Voyageur Transportation Services
London, Ontario    
School busing, medical transportation, limousine services
Primary market: Ontario
Number of employees: 1,200
Theresa Matthews, president
Tracy Wintermute, vice-president (human resources)

Accountant delivers the goods

In business programs students tend to divide themselves into two broad categories. The nerds study finance, IT and accounting. The “people” oriented students tend to drift into marketing and management.  Though this channelling is far from cast in stone, it tends to remain broadly consistent as careers play out. But not in Theresa Matthews’ case.

Matthews joined Voyageur Transportation Services in 1989 as the controller. But just a few months ago she was named president and her responsibilities are now primarily management related. The company provides a range of school bussing, medical transportation and limousine services. Sales have more than doubled to $30 million in the past three years, in a highly competitive industry, which relies heavily on accurate costing data so officials can bid effectively when contracts come up for tender.

Matthews cites several reasons for Voyageur Transportation Services’ ongoing success. These include the shedding of its merchandise transport unit, which enabled personnel to build a core capability around moving people (not goods). In addition, an aging population, which requires increasing healthcare, is creating new opportunities in the medical transport division. Like many service businesses, Voyageur Transportation relies heavily on employee productivity for its success. Close ties to local communities where much of their work is done, is also key.

However despite progress made, standing still is not an option. Transport is a competitive business and scale matters. As a result, Voyageur Transportation will be looking to grow further to boost effectiveness. Current targets call for a doubling in sales during the next five years.


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