In 2009, Chip Huffman, Former President & Founder of Nitetrain Coach Company, Inc. (a bus transport company), and Tandy Rice, President of Top Billing, Inc. (a sales/marketing company and booking agency), formed HUFFMAN & RICE, Inc. and the launch of The Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy and TOP BILLING Driver Placement Service.
This unprecedented foray into the bus transportation industry coincides with the 25th anniversary of Nitetrain Coach and the evolution of Nashville as the entertainment transportation headquarters of the United States.
“The new business venture will focus on specialized training and upgrading of driver credentials through The Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy, while TOP BILLING Driver Placement Service will qualify participants for elite, much-sought-after driving slots in the entertainment industry,” explains Rice. The Academy is designed to benefit the entire transportation industry, not just Nitetrain Coach, points out Huffman. “At present, we all share the common challenge of finding sufficient qualified drivers to meet the ongoing demand,” said Huffman. “We believe the Academy will alleviate that problem.”
A transportation executive for over 20 years, Huffman co-founded Nitetrain Coach Company in 1986 and ran the company for more than 20 years. When Huffman sold the company in 2010, they were providing 50-60 buses (all PREVOST Le Mirage XL II’s, primarily slide-outs) as year-round tour transportation for Rock, R&B, Christian and Country Music artists. The clients at that time included Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Kings of Leon, Korn, and Tool.
A former Country Music Association president and owner/operator of Top Billing, Inc. since 1968, Rice has worked with such superstars as Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. Additionally, he was the creator of Dean of George Jones University (2005-2008), and a former Adjunct Professor at Belmont University’s Curb School of Music.