Meet Our Founder
More than 35 years ago, a young man named Dawson Rutter bought a single vehicle – a 1982 Cadillac “Formal” Limousine – with a clear vision, to provide a level of personalized service that would keep customers coming back again and again. To demonstrate attention to detail and consistency of delivery that would foster a sterling reputation in the community was something he had strived for as a taxicab driver during the ‘70s.
Today, by virtue of those core tenets, Dawson’s company, Commonwealth Worldwide Executive Transportation, has access to thousands of luxury vehicles in more than 85 countries across the globe, with wholly owned fleets in New York and Boston. What makes Commonwealth unique in the industry is an uncommon dedication to consistency and commitment.
“Our entire organization takes great pride in keeping our incident rate extremely low in all facets of our business. Out of every 1,000 rides we complete, there are less than five legitimate occurrences where we fail to deliver flawless service to our customers, from reservations all the way through accounting” says Rutter. “Of course that’s still around five too many for my liking.”
He’s witnessed a great deal of evolution in the transportation industry. “The level of professionalism in our business has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three decades,” Dawson observes. “Just the development in technology alone has made it possible for us to far exceed what we envisioned could be accomplished in this business.”
“When you think about it, at any given moment – of any given day of the year – we are directly responsible for hundreds of passengers worldwide,” he said. “It boggles the mind – we start a new ride somewhere in the world every 1.3 minutes! We’ve been able to develop mobile and desktop technology that allows our clients to instantly access any and all details of their trip, including real-time GPS tracking and one-touch communication with their chauffeur.”
Born in Philadelphia, but growing up near New York City, Dawson learned entrepreneurial skills at the young age of eight, peddling greeting cards, magazines and plant seedlings from a little red cart. Having decided to pursue college in Boston, “You learn pretty fast that a quality education isn’t cheap, even back then. I drove a cab for 10 years until a friend of mine started working for a limo company.”
“I decided that I liked the air conditioning and the cleaner clientele much better than the cab,” he reflects. Fast forwarding to today, Commonwealth has been selected “Best of Boston” seven times and won the New York City “Concierge Choice” Award for Best Limousine Service. They recently added the national TLPA "Limousine and Sedan Operator of the Year" to their accolades.
“We continuously look forward. New technology. New safety programs. New, constant investments in our people, fleet, procedures and systems,” Rutter explains of the company’s success over the years. “We over-prepare. Our level of readiness is such that we are always able to handle 105% of our busiest day. We always want to keep our promises, so our clients can keep theirs.”
Through it all, Commonwealth Worldwide is still a family business. Dawson’s brother, Scott, has headed the local New York operation since its inception in 2004 – a key market for enhancing the company’s industry presence. “We’ve quickly become one of the largest chauffeured transportation companies in the City,” says Dawson. “We’ve concentrated on catering to financial road shows, luxury hotels, general aviation and entertainment, all keys to our success in New York.”
“In fact, we have a dedicated team of professionals who specialize solely in the intricacies of road shows, aviation and special events,” he states. “That’s how we’ve developed our business model.”
“We take good care of our people,” he continues. “Our team members are amongst the highest earners in the business. That’s why they stay here. Let’s face it; there are many options these days for drivers. We’ve had our share of employees think ‘the grass is greener,’ but nine out of ten usually come back when they find out it’s not.”
Commonwealth Worldwide also takes care of the community. Each year, they support charitable causes such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Fisher House (providing housing for injured soldiers’ families) and The Joey Fund for Cystic Fibrosis and are a major benefactor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops (pictured with the "maestro" himself!).
Dawson served on the National Limousine Association Board of Directors for nine years and maintains an active and vocal role within the industry.