15th Anniversary Spotlight: Wayne Smith

Posted on June 1, 1998 by LCT Staff

It was 1987 and the call came from National Limousine Association (NLA) board member Ken Avery from Miami. Would Smith come to San Francisco and meet with the NLAs board of directors to consider a position as executive director?

The two-year-old association was $70,000 in debt and had only a few hundred members. The NLAs future was uncertain Smith’s company, The Wayne Smith Co, managed the United Motor Coach Association, as well as trade groups in other industries.

Smith ultimately agreed to become the NLA’s executive director. In 11 years, the group has grown to more than 1,400 member companies and boasts a treasury balance in excess of $250,000.

More important, Smith began representing small operators and association in a variety of important local regulatory mailers Membership increased cause operators were assisted directly by Smith and his staff. The NLA established a toll-free member and a monthly newsletter. Under Smith, the NLA has partnered with LCT to sponsor the industry’s premiere trade show and educational seminar program.

According to Smith, his most important battle has been with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “It began in 1988 with Mike DiRivera of Town and Country Limousine in Atlanta,” he says “The government wanted more than $1 million. Mike was a board member. He warned me that other limousine companies would also be audited.”

At the time, 65 percent of the nation’s limousine companies were treating chauffeurs as independent contractors. The IRS had no uniform limousine industry guidelines. The NLA began assisting audited limousine companies nationwide. Smith’s decade-long efforts on behalf of the industry has resulted in an agreement with the IRS that provides operators with clear guidelines on how to establish an independent contractor agreement with their chauffeurs.

In 1989, Smith helped form the Limousine Industry Manufacturers Organization (LIMO). This organization then commenced a dedicated effort to produce safe stretched vehicles. Further, Smith managed to keep the NLA on track despite rapid changes within the industry

“When we started, about 70 percent of the vehicles out members owned were stretch limousines and 30% were sedans,” says Smith. “Now, we are primarily a sedan business with a major emphasis on the corporate market. Our members have gone from guys in gold chains and fur coats to professional men and women in the transportation business. The transformation has been remarkable.”

Smith cites a number of factors for the growth of the NLA. George Jacobs serving as president for five years brought stability to the organization,” he says “Charlie Wisniewski’s vision of operator certification and getting us involved in selling the NLA on-line was crucial Greg Casteel took operator certification from an idea to a solid, viable program. This helped the industry tremendously. Local limousine associations became much stronger. We spent more than a year assisting New York based operators in their negotiations with the Taxi and Limousine  Commission. This made very important to the local operators.”

The Wayne Smith Co. was recently purchased by Host Communications in Lexington, KY. Smith believes the NLA membership has benefited tremendously from the change. “Host Communications has enabled us to offer our members more goods and services,” he says “We have definitely increased the value of our membership.”

Smith’s greatest personal challenge continues to be his recovery from cancer. “I was never sick a day in my life.” says Smith. “I eat right, exercise, and my weight is good.” After undergoing radiation and surgery in 1997, Smith is healthy, optimistic, andlooking forward to a great 1998. “My outlook on many things has changed,” he says. “Little things do not matter as much to me anymore. But believe me, I love to work andI have gained tremendous satisfaction from the growth of the NLA andthe industry in general.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Reston Limousine Hires New Marketing Manager

Anna Wilkinson will spearhead several new projects to grow the Washington, D.C.-area company's outreach and public profile.

BusCon 2017 Has Plenty To Offer Limo And Bus Operators

If you're running a chauffeured transportation or motorcoach service, then you'll find more helpful resources at this year's expo.

Nominate Now (Yourself?) For People's Choice Awards

The awards at LCT East is your chance to be recognized by the industry for being an innovator, entrepreneur, or humanitarian.

Operators Air Out A List Of Leading Concerns

The Greater California Livery Association deployed a new format that got members talking about challenges and problems.

Lindsey Limousine Wins “Best Limousine Company”

The growing Hartford, Conn. operation scores No. 1 on two noteworthy local business lists.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - July 2017 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Why These Titans Work So Hard to Give it Away * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close