TORONTO! -- Will anyone show up? Will they have fun? Will they like the sessions and social events? Oh, how these questions and concerns can drive the organizers and leaders of a first-time conference batty enough to drink. . .
. . . which happened, of course, but by choice not necessity. The quick answer to all three questions is a resounding: YES. Whether or not this conference breaks even, it definitely was a worthwhile investment in a vital partnership between LCT Magazine, the leading B2B media organization for the worldwide chauffeured transportation industry, and Canadian limousine and chauffeured vehicle operators.
One statistic that impresses us here at LCT Magazine is the fact that one out of every 10 operators who attend our annual International LCT Show extravaganza in Las Vegas come from nations outside the U.S. That means it's not all about US anymore, as in the United States. In an increasingly interdependent and growing real-time global economy, chauffeured transportation must cross-connect as a cohesive network of worldwide operators, seamlessly doing business for mutual clients in many nations.
LCT Magazine will be devoting more coverage and attention to our global friends, starting with the Canadian operators and on to Europe. There is a lot the American industry can offer foreign operators, and as this conference demonstrated, vice-versa. For example, one of the leading innovators in the industry is Justin Raymond, president of Green Ride Global of Toronto who works closely with both American and Canadian operators to help them retool their businesses to run more efficiently in a sustainable manner. Raymond assured operators that "silver bullets" in the form of greener engines and energies are on the way that will sacrifice no amenities for luxury chauffeured transportation.
The conference also gave a boost to the Ontario Limousine Association by explaining the importance of strength in numbers among operators. As National Limousine Association president Richard Kane told the conference, added membership in the NLA and OLA can only enhance industry clout on regulatory issues while providing members with helpful resources and connections to succeed. Kane encouraged Canadian operators to join the NLA, which functions as the leading association for operators in the U.S. and abroad.
Another positive development that helps put the Canadian chauffeured transportation industry on the map is the fact that Executive Coach Builders of Springfield, Mo, the second largest builder of limousines in the world, plans to open the first-ever full-time limousine dealership in Canada later this year at a location in Toronto. Executive CEO David Bakare brought his sales team and their signature Evolution stretch SUV limousine to the conference. Bakare's presence marks a milestone in how the American and Canadian chauffeured transportation sectors will become more cooperative and cross-border dependent.
Finally, our hats off to Ron Stein, owner of Exclusive Sedan Service in Los Angeles, who figured out what we hope more American operators do. While this conference was planned by and for Canadian operators, with information geared toward their industry, LCT Canada Conference offers an easy opportunity for American operators to network and arrange mutual affiliate work and network in the industry. Ron says he's glad he went and picked up some good leads.
As to some first impressions: Toronto is a clean, organized, civil, highly walkable global city that appears half-American, half-European. The Canadians were exceedingly friendly and polite, and had it not been for the lack of palm trees, I would have thought I had never left those laid-back Southern Californians. There's a subtle European tempo in Toronto's diverse and sophisticated downtown area.
Overall, we at LCT Magazine are thrilled with having set down a solid foundation for what will become a growing business partnership in the future.
By Martin Romjue, LCT Editor
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