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Inspiring Conversations with Marina Lofley of Crowned Care Transport

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marina Lofley.

Hi Marina, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Land O Lakes, Florida and after high school I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration in Gainesville. Upon graduation, I began working in the automotive industry and relocated to Spring Hill, Florida. Given the opportunity to have a fresh start, I decided to pursue my dreams of being an entrepreneur. “How did you get into this business?” This question is something I am asked on a daily basis. I often times can’t put together the words without getting choked up. January 2021 marked the anniversary of the passing of both of my grandmothers. “Grandma Starling” passed 13 years ago and “Granny B” passed one year ago. While they both have been a driving force in my long days and sleepless nights, it was truly my “Granny Bs” experience that led me on this journey. Transportation companies never called her, never showed up.

She had lung cancer along with an array of other health concerns. My grandma’s appointments were medically necessary. Myself and my family were working full-time, we couldn’t always drive two hours to take her to her frequent appointments. I didn’t understand why these companies kept booking appointments but failing to arrive. Failing to arrive for ESSENTIAL appointments. I began researching and realized this is VERY common. Then, I spent 18 months obtaining certifications, insurance, licenses, and contracts. I did this for her. For every mother, father, grandmother and grandfather who relies on medical transportation. Before I could see my grandmas smiling face as she stepped foot in my van, she passed away January 21, 2020. While she may not be here any longer to receive transportation, I am here to assist as many people as possible. This isn’t just a business. This is personal. Today and every day, my grandmas ride with me. Even with my company’s remarkable growth, Crowned Care Transport remains a small owned and operated business. My company now services counties in Florida such as: Pasco, Hernando and Citrus. I chose to operate in these cities because I know my services are in high demand due to growing numbers of the aging population in these areas. Crowned Care Transport provides highly essential non-emergency medical transportation services for disadvantaged Medicaid recipients, the elderly, those with disabilities and those who have low incomes who have no form of transportation to access healthcare services when the need arises.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My journey as a business owner has been everything but smooth. While we may have entered into an era of women’s empowerment, it doesn’t make the road to entrepreneurship easy. From the moment I started obtaining proper licensing and insurance, I was bombarded with naysayers. Everyone, including insurance agents, wanted to chime in on my plans and voice their opinions about “Being a business owner isn’t easy” or “you’re not ready for this.” I managed to brush off the negative comments and push on. Between obtaining capital, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation commercial insurance and purchasing vehicles, it took me over 18 months to finally begin accepting clients. On top of the already complicated entrepreneurship journey, I also started my company during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As you know, we’re big fans of Crowned Care Transport. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Crowned Care Transport is a N0n-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) company. NEMT is a key benefit for those who need transportation to and from appointments such as: Dialysis, Doctor & Dentist appointments, chemotherapy, hospital discharges and more. Crowned Care Transport offers transportation for wheelchair and non-wheelchair clients as well as stretcher transportation. Many of my competitors overbook their schedules, leave clients stranded at healthcare facilities for hours or just never show up. Crowned Care Transport was opened due to personal reasons therefore I ensure every client who is booked with my company, never misses an appointment. Each client receives the treatment I wish my grandmother could’ve got. NEMT is in existence to ensure nobody must miss essential appointments, improve overall health, have access to preventative care as well as avoiding costly Emergency Medical Services bills.

How do you think about happiness?
My happiness stems from my clients and my family. Many people we transport live alone or in assisted living facilities. Especially with COVID-19, there are many instances where their transportation with me is their only human interaction for the day or even the week. They are thrilled to get out of their room and have someone to speak to. As someone who has also struggled with depression for years I understand many of my clients are also facing this. Many people, especially wheelchair bound patients, do not have a way to get out, or even grocery shop. I have taken many clients to grocery stores and malls. Seeing their face light up when I arrive is all of the reassurance I need to know I am making a difference. My family is also a major factor in my happiness. I wouldn’t have made it this far without their constant support. Ever since I was a little girl my parents have ensured I have had everything I have ever wanted and more. They have reassured me I can do anything I put my mind to. I enjoy spending time with my parents any chance I get. As a family we love to be outdoors, especially on the boat.

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