Attendees stream onto the exhibit floor of Harrah's Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. for the third annual LCT-NLA Show East. (LCT photo)
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- LCT's Eastern trade show attracted heavy show floor traffic Nov. 8-10 as it tried out a new venue in the city where limousine events began.
Although final attendance numbers are being tallied, the third annual LCT-NLA Show East, held at Harrah's Atlantic City, exceeded attendance levels of the first two shows held at Caesar's and the city convention center. More than 1,000 operators alone (not counting vendors) visited the sold-out 50,000 square foot show floor, which remained active through the last hour as attendees mingled among at least 50 chauffeured vehicles and buses and more than 60 displaying vendors overall.
The show also offered more complimentary food-and-beverage centered networking events than ever before, starting with a coffee reception at 10 a.m. Nov. 8 through a 3 p.m. open bar on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Operators tended to focus attention on the growing field of mobile app options and the regulatory battle against Uber and other transportation network companies. Several app vendors and tech providers held demo and user sessions both on and off the show floor. The Limousine Association of New Jersey, Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association, and Virginia Limousine Association got better-than-expected attendance at their respective breakfast meetings where TNC-regulatory moves were Topic A.
As has been evident for a few years, cutaway buses, upscale vans and motorcoaches now dominate vehicle floor displays at LCT trade shows. The Sprinter and Transit vans are becoming the new stretch limousines, although three stretch models still represented the original, traditional vehicle niche of the industry.
Ford/Lincoln's limo/livery manager Craig Hall (R) hands Chicago operator George Jacobs the keys to a 2016 Ford Transit that Jacobs won in a NLA fundraiser auction on Nov. 9, 2015. Board member Erich Reindl (L) congratulates Jacobs. (Photo by Martin Romjue)
To underscore the point, official show sponsor Ford/Lincoln Limousine and Livery Vehicles donated a Ford Transit for a vehicle auction that raised funds for the the National Limousine Association's Harold Berkman Memorial Fund
. Winning bidder George Jacobs
of Windy City Limousine in Chicago blew out the auction by upping his bid to $48,000 -- several thousands against his previous bid.
The show also hosted the third annual LCT People's Choice Awards, which recognize humanitarian, charity and entrepreneurial activities of limousine operators. Winners announced at an awards dinner and program on the evening of Monday, Nov. 9 are:
Carla Boroday Humanitarian Award
Name: Joseph Reinhardt, owner/President
Company: Carolina Limousine
Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Gold Star Award
Name: Cesar Tedesco, owner
Company: Meridian Limo LLC
Location: Stanford, Conn.
Name: David and Stacey Glazier, owners
Company: Fleet Transportation
Location: Alexandria, Va.
Entrepreneur Of The Year
Name: Evan Blanchette, CEO
Company: VIP Global
Location: Miami Beach, Fla.
Name: Diane Forgy, owner/CEO
Company: Overland Chauffeured Services
Location: Kansas City, Mo.
LCT launched the first-ever national trade show for the limousine industry on Dec. 9, 1984 at Caesar's in Atlantic City.