When Joe Simard took an early retirement from his sales job with one of MCI's chief competitors, he thought he'd left the industry for good. But after a year, he knew he wanted back in. "I had a full year away, but I missed the people," says Simard. "Life was getting a little quiet. Then my friends at MCI called and asked if I wanted to join their club."
He did. On the job with MCI for a month now, but a familiar face to many a customer, Simard is responsible for both new and pre-owned coach sales in Eastern Canada and other parts of the country. He says he's happy to have made the switch.
"MCI is the kind of product I like to sell — the quality is excellent. With the new suspension and handling, it's probably the top of the market today, better than anything else on the road. In the last few years, there have been a lot of companies that have been bringing coaches from other parts of the world or started investing in other areas. MCI has kept believing and investing in its products, and it shows every time a customer walks onto the coach.”
Simard's passion for the industry goes way back — to childhood. "I was like a kid with a toy — I grew up looking at the big, shiny buses and knew I wanted to grow up and sell them," says Simard. And that he did. He started in the school bus business and then spent 15 years with MCI's competitor, first building its North American used-coach division and ultimately leading new-coach sales in Eastern Canada, where he made many friends.
MCI is happy to have him. "By adding Joe to our Canadian sales force, we've assembled an extremely talented and experienced team that will be dedicated to our customer-first efforts to help operators enhance their enterprise value and profit," said Larry Killingsworth, vice president of sales and marketing for MCI, upon MCI's hiring announcement. Other team members include Regional Sales Manager Yves Vermette and Fleet Support Director Guy Tessier.
MCI has been hearing from customers who are glad to see Simard back on the job. Simard says he likes to look at his customers' businesses as if they were his own, carefully evaluating their needs and making recommendations that will truly serve business needs. "It's not just about selling buses," he says. "It's about the people. That's what I really enjoy. I have only friends in this industry."
Simard feels like there's lots of opportunity for Canadian operators in general. "The outlook for Canadian tourism and motor coach travel is encouraging, especially when you consider the 2010 Winter Games as well as the government's efforts to get people thinking about forms of transportation other than their cars," says Simard. "I have a good feeling for Canada."
Simard, a native of Quebec, lives in St-François-Xavier de Brompton. He has been married to his wife, Stella, for 40 years. He can be reached at 819-725-2992 or by e-mail at Joe.Simard@mcicoach.com. And if you're an Eastern Canada operator, you may be hearing from him soon, if you haven't already.
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