The Martz Group bus company will continue a 107-year tradition of keeping it in the family.
After serving as the company’s chairman for more than 50 years, Frank Henry is making the transition to chairman emeritus. His son, Scott Henry, will replace him, though 82-year-old Frank has no plans to retire.
“My father will never retire. He got this in his blood,” Scott Henry said during an interview in Martz headquarters on Old River Road in Wilkes-Barre. “He will be involved through the board, which will meet three to four times a month. But he is here today. He comes in. When he’s here, he likes to see what’s going on. I will make all the decisions, but he’ll never retire.”
Frank Henry said he foresees a “smooth transition” as his son takes over.
“I’ll still be here,” he said. “If he needs some advice, I’ll give him some even if he doesn’t need it, probably.”
Frank Henry will remain active on the board that, in addition to him and his son, includes his daughter Marjorie Marquart, secretary and vice president, along with additional members Charles Parente and Jack Haugsland, former vice president of operations for Greyhound.
Scott Henry, 57, is the fourth generation in his family working for Martz. He started working for the company at 14, cleaning buses before he got his driver’s license. After he graduated, he started working for Martz full-time in 1981.
He’s done just about every job in the company. After cleaning buses, he worked in dispatch and the tour department and was a ticket agent for a few years. He ran the charter and tour departments and became president about 15 years ago. He said he has been fortunate to work with his father, who has led by example, and being named chairman is an honor.
“It’s something I have looked forward to all of my life,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be able to do it and still have the counsel of my father when I need to talk to him about things that he has much more experience than I’ll ever have.”
Martz Lines, which provides services like charters and sightseeing tours, was started in 1908 in Plymouth by Scott Henry’s great-grandfather, Frank Martz Sr. The company’s original name was the White Transit Company.
Frank Martz Sr. supervised the construction of a 1912 white bus that is still displayed at parades and special occasions in Pennsylvania and, at times, nationally. It is the oldest existing antique bus in the country.
Upon the death of Frank Martz Sr. in 1936, his son Frank Martz Jr. took over the company.
Frank Martz Jr., whose sister Marjorie Martz was married to Scott Henry’s grandfather Leonard Henry, died in a helicopter accident in 1964 and Frank Henry subsequently took control of the company.
Frank Henry has grown the company from 65 employees when he started to about 550 today. The number of buses has grown from 35 to 260.
In addition to Pennsylvania, the corporation also operates in Washington D.C., Virginia and Florida. Its bus terminals are in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Mount Pocono, Delaware Water Gap, Philadelphia and New York City.
Frank Henry has been active throughout all Martz Group companies, which include Gold Line, National Coach Works, First Class Coach and Martz Trailways.
Among the plans for Martz’s future, Scott Henry said the company just started a service called “hop-on-hop-off sightseeing” in Washington D.C. and is bidding a large contract management service to do the shuttle to Dulles International Airport.
“We have some big plans for going forward,” he said.
The biggest business for Martz out of Wilkes-Barre is taking people to New York City, he said.
“Years ago, we got started taking people to work and that’s what we do the most of now,” he said. “We run 59 buses a day into New York City.”
In addition to transporting commuters to work, Martz trips to New York City also are popular among buyers and sightseers, he said.
“We have some that commute every day out of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton,” he said. “It’s more economical and it’s also quicker. With the exclusive bus lane, you could get into the city in a bus quicker than you can in a car.”
Martz also offers trips to Atlantic City and Washington D.C. and offers a number of tours and trips to sporting events.
Both Frank and Scott Henry credit the employees for Martz’s success over the years.
“The people have been the magic of our success,” Frank Henry said. “We’ve been able to gather together, both here and other locations, people we can trust, count on and do a marvelous job.”