Industry Research

EmpireCLS Chief Dishes Industry Info

Posted on November 11, 2011

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EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services CEO David Seelinger leads one of the largest chauffeured transportation providers in the world.
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services CEO David Seelinger leads one of the largest chauffeured transportation providers in the world.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — One of the leading limousine executives in the U.S. outlined the top trends and toughest topics related to the chauffeured transportation industry before hundreds of operators gathered at a trade show this week.

In a State of the Industry speech, EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services CEO David Seelinger told operators attending the annual Limousine Digest Show to: Avoid cutting rates; tap the growing business travel market; and accept that the employee-based business model is moving forward. He also called the Lincoln MKT a “camel.”  

Seelinger, also the founder and CEO of online start-up, leads a New Jersey-based global chauffeured transportation company that generates about $165 million in annual revenues. It is the largest privately held transportation company in the world. EmpireCLS operates about 725 company-owned vehicles in the U.S., according to the 2011 LCT 100 Largest Fleets List. Seelinger also has received numerous ground transportation and travel industry related awards.

But before addressing the substantive issues facing the industry, Seelinger started his talk on an unusual comedic note addressing personal rumors about him circulating in the industry.

The rumors have been swirling even faster since Seelinger appeared during the opening night of the LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach on Sept. 12 while wearing jogging shorts and a T-shirt and escorting a leashed German Shepherd through a Ritz-Carlton reception room. The happy-hour-timed cameo sparked all kinds of questions and speculation among bewildered attendees who were sipping diverse beverages. He later told LCT that evening that the dog is a pet and she accompanies him on most of his travels.

Seelinger sought to dispel rumors about him, both pre- and post-Summit: “This industry is full of rumors and there are a lot of ‘Yentas’ out there,” he quipped to audience laughter.

  • No, his dog is not an attack dog. Her name is “Rayka,” and she travels with him. “I dig my companion. I’m just an animal lover.”
  • No, he does not have any bodyguards. His “entourage” that accompanies him are employees who work with him.
  • No, he and is company are not bankrupt.
  • No, he did not get bought by Commonwealth Worldwide CEO Dawson Rutter, or Flyte Tyme Limousine CEO Tim Rose.
  • No, he is not buying another company.
  • No, he is not leaving his wife to marry a man. “There is nothing wrong with that,” he added, and then called out and praised his wife sitting in the audience.

With scuttlebutt diffused for now, Seelinger drew upon his 26-year executive-level perspective to remind operators that while the economy is in a slow growth mode, they must never lose their entrepreneurial drive and touch.

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