The 2nd Annual Association Award of Excellence recognizes the efforts of the leading state and regional associations.
Excellence” is defined in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as, “superior; very good of its kind; eminently good.” This type of praise is often easily garnered. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to bestow it upon someone or something that is truly worthy. The Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation Association Award of Excellence annually recognizes a state or regional association for its outstanding service to the industry and the region it serves.
The finalists for the 2nd Annual 1998 LCT Association Award of Excellence are the Florida Livery Association (FLA) headquartered in Casselberry FL; the Limousine Association of Houston (LAH) in Houston, TX; and the Nassau Suffolk Limousine Association (NSLA), headquartered in Massapequa, NY.
This award recognizes the association that has demonstrated an outstanding ability in the management of its organization and that has made significant contributions to the betterment of the livery industry.
Each finalist is an established association that has been operating for several years and is a member of the National Limousine Association (NLA).
The FLA, LAH, and NSLA exemplify the very highest standards in recruitment, activity in limousine-related legislature, activity in charitable organizations, satisfaction of legal requirements, and education of its members.
The winning association will receive $1,000 from the NLA to be donated to their favorite charity, $500 from Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation Magazine, and will be profiled in LCT.
The winner will be announced at the 1998 LCT Operator of the Year and Association Award of Excellence banquet to be held March 17, 1998 at the MGM Grand at 7:00 p.m. in conjunction with the LCT Show March 15-17 in Las Vegas.
The following information details a few highlights of each association finalist:
■ Florida Livery Association
Location: Casselberry, FL
President: Mike Dion
Number of members: 65
Activity in limousine-related legislature: The FLA has recently proposed the passage of a single state bill entitled the “Florida Livery Act,” which would set minimum operating standards for operators throughout the state of Florida. These standards would include annual mechanical safety inspections by state certified facilities, annual certification of commercial insurance with minimum coverage standards, and a single, easily recognizable method of identifying legitimate and illegal operators.
A single statewide commercial chauffeur’s permit would also be defined in the legislation. FLA executive director Rick Gonzalez says there is considerable financial burden on state operators under the current system.
“Our research indicates that if an operator were to obtain all of the required permits and pay the fees in every municipality in Florida, it would cost at least $14,000 per company,” says Gonzalez. “We need a single, affordable permit that will be fair to the operators, as well as to the state.”
Gonzalez and out-going FLA president Mike Dion have visited numerous legislators in Tallahassee and are optimistic that the bill will soon become law.
In 1997, the FLA also secured a special parking area at the Orlando Arena for livery vehicle use only. Further, the association obtained permission to park its livery vehicles in loading zones throughout the city without the cost of a loading zone permit.
Education of members: The FLA has established a library of materials available for all members. The library consists of a series of videotapes and other materials, including an extensive chauffeur video training program.
Additionally, the FLA provides members access to its “Safe Alcohol-Free Evening,” which provides standards for members and consumers to ensure safety during the busy prom season.
The FLA also has copies of local ordinances on file that members can access anytime. Further, the association consistency addresses inquiries from its membership about operating in specific areas of the state.
■ Limousine Association of Houston
Location: Houston, TX
President: Bobby Brown Number of members: 48 Activity in limousine-related legislature: In 1997, the state legislature considered bills that would add regulation and licensing, as well as require operators to collect a state sales tax for services provided. LAH members testified against both bills in Austin, TX, and conducted a telephone campaign aimed at the legislator’s offices. Both bills were defeated in committee. The association’s committee on regulatory affairs proposed a change to the Houston City Code relating to charter/sightseeing vehicles. “New licenses now have an accurate definition,” says Bobby Brown, LAH president. “The new code also provides a description of the types of vehicles that can be licensed and operated.”
Additionally, the LAH was instrumental in increasing the number of years a vehicle may remain in service and fought to retain unattended curbside waiting at airport terminals.
Education of members: The LAH combines various mini-seminar programs within the context of regularly scheduled association meetings. The association has hosted a variety of seminars, including “Beverage Service and Alcohol Laws Affecting Operators,” “Accounts Receivable and How to Maintain Positive Cash Flow,” “Marketing and Advertising for Limousine Operators,” “Firearms Regulation and the Concealed Carry Law,” “Financing a Growing Operation,” and “Special Maintenance Requirements for Stretch Limousines.”
■ Nassau Suffolk Limousine Association
Location: Massapequa, NY
President: Bob Kubik
Number of members: 185
Activity in limousine-related legislature: The NSLA maintains constant communication with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, local law enforcement, and the mayor’s office. The association has kept abreast of the important issues by attending the above mentioned organization’s meetings and has accomplished the following:
- Stood firmly against the TLC and acquired a Tier II status which exempted members from a base fee and a New York City tax stamp.
- Obtained stretch limousine parking spaces at LaGuardia Airport after expressing concern over the difficulty of parking in normal spaces.
- Supported the “Anti-Hustler” bill which fines first-time illegal operator offenders $1,500. This legislation was passed in conjunction with the first of its kind “Meeter Greeter Area” that is now being implemented at all airport terminals in New York.
- Supported the stretch limousine bill which requires operators to prove that any stretch limousine whose center panel is stretched more than 100 inches is safe.
“Since Mayor Guiliani took office, the stolen car rate has dropped in half,” says Bob Kubik, president of the NSLA. “We are also in contact with the mayor’s office about lowering insurance rates because of the drastic reduction in vehicle thefts.”
Education of members: The NSLA general meetings are primarily for education. LCT senior editor Tom Mazza was recently a featured speaker at a meeting and spoke about the day-to-day operation of a limousine company.
The association publishes Limo Line, an indepth association newsletter that keeps members abreast of what’s happening in the industry.
Further, the association boasts significant attendance numbers at its meetings which allows attendees to discuss their day-to-day problems. Solutions are often provided by competitors, which is reflective of the selfless nature of the NSLA membership.