mark IV Charter Lines. The family sold their majority interest but continued to work for the company. In 1990, Gregory, his brother Richard and partner Dennise Gello founded Certified Transportation in Anaheim, California. He took over management of the company from his brother in 1995 and continued to manage the company, with the help of his family, until his death. Gregory also managed WESS Transportation in Escondido and assisted with Aerocoach Transportation in Riverside.
During his long career, the industry leader was active in many industry organizations, including but not limited to the California Association of School Transportation Officials, Driver Trainer Advisory Council, California Bus Association, United Motorcoach Association, American Bus Association, Bus Industry Safety Council and California School Transportation Association.
Dr. Daisy Soria Pico
Dr. Daisy Soria Pico, 62, died Dec. 18, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, according to her obituary. She was the founder and CEO of Pico Bros Motor Coaches, Soria Charters and Daisy Truck Lines in Orlando. Pico was also a doctor and cardiologist by profession, an advocate for women, and founder of multiple charities for children, the homeless and the elderly.
Growing up in Ecuador, she worked for her father, Manuel Soria, who owned one of the largest bus fleets in the country. She left the business to come to the U.S. with her husband. The couple has four children, José, Jean, Junior and Jhon.
In 2018, she and her sons decided to start Pico Bros Motor Coaches to follow in her father’s footsteps. The business quickly grew into a fleet of buses. At Pico’s suggestion, the business expanded into trucking. Her sons named the new trucking company, Soria Express, in tribute to their mother and grandfather.
“Daisy’s legacy will continue stronger and forever, as her favorite slogan would say ‘Always ahead,’” her sons wrote.