If you haven’t already heard about the Pulse Party Bus or what some refer to as the “Drunk Bus,” now’s your chance, and by none other than the founder and owner himself. Austin Witt is a recent UW-Stout graduate who saw an opportunity to help make our campus and the community a safer place, by providing sober transportation. You’re probably thinking, “what a genius” or even “what a hero,” but he’s not just a fun bus driver who cares about getting intoxicated college kids home safely, he’s also the creator of and DJ for Pulse Entertainment. He’s kind of all over the place, but in the best way possible, so meet Campus Celeb – Austin Witt!
Name: Austin Witt
Businesses: Pulse Party Bus LLC / Pulse Entertainment / Kiewit
Occupation: I currently am a Business Supervisor for Kiewit Construction based out of the Minneapolis area.
When were you a student at UW Stout and what did you study?
I was a student at UW-Stout from Fall of 2010 – Fall of 2015. My degree is in Business Administration with an emphasis in Construction Management.
How did you get the idea to start the Pulse Party Bus?
Back in November, one of the members on our “Pulse Entertainment crew” Facebook page put a craigslist ad up for this bus for sale in Chippewa Falls and told me to buy it. I thought about it for a couple weeks or so, thinking how it in could actually be profitable, be used more than just in the summer or for private rentals, create jobs for college kids, as well as finding a way to give back to the Stout community. I talked to about 10 insurance agencies, got quotes, got laughed at because of how young we all were and the last one I called gave us a great insurance rate and approved us for taxi insurance. After that hurdle was overcome, I pulled the trigger on purchasing the bus.
How successful has it been so far?
We rolled out the bus New Year’s Eve and had around 250 riders in the 8 hours that we drove. It was slow the two weekends after that when most students were gone. This past weekend we had 271 riders in the three nights we ran. Every weekend is more successful than the past because the word is getting out to more students of the service we offer and the great job that our crew does every time we work. We do have a large overhead cost with insurance and maintenance on the bus, so we have to stay busy to stay in business.
Tell us about the Bus’ rates and services.
The 2016 bus rates are $3 per rider when we use it at a shuttle/taxi service on Wednesday – Saturday nights 9pm-3am. When used for private party rentals, the bus rate is $65 per hour before 9pm. The bus rate per hour after 9pm is $95. The bus holds 14 people plus the driver. When dividing the cost out between 14 riders it becomes a very cheap fun way to get to where you’re going. The bus features an Alpine 1200 Watt Surround Sound System as well as a smart LED lighting system that was designed and installed by another UW-Stout graduate.
Best and weirdest moments/experiences?
The best/weirdest moment so far came on NYE this year. We picked an older guy up that was all alone and pretty intoxicated outside the downtown bars. He ended up riding with us for a few stops and eventually it was just him, the coordinator, and myself. He then started singing Jason Aldean to us and he then made sure he hugged us both before he got off the bus. That made things a bit weird considering we both had never met him before. Right before he got off the bus though, he turned back to us and said “You guys probably saved my life tonight, thanks!” Whether it was just the alcohol talking or him sobering up and being serious…it was a nice thing to hear because that was one of the reasons why this business was started, to get people home safely.
Tell us about your djing and how that all started.
When I was in middle school, the best parts of the year were the times that the older High School Student Council kids would come to dj dances for us. My dad had some dj speakers and lights out in our shop, so when I was a freshman I asked the Middle School Advisor if I could dj a dance for $50 bucks. October 27st of 2006 I dj’d my first dance. Since then, things have come a long way. Fall of my freshman year of college I started working for Night Storm Party, which was a traveling dance club that went around the Midwest in which I gained marketing experience as well as worked my way up to being the backup DJ. After a year on that crew, I felt like my company needed a name rather than “Let’s have Austin come DJ.” The Pulse Entertainment name was founded on August 11th of 2011. Since then, the company has worked hard marketing itself and now we are at 20,160 followers on Facebook.
What can we expect from Pulse Entertainment this year?
To start off, you will see us at UW-Stout’s upcoming Pond Hockey tournament with a bigger and better setup than last year. This year Pulse Entertainment’s contracts have grown by 400%. We recently teamed up with Alluring Acre’s, which is a new rustic barn wedding venue in Northern Wisco,. and we’re djing most of their weddings for the upcoming summer wedding season. We have 10 or so high school dances scheduled for the year. We also are rolling out “Club Pulse Tour” this summer, which is a traveling teen dance club. The first event is on June 25th in Eau Claire, WI. Depending on how this year goes for Pulse Party Bus LLC, we are planning to buy another bus to eventually expand into River Falls and/or Eau Claire.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future consist of continuing to work in the Business Supervisor role at Kiewit here in Minneapolis. With the help of the great crew of guys who each bring specific talents to the company that make up Pulse Entertainment and Pulse Party Bus LLC, we will continue to build these two companies into something that once was just an idea. We will also continue to #PulseOn.
Be Sure to check out Pulse Entertainment on social media: