For the first time, LCT has collaborated with knowledgeable industry people to compile a Who’s Who in the world of chauffeured transportation
In the real world, there are leaders and there are followers. Our industry has been shaped by visionaries such as David Klein, founder of Dav El Worldwide, who pioneered the stretch limousine, two-way radios and the use of computers in our business; Wayne Smith, who helped seed and grow the NLA as its executive director from 1985 to 1999; and five-time NLA President George Jacobs, who perfected the share-a-ride airport program.
There were philanthropists such as Harold Berkman, who today has an industry charity named in his honor. Vic Poleni of Cadillac and John Treter from Ford rolled out the industry’s conversion certification programs, including the Cadillac Master Coachbuilder and Qualified Vehicle Modifier, forever reshaping the methods in which limousines were built.
Here are LCT’s picks for the most powerful and high-ranking industry leaders in the limousine field today. Alphabetically, our list includes:
Mike Bedard recently left Ford Motor Company’s limousine division to become the company’s Gulf States regional manager. But his impact as longtime limousine livery manager at Ford will be felt in the industry for years to come. Before handing over the limo-livery reins to Doug Walczak in early June, one of Bedard’s last actions in the division was unveiling the Navigator Limousine Package at this year’s LCT Show.
Bedard’s other achievements include launching the TC L-Series and the industry’s first sport utility; initiating a vehicle QVM program with the Excursion in 2002 and the Navigator in 2004; rolling out the first factory-backed livery van program; arranging for Ford to contribute $350,000 in seed money to the NLA Legislative Defense Fund; and being an NLA board member for four years.
Ty Bobit is not only president and chief operating officer of Bobit Business Media, but he was LCT Magazine’s first publisher and show manager. LCT, founded in 1983, was the first magazine produced exclusively for the limousine industry. Bobit is also the founder of the LCT Show and is an honorary founding father of the NLA. He is a philanthropist who has supported the NLA from its inception at the 1994 LCT Show, contributing more than $2 million to the NLA in both money and advertising.
Jay Fanfalone heads up the Cadillac Professional Vehicle Program Headquarters. He is chief negotiator of all limousine programs for Cadillac; runs the Cadillac Limousine Dealer program; is a sponsor of the LCT Show and LCT’s annual calendar; manages the CMC Program; and facilitated sponsorship of the NLA Legislative Defense Fund. To date, Cadillac has donated more than $225,000 to the fund.
Scott Solombrino is chief executive officer and president of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network (www.dav-el.com) in Chelsea, Mass., the largest privately owned limo company in the nation. It’s the second largest limousine company in size, but the largest in terms of employees. He has twice been elected president of the NLA and is its current president. Solombrino has also been the NLA’s press secretary and was founder of the NLA Endowment Fund. He is an industry spokesman, was a recipient of the LCT Industry Achievement Award in 2001, arranges educational programs for the LCT Show and has also received honors from the NBTA.
Vince Wolfington has served as CEO and is now chairman of the board for Carey International, which for years has been the world’s largest chauffeured transportation company, with operations in 480 cities in 75 countries. It was Wolfington’s ingenuity and guts that made Carey, founded in New York in the 1920s, the first limousine company to go public in 1997. With the power of Wall Street behind him, Wolfington orchestrated the industry’s single largest buyout of companies in a three-year sweep, turning operators into millionaires and changing the face of our industry. He has spent 32 years with Carey and plans to “stay on as chairman for a few more years.”
We can’t include all the names that deserve to be on the honor roll of Who’s Who in the industry. But all in all, it is a most impressive list.