New NLA Board Gets A First-Timer And A Second-Timer

Posted on March 4, 2015 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

New NLA board director Chris Quinn owns CTS of Sacramento, Calif., and won a 2014 LCT People’s Choice Award at LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City, N.J.
New NLA board director Chris Quinn owns CTS of Sacramento, Calif., and won a 2014 LCT People’s Choice Award at LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City, N.J.

MARLTON, N.J. — Results of this year’s NLA Board of Directors elections, which drew the most candidates in its 30 year history, favored the incumbents across the all-contested races.

In the ensuing victory lap, the newcomers stand out all the more.

Among the seven operators assuming board seats for the 2015-2018 terms will be Christopher Quinn of Corporate Transportation Solutions in Sacramento, Calif., representing the West region, and Steve Qua of Cleveland-based Company Car & Limousine, representing the U.S. Central region. Quinn succeeds retiring board member Rich Azzolino, who did not run again, while Qua bested incumbent opponent Mary Harrell-Paul.  

The seven board members officially start their terms March 15 during the quarterly NLA board meeting before the start of the International LCT Show in Las Vegas.

The NLA fielded 21 candidates for seven seats, guaranteeing a contest in all races. It was the most candidates in one board election since the trade association was formed in 1985. The NLA staggers its three-year board director terms much like the U.S. Senate, with about one third of its 18 voting seats up for election in any given year. The board also has two additional non-voting vendor directors and a non-voting Bobit Business Media corporate liaison seat occupied by LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood.

I spoke with Qua and Quinn shortly after the election as they step up to the NLA board during a crucial industry-wide battle with Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber.

Qua, who served on the NLA board of directors from 2003 to 2009, says he sought a board seat again because at age 56, and with 20 years of experience, “I want to leave the industry better than I found it.” Quay also said he felt the desire to “get connected” again to the industry because, “I have some forward-thinking ideas to increase both the stability of the industry and to fight-off the Ubers of the world.”

Cleveland operator Steve Qua returns to NLA Board of Directors on March 15 after serving two previous terms in the 2000s.
Cleveland operator Steve Qua returns to NLA Board of Directors on March 15 after serving two previous terms in the 2000s.
Qua notes how the industry is changing, especially as the “old guard” retires and younger operators start or take over companies. “You see 20- to 30-year-olds entering the business with fresh ideas and I see the opportunity — and I have ideas — to help the NLA elevate the quality of the industry.”

The industry today is no longer “linear” age wise, Qua observes. Rather, it is composed of three tiers of operators ages 20 to 30, 40 to 50, and 60 to 70.
“You had a lot of people get into the industry back in the 1980s and 1990s when it was a time of prosperity, and then there was a period from 2009 to 2011 where there weren’t any new businesses,” Qua says. “And in the last few years we’ve been seeing younger people in their 20s and 30s get into the business. My point is that the older operators will be turning their businesses over to them eventually, so I want to help make the industry better for them. This way I can leave with a clear conscious knowing I did everything I could.”

Quinn, who is a long-time member and board director of the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA), brings a wealth of experience and service to the industry. He runs his company with his wife and co-owner, Shannon, who will appear March 18 on an educational panel during the International LCT Show on the topic of recovering from service failures.

“I’ve been involved in California helping to move legislation forward that helps small business and protects consumers,” Quinn says. “I think our industry often reacts to issues rather than getting out in front of issues and legislation — not having a seat at the table — so I hope to help change that on the national level as part of the board.” He notes that he also will be at the forefront in fighting illegal TNCs.

Quinn was a 2009 winner of the LCT National Operator of the Year Award and a recipient of the 2014 LCT’s People’s Choice Gold Star Award, which recognized his efforts saving the life of a heart attack victim at the MGM Grand last year while attending the International LCT Show. A Battalion Chief with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, Quinn was honored for his quick response and experience in handling emergencies that helped stabilize the man before medical help arrived.

MLOA Readies For Las Vegas Event
Now in its fourth year, the Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA) is “still going strong” with 140 members and plans to increase membership and offer more programs, said MLOA President Maurice Brewster (Mosaic Global Transportation, San Francisco) during a recent bi-monthly teleconference  association meeting.

Executive Director, Dr. Yvonne LaMar, added that the association intends to recruit new members at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, March 16-17 at the Venetian & Palazzo Hotel Casino, where the MLOA will hold a Sunday evening hospitality reception at 6 p.m. with the goal to reach 200 members.

Brewster also mentioned that the MLOA Board of Directors gathered in Miami for a day-long work session to discuss how to strengthen the association and add new education programs to benefit members.
“We worked to strengthen our bylaws and add some committees as well as new education programs as part of a strategic plan to grow the association,” Brewster says. Having launched a new member government certification program and a recent social media tutorial, the MLOA intends to expand its education offerings, including potential pilot symposiums to further educate members.

Tom Halligan is LCT East Coast editor, based in Marlton, N.J. He travels regularly to industry association meetings in the eastern U.S. Tom can be reached at [email protected]

Related LCT article: Incumbents Prevail In Historic NLA Board Election

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