Operations

Lessons From The Fast 40 Roundtable

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 5, 2017

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — This was my first time hosting any sort of event…like, ever. Yes, I took the mandatory public speaking class in college (and aced it, by the way), but it never really prepares you for talking to a specific audience. But one thing did make this a bit easier than I thought it would be: How accepting operators are, regardless of age.

I must say, though, there’s something unique about those who are just getting started in this industry. Whether they got into it because it’s the family business or because they have an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to start something they could be proud of, the entire room seemed to be buzzing with abundant energy.

Now, I’m not talking about reiki or anything weird like that, but it felt incredibly welcoming and exciting. I wasn’t on the podium for long before I jumped down to start networking. I got the sense everyone not only wanted to be there, but came with a specific purpose: To connect on a level that differs from a student-mentor relationship one might find between a veteran operator and a new one.

I believe the word I’m looking for is camaraderie. Everyone in that room shared common traits other than age. While I’m sure that was a factor, it seemed we bonded as a group over unique ways of thinking on TNCs, technology, and industry involvement. Here are just a few characteristics I observed:

Friendly

I don’t think I saw a single person who didn’t have a smile. No one cut anyone off when making a point, even if they didn’t agree with what another operator was saying. A perfect example of this was when an operator was telling the story of how he became one.

He first worked as an Uber Black driver to make some extra money, but then decided he wanted to start his own company. After working hard to get the proper permits and licenses, he now runs a successful business. Instead of gasping or yelling, our whole table clapped for him.

That moment kind of left me speechless — it’s the acceptance our industry needs. Uber isn’t going away, but if we can convert their drivers into top notch chauffeurs or operators, it will make a dent.

Helpful

At my table, questions and answers flowed freely. No one was trying to hide anything or fearful another operator would “steal” their secrets. Millennials understand working together brings benefits not just for the one, but for all.

As an industry, we all face the same problems. Even if something hasn’t affected the region where you do business, that’s not to say it isn’t coming sooner or later. One operator at our table was from Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada, where Uber has yet to start up. I bet if it ever does, this operator could call anyone he met at this session and they’d be more than willing to provide him with tips to combat the “I’ll just take an Uber” response.

Involved

If I hear one more person call Millennials entitled, lazy, or ignorant, my head might explode. Every generation gets a negative cultural stigma at some point, but it’s simply not fair to assume this of everyone just because of the time into which they were born, or how their parents raised them.

In fact, one operator emailed me after the session asking about any committees she could join. She was already a member of the NLA, ALA, and MLOA, and was looking for another way to give back. Lazy she was not.

So the next time you see a Millennial operator at a tradeshow or other networking event, don’t write them off. Make a conscious effort to ask them tough questions and get to know them on a personal level. We aren’t all “special snowflakes.”

LEXI TUCKER is LCT assistant editor and coordinator of the LCT Fast 40, a group of operators under 40 who collaborate and learn from each other about all aspects of chauffeured transportation. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: casinos, ILCT, industry events, Las Vegas, LCT Events, LCT Show, LCTFast40, Lexi Tucker, Millennial Matters, Millennials

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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