NLA board directors kept the late board director Joe Cirruzzo's name and place at the table at their quarterly board meeting Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 in Sonoma, Calif. Cirruzzo died Nov. 27 of cancer.
[UPDATED w/new photo and caption, 12/18/13, 5:17 p.m. ET/2:17 p.m. PT]
SONOMA, Calif. — The quarterly meeting of the National Limousine Association Board of Directors started with the sad reminder of the loss of sitting board member Joseph Cirruzzo, Sr. Only two other sitting NLA board members have died in office: Harold Berkman of Music Express (1997) and Julie Herring of Julie’s Limousine Service (2008).
The board left Joey’s seat empty for the entire meeting held Monday, Dec. 9 in Sonoma, Calif.
Prior to his passing, the NLA presented Cirruzzo with its NLA Lifetime Industry Achievement Award for his dedication and service to the industry and the NLA. Cirruzzo was the sixth person to receive this award since the NLA was founded in 1985. Board director, past president and fellow award winner Scott Solombrino told the board that the award was the greatest honor in Joey’s life.
“He knew that he was dying and was very stoic about life,” Solombrino said. “He told me that he will miss the NLA and the work we did for the small operators.”
(Clockwise from top left) NLA board director Scott Solombrino, President Gary Buffo, board directors Michael Campbell and Laura Canady, Chosen Payments CEO Jeff Brodsly and NLA associations program manager Darcie Benard relax at a social event during the NLA board meeting in Sonoma, Calif. Photo by Linda Jagiela/LCT
In other business:
- The NLA Legislative Committee announced that the NLA Day on the Hill will be May 20-21. The NLA encourages all members to attend this important event. They will be sending more information out to members closer to the event.
- President Gary Buffo announced in his President’s report that the NLA will be recognizing all former board members at the International LCT Show in February. “We respect those who have sat on this board and the time each of them gave to support our industry. We need to let them know that they are an important part of our industry.”
- The nominating committee reported that the current election is under way. Ballots have been mailed to all members. Winning candidates will be notified on Dec. 30. In preparation for a new board, the NLA has been writing job descriptions for all of the different committee roles in the NLA so that the new and old board members will get a greater understanding of the responsibilities of those committees.
- The NLA membership is more than 2,200 members for 2013.
- The NLA has developed an affinity program that will assist the association with sponsorship dollars, the members with discounts and the vendors with a program that will encourage members to use their products and services. Additionally, if a company is not a member, the vendors will assist in making them a member in order to receive the discounts. There are three Affinity Sponsors: Don Brown Bus Sales, Chosen Payments Credit Card Processing and Complete Fleet & Limousine Sales.
- NLA attorney Mike Marrone has announced that he is retiring. Marrone has been the lead attorney for the NLA at the law firm of Keller and Heckman. He is grooming a number of attorneys to replace him in this roll and believes that there will be a seamless transition.
- The Association Liaison Committee has been working with associations so that they can be compliant with 501C-6. Associations had great success at the Association Central this year at the LCT East Show in Atlantic City. The NLA supports local associations by refunding a portion of the NLA member’s dues to the local associations. The NLA is planning a webinar in the spring on assisting associations to grow members and be successful.
- The next NLA Board meeting will be held Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 before the International LCT Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The NLA Annual Meeting and Legislative Update follow on Sunday, Feb. 16.
— Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer