Industry Research

2012: A Doom & Bloom Year For The Industry

Sara Eastwood-McLean
Posted on December 4, 2012
The LCT Leadership Summit held in October in Puerto Rico was one of the highlights from a challenging year in the chauffeured transportation industry.

The LCT Leadership Summit held in October in Puerto Rico was one of the highlights from a challenging year in the chauffeured transportation industry.

The LCT Leadership Summit held in October in Puerto Rico was one of the highlights from a challenging year in the chauffeured transportation industry.
The LCT Leadership Summit held in October in Puerto Rico was one of the highlights from a challenging year in the chauffeured transportation industry.

LOOKING BACK ON AN UNUSUAL INDUSTRY YEAR: This calendar year has brought more changes and more unexpected developments than any year since I started with LCT more than 20 years ago. Just when you think you’ve seen it all. . .

2012 started off with a news drama that is still playing out; I don’t need to mention the details since we all know them anyway. But the shock and fallout surrounding the “alleged” incident tested my resolve like nothing before. I’ll say that sticking to our principles as a magazine was worth it. The truth sometimes hurts, but ignoring it, or allowing oneself to be bullied out of it, makes matters worse. Leadership involves doing the right thing, even when it’s not popular and even when you catch flak. What doesn’t kill you will strengthen you, as the saying goes.

2012 has been the best business year for the International LCT Show and LCT Magazine since 2008. Our Las Vegas event brought forth the largest variety of vehicles and the most newcomers to the market I’ve ever seen. Lincoln and Cadillac rolled out next-generation luxury vehicles to much acclaim. I think we’ll look back on this as a transition year, one that pointed to more choices and better products for operators. And LCT Magazine bounces back fully with 12 issues for 2013!

From the upbeat Show, we moved to one of the saddest periods this industry has experienced, with the April death of Florida operator and NLA board director Carla Boroday, and the death in August of the limo lion, Tom Mazza. Both battled long illnesses but kept working as much as possible. Our industry suffered a major setback with the tragic passings of these two bright lights. Like many of you, I had the privilege of interacting with Tommy in his final months. I valued the lasting contributions he made to LCT and the industry. He was a good soul who cared for and loved this industry, and it was heartening to see how many operators loved him back. May his legacy endure.

2012 wasn’t the best year for traditional coachbuilders, with the bankruptcy of Krystal Enterprises and the sale of its bus division being the foremost setback. It was painful to see our good industry friend, Ed Grech, have to go through this. His life story is a classic and inspiring self-made tale of humble beginnings turned leading success. That’s why we haven’t seen the last of him. He keeps the Krystal brand and name, and I am confident he will make a comeback doing what he does best.

This year brought a resurgent LCT Leadership Summit, held for the first time in the tropical paradise of Puerto Rico. It sold out earlier than expected and proved to be a risk that paid off. Our speakers and activities were well received, and the attendees created professional and personal memories for a lifetime. It’s always good to change things up for the better.

With such positives come the challenges, as life never works out exactly the way you like. Our industry faces harmful wage and overtime regulations on chauffeurs. The National Limousine Association is valiantly working with the Department of Labor on this issue. It’s been encouraging to see NLA leaders and lobbyists step up to the plate to advocate for the best business interests of operators. Regardless of what economic and regulatory uncertainty we face, we can rest assured the industry is in good hands with the NLA, which is a force for unity.

Finally, this year closed out with two very positive developments that point to a bright future: The NLA hired Philadelphia operator and longtime industry supporter Philip Jagiela as its executive director. He follows the stellar track record of retiring executive director Patricia Nelson. Philip will no doubt build on the tower of Patty’s success.

And last month LCT resurrected the LCT East trade show, which is heading to Atlantic City, N.J. next fall. Now LCT will be able to offer the complete quality package of a global trade show and convention in Las Vegas and a national trade show, networking forum, and conference on the East Coast.

There were so many ups and downs this year, but we have much to anticipate. On behalf of my LCT sales and editorial teams, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Sara Eastwood-McLean
[email protected]

Related Topics: industry events, industry trends, LCT Publisher, Sara Eastwood

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