Serial Entrepreneur James Crosby turns passion into profits
By Crystal Chanel
Ohio native and owner of MyCity Transportation, James Crosby, is making head-lines in both the private and government sectors as his business acumen is turning heads at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Mr. Crosby recently acquired a contract to provide management and transportation services to Keolis North America, a government prime contractor who manages transit authorities, airport transportation and highspeed rail throughout the United States and Europe. Keolis is 100 years old plus company that is known worldwide for helping more people travel safely, more comfortably and more efficiently than anyone else in the world. With a vision of “Thinking Like A Passenger”, Keolis is focused on exceeding expectations, and according to Sheryl Dickey, ACDBE liaison, “Keolis was eager to work with MyCity as they have had excellent results working with MyCity on previous projects across the country.”
The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development(OESBD) Director, Sandy M. McDonald, speaks highly on the efforts of the County to reach out to meet the needs of Small Business Development. When asked about new programs and opportunities Broward County for small businesses, McDonald replied, “Our newest programs are not programs, as much as they are expansion of opportunities in the existing Small Business Program. What use to be “Accumulative Average” of 25%, is now in the Ordinance as “at least 25%”, Small Business Goals. This means that every contract that the county looks to procure goods, material and service will start with “at least” a 25% Goal. In addition there are far more opportunities for our smallest of businesses to bid against more like sized businesses, and even if they have to go to the open market and bid against the larger firms, they now do so with a 10% bid credit. There are several expansion to our Small Business Program that directly support small, women and minority owned businesses in Broward County. Since last October, I have been going around meeting with the 31 cities and the majority of the 16 Chambers in Broward County sharing in-formation on our program and more recently on these changes.”
McDonald continued, “I and my staff are willing to meet with any business group or group of interested individuals to explain these opportunities and more. There are robust opportunities in Broward County for our Local Certified Firms as well as our Federal DBE Firms.”
MyCity began operations in 2004 providing passenger transportation to various sectors, including Transit Authorities, Airports and Parking Garages. Additionally, MyCity is a minority subcontractor at the Fort Lauderdale airport and is responsible for many of the airport greeters and various transportation services through the airport. Engaged in both the public and private sector, MyCity is one of the nation’s largest subcontractors, and the company is 100% owned by James R. Crosby, who is DBE Certified in all 50 states.
“What MyCity Transportation has done and is doing is a testament to the Owner’s commitment, dedication and belief in his Business Model. I would also say it’s an acknowledgement and understanding of the Federal Program and the opportunities throughout the country. I’m sure less than 10% of all DBE’S have 100% Nationwide Certifications.
For our existing DBE’S the lesson or message would not be to repeat this, but certainly to assess all DBE opportunities in their immediate region, throughout their state and even other states. There are plenty of DBE opportunities in multiple industries right here in South Florida and throughout the state. This is true, if a 2004 established DBE in Cleveland Ohio is seeking and finding opportunities right here in Broward County. He is a very good example of what could be done on so many levels.”
It’s Crosby’s professional background that makes his practices stand out. MyCity was actually an outgrowth of Mr. Crosby’s weekly community newspaper. As economic down-falls and technology caused the advertising market tightened, Crosby knew he needed to diversify. He made the innovative decision to change his fleet of newspaper delivery trucks into wheelchair lift vehicles in an effort to generate revenue seven days a week as oppose to delivering newspapers one day a week. The idea was genius and within three months, the wheelchair transportation “side-hustle” took on a life of its own opening new doors and availing Crosby to profitable opportunities.
With a background in journalism, marketing, and sales, Mr. Crosby brings freshness and innovation to the airport contract. Dickey says, “Having MyCity Transportation not only means an opportunity for a minority contractor, but it also means jobs for minorities and a positive economic impact for Broward County.” Amongst one of the highlights was Crosby’s implementation of customer service enhancement training which established a standard for his staff. He then staged a meet and greet at several stations within the employee lot introducing airport employees to his staff. Flight attendants, pilots TSA and other airport staff were excited to express their transportation concerns, thus allowing MyCity Transportation to use passenger feedback to improve service and raise standards. His creative methods being noticed and making headlines. With his next meet and greet scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 with the Fort Lauderdale airport employee lot.
In discussing business, Crosby advises other minority business owners, “that your quality of work and reputation is critical.” He always hires people that are smarter than him, yet he is still prepared to work hard. Crosby understands the numbers and works according to the budget. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. When creating a legacy, its normal to work 18-hour days, 365 days a year. And as a businessman, a father and a husband, sometimes things suffer but my family is my motivation” says Crosby.
Today, Crosby has earned over $15 Million Dollars in total revenue, employing over 250 employees throughout the eastern half of the United States including Cleveland, Columbus, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and Greensboro NC. Yet, despite his success, Crosby continues to strive for more. He wants to be an example for what is possible. Despite limited access to capital and quality employees, he over-comes his challenges allowing nothing to stop him from pressing forward. Incidentally, not only is Crosby turning his passion for people into profits, but he is inspiring the communities he serves.
Chris Walton, Broward County Transit Transportation Director, is hopeful that Broward County is moving in the right direction with its inclusion of diversity. “It is very gratifying to finally see the emergence of minorities and women owned transportation businesses in the state of Florida. Nationally, Florida has lagged in Black and minority participation as equity partners in privately held ventures, so hopefully this is the start of a progressive trend in our state.”
McDonald believes that MyCity and other Small Business Develop will benefit from the efforts of his office and he has no reservations about what it is he is supposed to be doing.
“ I’ve been with the County over five years now. It’s been a quick five years and I would say a productive five years. I hope that I have and will continue to make a difference in supporting the growth and development of Small Businesses in Broward. What I hope I am offering along with my staff is more information and assistance. We want to share all we have, improve much more of the offerings, and make sure we are being of assistance and not hindrances to our small businesses. Time will tell if my office and I are being of assistance. Not because of growing the number of Certified Firms, that’s key, but the real test is increasing the number of awards and contracts to small businesses. We have to be concerned about getting small businesses paid. That is my push and for that I am unapologetic.”