New York operator and NLA leader Joe Cirruzzo Sr. (center) received the NLA Industry Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 at his home in Staten Island, N.Y. Pictured clockwise (L to R): Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network and a fellow NLA board director; Kathy Bradley, Cirruzzo's longtime companion; Julia Cirruzzo-Rosenthal, daughter of Joe; and Philip Jagiela, NLA executive director.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Limousine operator and National Limousine Association (NLA) board director Joseph "Joey" Cirruzzo Sr. was given the Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Limousine Association on Oct. 8 at his home in Staten Island.
Cirruzzo received the award from Scott Solombrino, a longtime NLA board member and past President and NLA executive director Philip Jagiela, both industry colleagues and close friends of Cirruzzo. They presented the award on behalf of the NLA.
Cirruzzo, who has served on the NLA board for decades and has worked in the limousine industry for more than 40 years, is suffering from liver cancer and will most likely not be attending the LCT Show East in Atlantic City, N.J., later this month or the International LCT Show in Las Vegas in February 2014. When Solombrino learned that Cirruzzo would not be attending the upcoming shows, he decided that Cirruzzo should receive the award at his home.
“My Dad was very surprised when Scott gave him the award. He became very emotional,” said Julia Cirruzzo-Rosenthal, Joe Sr.’s daughter. “It was so nice of them to come and do this for him. It really was special.”
“I have known Joey for over 30 years and served with him on the NLA board for decades,” Solombrino said. “He is always committed to finding ways to unite the industry against the onslaught of regulations that has plagued this industry for years. Joey has always believed that the NLA is the best friend of small operators in their daily struggle in their businesses. Joey has always loved putting people together. He is a guy who wants to see everyone prosper.”
Cirruzzo operated A Elegant Limousine Service (whose name was shortened to ELS International). He has been an active industry member serving on the NLA board as well as the Taxi, Limousine and Paratransit Association’s Limousine Steering Committee. He has regularly lobbied Congressional representatives with the NLA during its annual Day On The Hill event in Washington, D.C. Throughout his career in the limousine industry, Cirruzzo mentored many new operators, helping them grow their businesses. He championed many legislative causes and rallied operators to become more involved.
As chair of the nominating committee for the NLA, Cirruzzo made it his personal challenge to present a full roster of candidate operators to lead the association into the future.
“Joey is not only a great operator but a dear friend to this industry. He has great enthusiasm and is always fighting to make the limousine industry better,” said Rich Azzolino, NLA first vice president, first vice president of the Greater California Livery Association, and an executive at Gateway Global Limousine in San Francisco. “Joe was a mentor to me when I got into the industry. He has done the same for many other people. He is the reason I am on the NLA board. He has a great sense of humor and is extremely insightful. I hope others will follow in his footsteps.”
Outside the limousine industry, Cirruzzo actively supports causes for animals such as the SPCA and the Humane Society. He is rarely without his own dog, Snowgirl. In his younger days, Cirruzzo was active in drag racing. He raced under the name the Green Hornet, Joe Black. He was recently honored at Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., for being the Grand Marshall of the track.
LCT background article 2009: Cirruzzo Honored At Drag Racing Strip
-- Linda M. Jagiela, for LCT Magazine