A Day at the Office: My Day With Brian Sheely and the Lovely Ladies of Epic Limo, Part I
Inside the office, Anne Bogda and Lisa Mathis have already started their work day. The computers are fired up as the smell of coffee fills the tan and dark orange-painted walls of the office. Lisa is sitting on a couch against the wall near the doorway talking with Anne, who’s sitting at her desk across the room.
While Epic Limo’s chauffeurs are driving town-to-town, picking up and dropping off clients, these ladies are here at the office, coordinating each and every trip. Though you’ll never see them when your limo pulls up, Lisa and Anne play crucial roles in the process and in the overall success of the company.
“On average, we probably book between 10 and 15 trips per day,” Lisa says. This, of course, varies drastically, depending on the time of year. During prom and wedding seasons, Epic’s daily bookings easily double.
Lisa is Epic’s sales and marketing director. When the limo company is invited to an event or luncheon involving one the five chambers to which it belongs, she is often the representative. When she’s not busy attending seminars and business meetings, she’s helping Anne answer phones and emails at the office.
Anne is in charge of Epic Limo’s daily operations, which includes everything from booking trips over the phone and internet to making sure each chauffeur is dispatched accordingly. In other words, she insures that every driver is exactly where they need to be, when they need to be there.
On this rainy morning, Anne and Lisa are discussing a bit of everything. They’re chatting about potential drivers, the day’s schedule for the chauffeurs, the weather and a massive mosquito that infringed upon their office space the previous day. “It was right here!” Anne says, pointing to the tan wall next to her desk.
They are waiting for Brian Sheely, owner and president of Epic and CEO of neighboring Wings Aviation, to arrive for their weekly meeting. “We prepare for Friday and the weekend by debriefing Thursday,” Lisa says. “We just go over the week before, I catch up with Anne, talk with Brian about what we have coming up.”
Another behind-the-scenes contributor at Epic is Brian’s wife Erin, who works as a school teacher during the day and as co-owner/vice president of the limo service by night. A majority of her job consists of maintaining files, certifications and payroll regarding the chauffeurs, making certain all their information is current. She even answers phones when the office closes; between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day, as Epic provides 24-hour service. Should a weary traveler’s flight not arrive in Chicago until 2:30 in the morning, leaving them in desperate need of lift from the airport, Erin answers the call. Epic Limo is truly family-owned and operated.
The phone rings around 8:15. Anne cheerfully answers Epic’s first call of the day: “Good morning! Epic Limo…”
While Anne takes the phone call, Lisa walks over to her desk and pulls out her Toshiba laptop, a binder and a yellow notepad covered in handwritten notes. “This is my to-do list,” Lisa says with a smile, looking over the notepad.
“Both busses are booked that Saturday, I’m really sorry about that,” Anne says to the caller on the phone as she clicks away on her computer. The ladies both have dual-monitor computer screens on their desks, one displaying their respective email inboxes, the other the home screen of Limo Anywhere, the scheduling software Epic uses for booking.
“I need to have music on when I work,” Lisa says, pulling up Pandora’s website on her right computer screen. “Anne can work in silence, but I need music.” John Mayer softly plays over her computer speakers. “I’m hoping to go see him next week at Northerly Island,” she says. “My taste in music is all over the board.”
Lisa is typing away from her laptop while simultaneously booking a trip over Limo Anywhere on her desktop and fielding text messages and emails from her iPhone. The ladies are both typing away, computer mouses clicking, John Mayer in the background.
A delivery woman walks into the office around 8:30. “Hi, I have a delivery for Epic Limo,” she says, handing Lisa two boxes. We later learn the boxes contain air filters for Epic’s nine vehicles.
Brian walks in shortly after, cup of coffee in one hand, mail in the other. “Good morning,” he says, walking over to the couch. “Mail came in this morning.” He sits down and begins sorting through the envelopes.
Ann turns her computer chair away from her desk so she’s facing Brian. Lisa continues to type away on her dual-screen computer. “I’m almost ready,” she says as she closes out an email.
I’m about to sit in on my first Epic Limo meeting…
By Brett Halon