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Drivers of motorcoaches for big-name entertainers and crews  hold a special skill set that few have an opportunity to learn.  The  Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy is opening opportunities for drivers to  learn this expertise through hands-on training.  Founded last summer by  Chip Huffman and Tandy Rice, the Academy is supported by Prevost, the  leading manufacturer of entertainer coaches since the company pioneered  the conversion shell market in 1978. Prevost coaches provide a  one-of-a-kind, luxury product to accommodate the unique lifestyle of  performers and VIPs.

The Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy will conduct a spring and fall  class in 2011. The next class is scheduled for April 20-22, 2011, in  Nashville, TN at Prevost’s Service Center.  Academy instruction will be  provided by Prevost training technicians, technicians from the coach  conversion industry, and professionals from the entertainer coach  leasing business, including veteran drivers, leasing agents, and  owners.  A Prevost coach conversion shell and a converted Prevost  entertainer coach will be on hand to help students become familiar with  the vehicles they may someday be driving.

After completing the class, drivers have the opportunity to enlist  in the Top Billing Driver Placement Service.  From the inaugural class  last year and a second class in the fall, 15 students are already  available for placement during this summer’s touring season.  Placements  can be full-time or temporary, but all are within the entertainment  industry.  Fifteen more students are expected to be ready for the summer  season from the upcoming class in April.

Chip Huffman, CEO of the Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy tells of the  student’s only complaint.  “The reaction of students has been  overwhelmingly positive.  ‘Rave reviews,’ as they say in show business.   The only ‘complaint’ was that we overloaded them with valuable  information!  I always point out to potential students that they need to  get plenty of rest and be prepared to take notes, because we are going  to have an INTENSIVE three days of training!”

Mike Alford, a student of the fall 2010 class says, “I was  fortunate enough to attend this class and my hat is off to you!  The  hospitality from Prevost was great and much appreciated.  The  information and learning from the top people in this business was  invaluable.  Thank you to the tour managers, bus contractors, drivers,  security and bus builders for taking your time and sharing your  expertise with us.  I would encourage anyone wanting to learn to operate  all the aspects of this type of coach, and what it really takes to be  in this business, to apply for the next class.”

Huffman has envisioned running such a school for two decades. As  the former owner and founder of Nitetrain Coach, he recalls “constantly  fielding calls from drivers who hoped to ‘drive for the stars.’ There’s  an overwhelming interest in this market, and a huge need for training.  The Academy intends to answer that need, and we’re pleased to have the  support of Prevost to help prepare drivers for this vibrant industry.”

Further information, scheduling and registration for 2011 can be found at  http://huffman-rice.com.
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