L to R: Dan Goff, A Goff Limousine & Bus Company (Membership Committee); Benny Walton, BEW Limousine Washington, DC, (Member); Travis Latham, Fellowship Fleet, Illinois (Membership Committee); Darrell Andersen, A-National Limo, Atlanta, (Board Member/Vice Chairman); Reggie Tymus,(seated), Capital City Limousine Washington, DC, (Board Member/Vice-Chairman); Ana Regina Goff, A Goff Limousine & Bus Company, (Board Member/Secretary); Misgana Kebede, Accent Transportation Services, Phoenix, (Technology Committee).
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Minority Limousine Operators of America this month outlined its key long-term goals of educating operators, encouraging service quality, increasing business opportunities for smaller companies, and helping member operators connect and network.
The MLOA first evolved in February from an informal gathering of minority operators at the time of the 2011 International LCT Show in Las Vegas. Since then it has incorporated into an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt professional association. It drew about 100 operators and vendors to its first major meeting held Sunday, Nov. 6 during a competing industry trade show in Atlantic City.
While the group is dedicated to representing and advancing the interests of minority-owned businesses, membership in the MLOA is open to anyone. Members do not have to be business owners. At the Nov. 6 meeting, President Maurice Brewster introduced the MLOA’s board members and supporting committee heads and then drove home an inclusive message of mutual support and professional cooperation.
“We’re stronger together as a unit,” said Brewster, also the owner of Mosaic Global Transportation in San Francisco. “That’s what this is all about. We will help you get business.”
During a Q&A forum at the meeting, several operators asked questions about becoming certified as woman and/or minority-owned businesses. Many limousine companies in the U.S. are now owned by women or multi-ethnic married couples. Given the complexity of attaining woman and/or minority owned status in various states, and with the federal government, it quickly became apparent among attendees that there is a need in the industry for more education and information about minority-owned status and contracting.
Attaining such status is important for chauffeured transportation companies that seek lucrative government contracts at the federal, state and local levels, as well as with corporate clients that have ground transportation contracting policies rooted in vendor diversity standards.
MLOA President Maurice Brewster brought a message of unity to the group's first meeting and outlined goals to develop professional resources for member operators.
Brewster emphasized that the intent of the MLOA is to fulfill a complementary role to other associations in the chauffeured transportation industry. He urged attendees to become members of the National Limousine Association, a local or regional industry association, and the MLOA.
Two NLA board directors — operator Carrie Peele and vendor director Jack Rolfe of Georgetown Insurance — attended the meeting. The MLOA is not formally affiliated with the NLA.
“We support the NLA and the local associations,” Brewster told the audience. “We never want to be in competition with the NLA and local associations. They fight your battles for you. We need them and we are here to support those organizations. We encourage you to become members of them.”
The MLOA plans to hold at least two general membership meetings per year, one each fall in Atlantic City, N.J. and one to coincide with the International LCT Show each winter in Las Vegas. The MLOA meeting is not part of the official conference schedule of the 2012 International LCT Show, which is organized and run by LCT Magazine, Bobit Business Media, and the NLA.
Other regular monthly meetings of the MLOA will be held via conference calls during the calendar year.
Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT editor; MLOA press release