Livery industry gathers at L&C Show in Baltimore to confer on issues, view exhibits and limousines.
The heated debate over the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) rights of limousine operators and the “restrictive” licensing requirements of the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission (T&LC) continued at the Limousine & Chauffeur Show in Baltimore from December 8-10, 1991.
Jeremy Kahn, attorney for Kahn & Kahn in Washington, DC, spelled out for attendees the ICC rights of limousine operators. The T&LC contends that these rights do not necessarily exempt operators based outside NYC from paying fees for chauffeurs, radio bases, and vehicles.
The debate came in the wake of a recent court decision which avowed that the T&LC was legally justified in charging fees for limousine operators based in New York state but not in NYC. The case is currently being appealed by the Nassau Suffolk Limousine Association. Meanwhile, operators based primarily in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts continue to wait for the court decision that will determine their fate.
The T&LC issue was just one topic covered in an extensive round of workshops designed to inform and educate operators about running a profitable business in the 1990s. Other seminars dealt with customer relations, credit card fraud. IRS audits, limousine safety, mini-bus operations, marketing plans, expansion; cash flow and more. Operators in attendance also got to see the latest in vehicles, products, and services serving the industry. The show was culminated with the Third Annual Awards Banquet in which the Operators of the Year were named.
The show, which was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, was sponsored by Limousine & Chauffeur in cooperation
with the National Limousine Association (NLA). “The World’s Largest Limousine Show” featured 38 vehicles and more than 50 suppliers.
Marsha Tortora of Empire Coach presents keys to Tommy Byrnes of Cloud 9 Limousine of Brooklyn, NY. Byrnes took delivery of a new Empire Limousine at the show.
Tackling the Issues
The NLA has jumped into the heated battle between operators and the T&LC by asking the ICC to declare exactly what rights operators have when picking up and dropping off passengers in NYC. The NLA’s action, along with legal moves by local limousine associations, is an effort to stymie vehicle seizures by the T&LC and press for decisions in pending court cases.
At issue are registration fees of $275 per car, $500 per radio dispatch base, and $106 per driver being charged by the T&LC. Meanwhile, ICC rights are $200 per company annually. The show offered operators an open forum to debate the issue and form a consensus game plan to battle the licensing.
Another popular session was a “Think Tank” workshop that gave operators a chance to trade operating techniques or find solutions to common problems. The seminars featured an exchange of ideas on topics such as chauffeur training and staffing, fleet management, and marketing strategies.
The keynote address was given by Christopher Nalty, attorney for Nalty, Jones & Walker in New Orleans. Nalty told attendees what to look for in a company when planning to buy, sell or merge. With the slow economy of the 1990s, company acquisitions have become a more frequent part of the limousine business.
Also at Sunday’s General Session, Roy Radakovich announced that 10 coachbuilders have qualified for Ford’s Quality Vehicle Manufacturer (QVM) program.
Gene Pierpont of Arizona Limousines in Phoenix (left) was named Operator of the Year in the 11-20 vehicle category. Lynda Lynn, also of Arizona Limousines, submitted the Best Promotional Items in the L&C Graphics Contest. The Baltimore show was the eleventh presented by Bobit Publishing Company president Ty Bobit.
In another session, Dan Santucci of Santucci Publishing presented “How to Boost your Business on a Budget.” This motivational course on money management covered marketing and advertising techniques that can be used by limousine companies.
In a third general session, Jeff Taylor of RC Taylor & Associates spoke about how to avoid business pitfalls by approaching problem-solving in a practical manner.
The seminars were organized by the NLA Education Committee of Mike Tannen of Royal Limousine in Wilmington, DE, John Thompson of Johnny’s Huntington Limousine in San Gabriel, CA, and Mary Ryan of Pittsburgh Limousine in Pittsburgh, PA.
The show floor was bustling with activity as operators checked out the 1992 model limousines and surveyed the various products and services offered by vendors.
Unique Printing was among more than 50 booths with livery products and services.
Industry Achievement Honored
The show is also a time for recognition. Industry awards were presented at the Third Annual Limousine & Chauffeur Awards Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore the final night of the show.
Emcee Scott Fletcher, publisher of L&C, and Ty Bobit, president of Bobit Publishing, announced the 1992 Operators of the Year. Harold Berkman of Music Express in Los Angeles and New York was the winner in the large vehicle category (more than 20); Gene Pierpoint of Arizona Limousine in Phoenix was the recipient in the medium size category (11-20 vehicles); and W. Denny Walker of Exclusive Limousines in Honolulu was the winner in the small category (less than 10). Winners were judged on their outstanding contribution to the industry and dedication to service in operation of their business.
The banquet, which had a theme of “Winter Wonderland” also featured a slide show reviewing the show’s participants and attendees. L&C also presented the winners of its Third Annual Graphics Contest.
In conjunction with the show, Progressive Insurance presented its safety awards. The winners of the Operators of the Year are Sterling Giles, president of Maxi-Taxi of Florida, Inc. in Naples, FL; Steve Summerton, secretary/treasurer of Regency Limousine, Inc. in Wilton, CT, and Peter K. Smith, owner of Smith Limousine Company, Inc. in New York, NY. The Operators of the Year were chosen for their management skills, professionalism, equipment, drivers, safety practices, and overall business integrity.
Progressive also named the following as Chauffeurs of the Year: Stanley Bolek of Metropolitan Limousine, Inc. in Chicago, IL, Emery Breau, Sr. of Elite Limousines of Connecticut, Inc. in New Britain. CT; and Arnold Kenter of Royal Coachman Limited in Verona, NJ. Chauffeurs were chosen for their display of courtesy and professionalism, ability to communicate with customers, knowledge of the limousine business, knowledge of the geographical area, appearance, and motor vehicle report.
The NLA and Limousine Industry Manufacturers Organization also held their respective board meetings at the show.