To me, Robert Frost’s iconic and magnificent poem The Road Not Taken, penned in 1916, is about a person looking back on their life to a significant time when a distinct choice for a path to pursue was made, which wasn’t the easiest one, but the one that resulted in great satisfaction and fulfillment. The last few lines of the poem read as follows:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
In 1977, Henry McGough was working a full-time night shift at the Philadelphia-based Budd Company manufacturing plant when he used $1,000 in personal savings, along with borrowing $10,000 from his parents, to purchase a single school bus with one route, which he drove during the day while still working nights. That seminal moment would become the beginning of McGough Bus Company, Inc., a long-time NJBIA member, which today has a fleet of 135 vehicles based in two hubs in New Jersey (Sewell and Camden) and is one of the most successful school bus companies in South Jersey.
Success like this doesn’t happen by luck, and in Henry’s case it’s the byproduct of an extraordinary work ethic and an innate business sense. But he’ll be the first to tell you that the company is not just him; it’s first and foremost a family business. His wife, MaryAnn McGough, serves as the executive secretary and treasurer, and his daughter, Meghan McGough Paster, serves as the chief operating officer.
Meghan must have inherited her father’s work ethic at the DNA level because by the age of 14 she was already working at the company while, of course, still going to school. She would go on to earn a degree in business management with a concentration in operations from Widener University in 2006. That has served her very well as today she oversees all daily operations, including route structure, route scheduling, fleet and fuel management, contract bidding, payroll administration and employee relations.
The company’s focus is on providing transportation for special needs students (pre-K to 12) to and from private, parochial and charter schools across South Jersey, and they take pride in providing exceptional care for the children. I like the tagline used in conjunction with their mission statement, which reads, “There is no compromise when transporting our future!”
A natural extension in serving this market segment is providing transportation for school sports and field trips, which they do as well, and this is a growing business line. They also have their own garage that maintains and repairs their fleet of buses, with future plans to offer these services to other bus companies, as well as to operators of heavy-duty vehicles, to add a new revenue stream.
All of this is evidence of outstanding strategic business planning, and I have no doubt that the McGough Bus Company will be around for many, many more years to come. Meghan has two young children, and I don’t think you need to be a seer or have a crystal ball to envision someday that they will be the third generation to work for, and someday lead, this family business and will continue the path of success that Henry began in 1977 with the road he chose. And I’ll bet they’ll be great “difference makers” in their own right.
For more information about McGough Bus Company visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcgoughbus.
McGough Bus Company is just one of 20,000 companies that comprise NJBIA’s membership, which is very diverse with representation from an amazingly large and wide spectrum of fields, industries and professions. Look for more unique stories about NJBIA members in future issues of “Beyond 10 West Lafayette,” NJBIA’s membership blog.