WILKES-BARRE — There has been a changing of the guard at Martz Trailways, but nothing, really, has changed and that is a good thing.
Frank Henry, 82, the patriarch of the bus conglomerate family, relinquished the chairmanship of the 108-year-old company to his son, Scott, in March.
But the traditions, policies and procedures of the company continue: Safety, courtesy, efficiency, loyalty, community. They have been and always will be the basic foundation of the company’s success.
“We’ve never forgotten from where we came,” Frank Henry said. “And we strive every day to provide good service that is safe, reliable and courteous and at a reasonable price.”
From its humble beginnings, the Martz company has grown to be a recognized leader in bus transportation, while maintaining a local corporate home base. The Henrys appreciate their customers and their employees, and are mindful to be supportive of the community where they work and reside.
“We have always felt that the community has supported us and has given us the opportunity to grow,” Frank Henry said. “That’s why we have always tried to give back to the community for all that it has done for us.”
And Scott Henry said he will continue his father’s commitment to the community.
“Absolutely, it’s instilled in me and in all of us here at Martz,” he said. “My dad has given so much of his time and energy to the community, we want to continue to live by the standard he set.”
Scott Henry said he started working at the company before he had a driver’s license. He said he has worked in all phases and all departments, which gave him insight into the company and its people.
“And all the while I had the opportunity to observe by father and I learned the right way to run a company,” Scott said. “I learned how to treat people, and I still have him here by my side to go to for advice.”
Father and son said meeting the needs of their customers is the company’s top priority. Starting with Frank Martz Sr., they said providing safe, reliable courteous transportation was the company’s mantra from the beginning and 108 years later it still holds true.
“We run the company as if our family was on every bus,” Frank Henry said. “All of our customers and our employees are like family to us.”
And, Henry said, if the company is run like that, then it will be successful and will be around to provide services for its customers and jobs for its employees, some of which are third generation Martz workers.
Frank Henry said he has had offers to sell the company over the years, but he never gave that option a second thought.
“We would never sell,” he said. “We want to carry on our name and keep it as a family-owned and operated business.”
Frank and Scott said employees are trained to think like a customer. They said customer service is essential to the company’s success.
And the bus business has changed dramatically over the course of 108 years. Today’s buses are equipped with the latest technology, like eight cameras that allow for live viewing at the company’s hub. There are security measures in place as well that assure safety in the event of an emergency. And with new cell phones and other devices, customers can book and punch their tickets online when they board the bus.
Frank Henry said that in 1908, Martz buses transported coal miners to their jobs. In 2015, the buses transport commuters to New York City and Philadelphia for their jobs. Some riders sleep on the bus on their way into the cities, while others are working with their computers and devices, utilizing the on-board Wi-Fi.
The company manages the city’s Intermodel garage, the central load and unload point for all buses.
Scott Henry said the company has a responsibility to its employees, its customers and the community.
“People who come to work here, stay here,” he said. “A lot of people — some 600 right now — depend on the decisions we make.”
Scott Henry said Martz employees are involved with the community as well and that is supported by the company’s management.
“We attend those fundraisers with them,” he said.
Frank Henry, said his decision to step back was made with the ultimate confidence to have Scott, 57, to take control. Scott’s sister, Marjorie Marquart of Dallas, is company secretary.
Frank Henry said he has more time to do things he loves to do, like travel. His wife, Dottie, passed away in July, 2014, and Henry said he now devotes time to organizations like Geisinger Health System and the Salvation Army. He said he also is involved with some other business investments.
On the wall in Frank Henry’s office hangs a painting of a moose near a stream. It was painted by Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius, who was a leading American wildlife artist.
“It was my father’s,” he said.
Frank Henry loves the outdoors, as evidenced by that painting. But the painting also represents the thread of family and tradition that connects all members of the Martz/Henry family with its customers, employees and community.
“Like I said in the beginning, never forget from where you came,” Henry said.