By Lani Gering
Grace Executive Service – Take A Ride With Francene!
Most of the businesses that we profile here are of the run of the mill retail type with a few entrepreneurial types tossed in the mix. Grace Executive Service falls into the latter category.
Arriving in the metro DC area in the fall of 1987, Francene Hudson left the Hoosier State of Indiana and a very abusive ex-husband and embarked on a new phase in her life. Not really knowing exactly what she was going to do, but in need of a job, she decided to answer a help wanted plea at Burlington Coat Factory. Afterall, you never know what can happen in the world of retail. She was hired immediately and made the “Manager of Handbags and Accessories”. She was settling in to her new role in retail when she waited on a gentleman named Eddie White and his wife during the Christmas season. Evidently she made a big impression on Mr. White – White Limousine Services – and he asked her to apply for a position in his business. She was very up front with the fact that she could drive but couldn’t read a map to save her soul but he told her he was looking for someone to work in his office. She did as he asked and once again was hired on the spot. Shortly after she was working on the books at White she discovered that the current manager had been embezzling. He was fired and this meant an immediate promotion for her. She subsequently became business partners with White and they ran the business until his health failed and he wanted to sell his half of the business. Long story short, she went into business with a family member and that didn’t work out so she moved on.
During her time at White, Francene did learn how to read a map and had a pretty good handle on the area and had been behind the wheel for quite some time. One of their major clients was NBC and that is when she met Tim Russert and pretty much became his driver. When things fell apart at White, it was Russert who gave Francene a hand up. She tells me that he called her “Franny” and when he heard what was happening he wanted to loan her $10,000.00 on her good faith to help her start out on her own. That is when Grace Executive Service was launched. She purchased some vehicles and put together drivers and was off to the races. Keeping the clientele at NBC and picking up clients the likes of Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan who she tells me is a different person when he’s not on the air and who she drives for on a regular basis), Francene has driven people from all walks of life. Russert’s untimely death was hard on Francene but she is thankful every day for what he did for her.
When I asked what made her decide to name her business Grace Executive, she simply said, “It came about by God’s grace.” While she says she is in no way a “bible banger” she is a woman of faith. She has had many highs and many lows in her life and she attributes the fact that she has persevered to her faith. She is the sole proprietor of Grace Executive and the only full time driver. She told me that with the advent of the Uber Black Car program and competition from the large limo services it has been harder and harder to maintain business. Her specialty is one-on-one service and welcomes new clients on a daily basis. If you are looking for someone who is trustworthy, dedicated and diligent about her job, Francene is your person. She also has the capability and resources to arrange transportation for any events and excursions in the metro area.
The Old Town Crier strives to help small businesses in our distribution area and we sincerely hope that if you have a need for personal and or business transportation services at a reasonable price with one-on-one attention, contact Francene.
Grace Executive Service