Farewell to an Industry Legend and a Genius

Jim Luff
Posted on August 11, 2012

[UPDATED 8/13/12, 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT] Tom Mazza was a mentor, a friend and an ardent advocate for the chauffeured transportation industry.

“He was larger than life, man”! – Ron Stein, Los Angeles operator

In one of my first contacts with Tom Mazza was in 2001 when he contacted me by phone to clearly express his disdain for my comments written about him on the Limos.com Operator Forum. Specifically, I alluded to the fact that someone who ran a limousine service for a mere seven years and then sold it to become a “consultant” simply couldn’t make it as an operator. I went on to say that I would not be likely to follow the advice of someone that couldn’t even keep his company afloat for the first decade.

I have to tell you that I was most impressed that Tom didn’t call my office. Tom managed to get my personal cell phone number and call my cell. While it was totally legal to talk on the phone and drive in 2001, I pulled off to the side of the road because the conversation was so heated and Tom was talking so fast that I needed to have full concentration to avoid an accident.
It was that same day that I learned that Tom Mazza, or “Tommy,” as his friends know him, was a genius. Tom had so much information to share and had ideas that were so much better than mine that I thought I would be wise and shut my mouth for a change and soak up what he had to say. 
Tommy joined the limousine business in 1990, the same year I did. The difference is, Tommy started a company and I started as a private chauffeur, joining a company in 1993. Four years later, I began reading his articles when he became a senior editor at LCT Magazine. In 2002, he was hired as the executive director of the National Limousine Association. 
By this time, I was listening to everything he had to say and calling him for advice when needed. It seems there was nothing he didn’t have an answer for. Marketing, hiring, training, bill collections, financial matters, you name it, Mazza was the go-to guy for learning about this business. This was evident at every industry trade show Tom spoke at. In many of his presentations, you had to get there early unless you wanted to stand during the entire presentation. 
In 2003, Tom took over as the educational coordinator of the Limo Digest Show. The seminars offered were spot on for what the industry needed at the time. The education he provided to so many set the foundation of the industry as we know it today. I am grateful for every ounce of information he shared with me through personal phone calls, articles written, seminars conducted, or a quick chat in a hotel lobby. R.I.P.

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

The limousine industry lost it’s main man on campus. Tom Mazza entered the limousine industry just before it peaked as a modern day convenience previously used only by the rich and famous. Everyone in the industry knows Tom Mazza.
Tom didn’t just open a limousine service in 1990. Tom became a self-promoting marketing machine that made his name a household name in the industry. Tom didn’t need a spotlight to shine upon him. Tom’s face and name were attached to so many events, shows, publications, forums, training videos, books and focus groups that you could not help but know who he was.

He touched the lives of many people and worked tirelessly to improve the industry. He served as executive director of the National Limousine Association. He was a senior editor right here at LCT Magazine. He was the educational coordinator for the Limo Digest. Not only did he help the industry at large but he assisted individual operators in improving their operations and not just by providing consulting services but Tom would become “family” to those he worked with.

Tom Mazza touched the livery industry unlike anyone else ever has. He was a friend to everyone he met and enriched their lives by being in it and enhanced their businesses through solid advice and guidance. You might say, Tom Mazza created the giant blueprint for the industry. The foundation he laid provides success for many operators on a daily basis. Rest in peace Tom and thank you for all you did while here. . .

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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