Delivering First Class Valet service to the Australian market
“From a ‘crazy dream’ to a market reality.” That’s how Managing Director, Robert (Rob) Horton describes the arrival of First Class Valet onto the Australian market.
Robert Horton is the founder and Managing Director of First Class Valet Pty Ltd.
Robert is an effective, versatile leader with over 20 years experience in leadership, corporate and institutional banking, project management and relationship management at the Executive level.
The knowledge and values that Robert applies today was acquired during his formative years with Merrill Lynch, ANZ Bank, the U.S. Army and his time at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Robert is a confident self-assured leader, who knows how to manage teams and has the discipline and organizational skills to manage and grow large organizations.
After graduating from West Point, Robert moved to Frankfurt, Germany to fulfill his obligation to the United States Army as a Commissioned Officer. His professional career started in an international setting, igniting a passion for Global business and cultural awareness.
While obtaining his Masters in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University – Cox School of Business, Robert was recruited by Merrill Lynch to join their Houston office. After graduating from Business School, Robert joined Merrill Lynch through a Global leadership program in the capacity of a Client Manager Associate, analyzing clients’ financial needs and driving deal activity. Robert transferred to the Sydney office to join Merrill’s Corporate and Institutional arm for a few years learning the Australian market in a similar capacity. After a few years, Robert went on to manage one of the largest portfolio’s for Australian New Zealand Bank, managing the Big 4 accounting firms globally across 16 jurisdictions. It was here where Robert was able to showcase his ability to influence, grow and drive organizational strategy on a global platform across leading organizations.
As an athlete and lifelong competitor, Robert sees business as the world’s greatest game. His attention to detail and competitive tenacity has allowed him to grow First Class Valet at an aggressive pace, creating a clear distinction between the First Class Valet offering and that of the competition. First Class Valet is much more than a valet parking company, but a facilitator of strategic growth and heightened experiences.
Robert holds a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
As a versatile dynamic thinker, Lesley-Ann has worked across many industries. Beginning her career in Hospitality through completing her Hospitality Management Diploma, Lesley-Ann worked in the industry for many years in roles spanning from Food and Beverage, to Event Management and Front of House. Lesley-Ann can understand the importance of customer experience through her experiences and continues to hold customer service in extremely high regard.
Moving from Hospitality, to banking and finance which took her across the seas to work in London for Deloitte &Touche LLP within the Brand and Image Department, this is where she learnt the craft of marketing and was able to scratch that creative itch that was always lingering. This role eventually lead to her returning to Australia to begin a sales and marketing role for Australian Radio Network. She flourished being able to incorporate sales into her repertoire of knowledge and was awarded through exceeding expectations and producing the most creative campaigns.
Soon after that, Lesley-Ann found herself becoming a mother for the first time and moved across Europe and America to begin building a life for her family. Whilst in Texas during the GFC, Lesley-Ann took on a supportive role to Senior Principles in the IT industry within their marketing department. This enhanced her level of organization, and again allowed creativity to flourish through network campaigns.
After returning to Sydney, Australia for the final time, she re-entered the workforce as a Senior Executive Assistant, and quickly was promoted to as a Media Executive for AMP Capital, in the Shopping Centro industry. Lesley-Ann gained a wealth of knowledge about the industry and again was able to manage a team which lead to an increase in productivity and opportunities.
With this wealth of worldly experience and knowledge, She now is the National Director of First Class Valet, heading the marketing & commercialization piece of the business. A company which was born out of the sheer frustration of lack of parking in Sydney. Her entrepreneurial spirit stems from her desire to always think unrelentingly big, work for herself, and finding that right balance between work and life.
Exemplary service begins with the selection and training of personnel who meet our exacting standards. Selection is based on skills, attitude, and teaching ability. Training of our staff begins with an intensive class on legal, safety, and service requirements – and is followed up with constant evaluation of service and skills.
Our approach empowers our front-line personnel to take the initiative and deal with issues on the spot. In the high-pressure atmosphere of a major event or very busy location, the test of quality is measured by the experience and diplomacy of our people.
Your customers’ first and last experience is with the valet service. As a direct reflection of your establishment, we strive to ensure that the impressions formed by your customers are consistent with the excellence you demand and they deserve.
First Class Valet is fully insured with one of the most comprehensive policies in the industry.
First Class Valet provides the following coverage:
- $10,000,000 Public & Products Liability
- $500,000 Property in Physical or Legal Control
- $100,000 Driving Risk
First Class Valet provides Valet Services, Parking Management, Traffic Control, Transportation Services, and Greeter Services throughout Australia for events large and small. No event is too large or too small.
Our attendants recognize that they are an extension of every client they represent. What’s more, our management has the experience to ask the important questions to properly set up, staff and operate valet parking services at any venue.
Rob and business partner Lesley-Ann, have both forged
successful commercial careers.
Rob, as a graduate from the famed West Point US Military Academy, followed this with his service in the US Army. Then again, graduating with his MBA tucked firmly under his arm forged a career in investment banking creating an opportunity for him to transfer from USA to his wife’s home country of Australia.
Lesley-Ann who grew up in Sydney, also a career executive in major corporates, joined a large retail development company specialising in commercialisation.
After living in the USA for several years, not long after settling back in Australia, they were presented with a realisation that there was a significant ‘gap’ in the Australian market for a service they each ‘took for granted’ when living overseas, ie; first class valet parking. Sure, there was a small number of venues and shopping centres claiming to provide valet parking, but nothing of the quality or calibre that Rob and Lesley-Ann thought worthy of the venue, brands or the clientele frequenting these venues.
Together, they left their corporate lives behind in an audacious and brave pursuit of their dream, to create a business that would provide Australian businesses and their guests with a quality valet experience that delivers ‘above and beyond’ for all concerned; a value-adding service to venues and a ‘wow’ experience that would have their guests advocating their experience to others and returning again, and again. Today First Class Valet parks on average over 6,000 cars per month.
Like many success stories, the rest as they say; ‘is history’.
First Class Valet was established in Sydney since 2014, and has grown nationally to other states