2009 CEOs Who 'Get It'

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Robert Bellagamba

President, CEO & CFO
Concorde Limousine Inc.

Concorde Limousine Inc., based in Freehold, NJ, is a luxury transportation service company with a fleet that includes 70 luxurious vehicles, employs 100 people, and has grown to be New Jersey’s most respected limousine company.

 

Why is safety a core value at your company?

We transport the most precious cargo: people.

How do you instill a sense of safety in your employees on an ongoing basis?

We make sure we have constant safety communication with our employees. We also offer training sessions. New chauffeurs receive four days of training: two in the classroom and two on the road. This includes safety films and road tests in both urban and suburban settings. If applicants pass the four-day training course, they are hired to drive sedans.

Once this is complete, drivers have “specialty training,” which is a classroom course focused on driving heavier, larger vehicles (e.g., stretch limousines or SUVs). This class includes a road test while driving a 10-passenger stretch for handling panic stops on an abandoned roadway. Then, after a few months with the company, employees take the National Safety Council’s 6/8-hour Defensive Driving Course.

In the case of a wedding, the wedding training safety program is reviewed again for large vehicles, as well as review of wedding protocols.

What is the biggest obstacle to safety in your workplace, and how do you work to overcome it?

The aggressive nature of the driving public is our biggest obstacle. We installed DriveCams in the vehicles and a vehicle tracking system that reports the operation of our vehicles, including speed. I review any DriveCam activation each morning and, if need be, the employee is called in for review and retraining. The VTS allows me to monitor the location and speed traveled in real time of every vehicle in the fleet.

How does safety “pay” at your company?

Concorde has a safety bonus program, which sets aside $60,000 a year. The money was the insurance liability aggregate that Concorde was responsible for.

If the $60,000 (or portion remaining) is not used, it is distributed to all of the chauffeurs that were not involved in any accidents or motor vehicle incidents. Last year, chauffeurs without incidents shared a $10,000 reward.

How do you measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe you are, and where do you see room for improvement?

We use in-house safety reports generated through the DriveCam software, insurance company safety reports and our own internal Chauffeur Monthly newsletter. Although our safety record is much improved, we always strive for zero incidents. We use every communication opportunity available to convey our safety concerns to the chauffeur community. Our constant striving to be the safest limousine company is exhibited by our dedication to the latest safety technology that is available, including the DriveCam, VTS and up-to-date training videos.

This is exhibited in our reputation, as judged by the National Limousine Association and Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation magazine’s award for the 2003 Best Limousine Operator in the nation.

How important is off-the-job safety to your company’s overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety programs does your company offer to employees?

We publish safety memos in our monthly newsletter. Additionally, our director of safety distributes all product recall notices he receives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We also circulate health notices published in Safety+Health magazine and the e-mails we receive from the National Safety Council.

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