Coffee with … Kevin East

Family comes first for owner of Ambassador Shuttle

Kevin East with his children

Kevin East with his children

Kevin East knows the importance of family.

It was family that transplanted him from the prairies to Vancouver Island, it’s family that gives him motivation to take care of his customers every day, and it’s family that inspired him to begin a dad-centred website and support/networking group in the Comox Valley.

Originally from Manitoba, East explains he “took a leap of faith” when he and his family decided to pack their bags and head west to the Valley.

“I quit my job, (my wife) transferred her job, and then I met Ray (Crossley).”

East worked with the late Comox councillor and owner of Ambassador Shuttle for three days before he passed away, and with the Crossley family knowing East wanted to buy the business, six months later ownership was transferred.

“Let’s continue his legacy; let’s rock it,” adds East. “I’m very grateful for the support of the community. Everyone knew of Ray, so we got off to a good start.”

With two vans and two drivers, East has grown his business to the capacity where he can now serve the entire Island with his fleet of 10 vehicles including shuttles, taxis, limos and buses.

East works closely with other similar businesses across the Island, and notes there is room for everyone to work closely and collaboratively – he says it ensures the best customer service possible for guests and visitors to the area.

Working with a variety of customers from airport pick-ups to charters, he says he’s inspired by the stories and conversations he’s had over the years.

“I’ve been thinking for awhile about writing a book – Chronicles of a Taxi Driver,” he notes with a laugh.

As his business grew, East realized the balance between business and family life wasn’t even, and made him question himself about what is more important.

“I wanted to pull back a bit and do something good,” he says. He was inspired from many conversations he had between some of his customers – namely those who were shuttling between the Comox Valley and Fort McMurray who were away from their families for weeks at a time.

“That’s where the idea started – I want to create a Dad page (website) dedicated to dads: their stories, thinking about their children and their wives.”

East hopes to create the page within the next six months, in addition to starting a weekly ‘Dad’s Club’ – an informal breakfast meeting where dads can come together, meet new people and network.