Leonard Bus Sales with multiple dealership locations in New York state has also kept the business all in the family. From left: Ben Leonard, Dan Leonard, Chris Leonard, Mike Leonard, Jon Leonard, and Patrick Leonard.

said. “We were able to put a great team of drivers and managers together quickly.” He continued, “Everything I learned from the big

company, and my dad, I put to use every day. But, now, we’re much nimbler. When I decide to do something, I don’t have to ask anyone. I don’t answer to a board of directors. I do some things differently than what my dad did, based on metrics and common sense, and I do some things the way he did. I can do it both ways. It’s the best of both worlds.” McCarthy is preparing to add 12 new routes at the

start of the next school year, continuing to grow his business through its reputation for quality service and on references he’s gathered through the years. But he’s keeping in mind one particular lesson from his corpo- rate experience. “The mistake big companies make is that (an acqui-

sition or expansion) really has to fit into some kind of plan. You can’t run well if something is 80 miles away,” he said. “I’m very cognizant of what fits and what doesn’t. And, in Massachusetts, we’re a low-bid state, so you could spend a lot of money to buy a company and three years later someone comes along and takes it from you.”

32 School Transportation News • APRIL 2020 As his company has grown, he has created four

satellite offices with managers who oversee a total of 120 people. “It’s hard for a manager to provide great customer service and to be hands on if it gets much bigger than 30 people per manager,” he observed. He said he also sees the same forces at work today

as when his father sold the family business more than 20 years ago. “There seems to be a lot of mon- ey floating around again. I’ve seen two big regional companies merge and another [merger] is in the rumor phase,” he said. McCarthy predicts lucrative offers may spur some

smaller contractors to sell while others will be moti- vated by the call of retirement and it seems likely that larger carriers will gobble them up. “Whatever the personal or financial circumstances, the school bus business is very cyclical. We go from one contract to the next, and they usually don’t run more than five years,” said McCarthy, who added he still has a few more cycles left in him. “Certainly no one [new is] getting into this business. Who’s going to replace us?” Meanwhile, John Leonard likened the industry’s

trend toward consolidation to the overall economy. “The majority of our customers are school districts,

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60