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A Shout Out To A Special Industry Crew

NLA President Gary Buffo (L) gives Grech Motors founder and CEO Ed Grech the NLA Lifetime Achievement Award for his vehicle innovations and many contributions to industry events, groups, and causes. Grech received the industry's highest honor on March 12, 2018 at the NLA general membership meeting during the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)
NLA President Gary Buffo (L) gives Grech Motors founder and CEO Ed Grech the NLA Lifetime Achievement Award for his vehicle innovations and many contributions to industry events, groups, and causes. Grech received the industry's highest honor on March 12, 2018 at the NLA general membership meeting during the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

I’ve been around in the world of limousine, chauffeured, and now luxury coach transportation long enough to know gratitude and recognition go a long way. This year’s Show topped so many of our goals and expectations, and it couldn’t have happened without the hard work and generosity of so many volunteers, operators, and industry leaders. So please join me in a full-on appreciation roster of those who helped give us a “World of Possibilities” during the recent International Luxury Coach & Transportation Show!

This year’s event belongs to an exclusive club of shows because we gave out an NLA Lifetime Achievement Award to Ed Grech, the founder and CEO of Grech Motors and the longest-serving coachbuilder in the industry. Only a small, select group of industry figures have ever received this high honor during the last 30 years.

Ed Grech hands down has been the strongest and most consistent supporter of LCT and the NLA. The award hails his decades of providing the quality luxury vehicles and fleet support that have empowered so many business opportunities and enabled so much of the financial success of operators worldwide. He has given back in so many ways, from his over-the-top sponsorships of LCT events, associations, and industry activities, to his advertising in LCT Magazine, to his donations to charity and worthwhile causes. Thank you to Ed Grech and your company for advancing this industry’s success!

Hand-in-hand with LCT Magazine and the Bobit Business Media team goes the National Limousine Association, which has co-produced these events with us since 2001 under a longstanding management and show contract. The NLA Show Committee worked a full year in advance planning educational sessions and contributing many ideas, including co-chairs and board directors Diane Forgy and Douglas Schwartz, and committee members Michael Barreto, NLA President Gary Buffo, and Andy Hernandez.

The NLA proved its worth in fighting for this industry with the main attraction of this Show, the press conference and appearance of Pamela Anderson. A list of donors who helped finance her appearance appear on p. 16 of this issue, and a special thank you goes to the NLA Public Relations Committee, co-chaired by board directors Jason Kaplan and Scott Solombrino, who set up the first-of-its-kind event.

Our industry shows its charitable side each year with donations to and from the Harold Berkman Memorial Fund. All of that generosity happens courtesy of the NLA’s Charity Fundraising Committee, led by co-chairs and board directors Kaplan and Ron Stein, and members Robert Alexander, Kevin Illingworth, and Billy Placier.

Congratulations are in order for our new NLA board directors elected to 2018-2021 terms: Brett Barenholtz, Boston Car Service/Above All Transportation, At Large; Donald Mahnke, ABC Worldwide Transportation, San Mateo, Calif., West Region; and Tracy Raimer, Windy City Limousine, Chicago, Central Region. We also wish the 2018-19 NLA executive team continued success: Gary Buffo, President; Laura Canady, 1st Vice President; Joe Ironi, 2nd Vice President; Robert Alexander, Treasurer; and Scott Solombrino, Secretary.

Of course, none of this NLA success would be possible without the huge contribution check LCT gives to the NLA drawn from 75% of NLA registration/badge revenue, which this year will total well over $200,000. That’s money going right back into the pockets of the NLA and state associations representing operator interests.   

We also very much appreciate the LCT Street Team, which interacts directly with attendees to create the best show experience possible: Julie Dotan, Team Captain, J & B Executive Transportation, Detroit; Briana Candeub, Park Avenue Limousine, Trevos, Penn.; Jami Crouch, Premier Transportation Services, Dallas; Sam Emam, BBZ Limousine & Livery Service, Bergenfield, N.J.; Renee Ferraro, ZBest Worldwide, Baltimore, Md.; Wendy Kleefisch, Brevard Executive Transportation, Indialantic, Fla.; Kevin Mullane, Silver Oak Transportation, Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Brandon Tiet, Duke’s Limousine, Honolulu, Hawaii; Ariadna Noches, American Transportation, Miami; Kelly Alderete, The Driver Provider, Phoenix; Lexi Tucker, LCT Magazine; Myles Flood, LfL Chauffeur Services, Dublin, Ireland; and Tony Talia, KLTS Limousine, San Diego, Calif.

And then there is you: the attendees, readers, exhibitors, association members, advertisers and sponsors, our industry friends — THANK YOU in spades. We are so pleased our wonderful world of luxury transportation came out en masse and took advantage of all the International LCT Show had to offer. I am humbled and so very grateful to be a part of this amazing community.

Miss you already,

Sara Eastwood-Richardson

Related Topics: Ed Grech, Gary Buffo, Grech Motors, honors and awards, ILCT 2018, Industry Achievement Award, industry events, industry leaders, LCT Publisher, National Limousine Association, Sara Eastwood-Richardson

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