By Jim A. Luff
I topped my eight hour day off yesterday with a two hour drive to Los Angeles to attend the GCLA (Greater California Livery Association) meeting followed by a two hour drive home just in time to catch the Late Show with David Letterman.
When people ask how far the drive is to attend the meeting, they seem to be shocked that I would spend four hours on the road just to attend the meeting. I must admit I sometimes have to ask myself why I torment myself in this manner.
Sure, I could read Martin Romjue’s blog post today and get all the info without spending $50 on gas and giving up six hours of my life, but there are so many reasons why personal attendance is important.
I always take an employee with me and that of course gives us quality bonding time, and an opportunity to increase the employee’s vision of the industry beyond the scope of our local operation. Then there is the personal contact with fellow operators who we farm orders to and receive orders from, and the chance to break bread with them.
You can’t sit around and gripe about the industry if you are not willing to go and voice your opinions and share your needs with the elected board of officers. Not to mention last night offered an opportunity to have direct one-on-one contact with one of the main honchos of the PUC. It was refreshing to know that the PUC actually cares about us as an industry, and is actually working to improve our relationship. That is a refreshing thought when considering the hoops it seems we must constantly jump through to stay legal while the illegal operators stay well under the radar and never seem to be bothered by PUC, CHP, LAX, and everyone else that wants to dictate our operations. Unless you were there to hear him speak and hear the level of sincerity in his voice, you might not believe it in writing.
It is also an opportunity to meet new operators who could possibly be of service in the future. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to a start-up operator who has been open for one month and STARTED business with 25 vehicles in Burbank. I also sat with our insurance agent, which always gives me an opportunity to beat him up about high insurance premiums just for the sport of it.
On a serious note, the relationship and time spent with officers of the GCLA could be invaluable in battling a future problem, and there just is no substitution for face to face development of friendships over a glass of wine. The social aspect is as important to me as business aspect because no one understands the crazy life we live like our peers.
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