Queens-based DH2 Chauffeured Transportation has successfully provided ground transportation service in the New York Metro Area since 1995. As an active business community leader, Nancy Vargas has roles on the boards of The JFK Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club of LaGuardia Airport, The Long Island Transportation Association, and The Limousine Association of New York. She is an active member of The JFK Chamber of Commerce, The New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, The Queens Chamber of Commerce, The Limousine Association of New Jersey, The Central Florida Livery Association, and The National Limousine Association. Nancy Vargas, a native New Yorker, currently resides with her family in College Point, Queens.
1. How did you come to have a transportation company?
Our company was founded by my husband, Mike Vargas, in 1995. At the time, I was simply the supportive wife with a corporate job. His great passion for providing client satisfaction and duty of care was inspiring, so I left my job to focus on helping to grow our business. My passion for the transportation industry grew, as did my interest in raising the bar for customer service with an emphasis on safety and compliance.
I became CEO of DH2 in 2016 when the company shifted its focus to advanced certifications, fortifying local alliances, and expanding with global partners. In 2017, DH2 became MWBE Certified with The City of New York and The Port Authority. We also became MWBE certified with The State of New York in December 2018. DH2 is our investment in our family, our community, and a vehicle to provide safe ground transportation globally.
2. What challenges have you faced breaking into the airport community, and what are some of your most important successes?
The biggest challenge is competing with larger companies in our industry. However, I will say that the airport community is receptive to learning more about DH2 and allowing us to bid on new RFPs, and give us an opportunity to showcase our vehicles and service.
Providing the DH2 experience from start to finish is our priority. We are very aware of how critical time management is for us, so another challenge that we face is to decide where and how we can build meaningful relationships within this community. Being a small business means everyone here wears many hats. Our primary focus is safety, and seeing the latest technologies implemented at Terminal 4 is confirmation that DH2 is attending to the right details. That feels like success!
Being nominated as Vice President of the JFK Rotary Chapter is a tremendous personal success. Being an active participant with The JFK Rotary, The JFK Chamber of Commerce, and The Queens Chamber of Commerce allows DH2 to build upon relationships and new business opportunities.
3. We know you as part of the airport community; however, you are part of a larger global network of transportation providers. Tell us about how you balance both.
Global travel continues to grow day to day and DH2 has invested in partnering with quality affiliates around the globe. Our international partners know us as their go-to resource for all of their transportation needs in NYC and the tri-state area. We often travel to different markets to see first-hand our affiliate operations to ensure that they align with our brand in New York.
We also invite partners to NY so they can recognize the magnitude of managing ground transportation here. They quickly agree that DH2 is their best affiliate partner to trust with their clients. There have been many surveys conducted to determine why decision-makers will choose a large franchise over an independent. The main reason listed is “for consistent reliability”. That’s what DH2 offers over technology rideshare and huge conglomerates. Our personal touch is on every reservation we complete. Whether domestically or internationally- our clients know DH2 will get them there and back safely and reliably.
4. Tell us about how DH2 partners with local and global organizations to help make a difference.
DH2 continues to strive to be a vehicle for service. We want our fleet of vehicles to be dispatched to various efforts that will improve the human condition. During Hurricane Maria, DH2 was invested in bringing relief to the people of Puerto Rico, and we had boots on the ground to accomplish this mission. To date, much of DH2’s volunteering has been contributing as a volunteer in areas that give back to our local community as well as in Puerto Rico. We have been happy to do it; and will continue to contribute in that role. Moving into 2019, we will take a lead role with a charity that aligns with our Vision and Mission. Stay tuned for more details on this, but we’re excited to have more input into strategy and programs that will take advantage of what our strongest contributions will be in 2019.
5. What advice would you give a small business getting ready to start the M/WBE certification process?
My biggest advice to someone getting ready to start the process of becoming MWBE Certified is to follow through patiently and stay committed to going to the finish line. As CEO of DH2, my time is best spent building relationships and expanding our revenue streams. The operational side of the business can eat into the time I need to perform my daily activities.
This is why in 2016, Mike and I swapped roles so that we could utilize our strengths to lead DH2 into the future. As I went through the process, I knew that the M/WBE certification was a priority. I would recommend setting aside time to focus on accomplishing this certification process. Make it a time you look forward to, so put on some inspiring music, get yourself a nice meal or a hot cup of a special tea, and dive in! Also, be sure to stay in contact with Albany to insure your document package is moving along. I think the perseverance of the process partially verifies the quality of the seal. Don’t give up. Don’t leave money on the table. The hard work that you put into the process is well worth it when you are awarded a contract.