Let’s Put Unity Back In Our Community

Jim Luff
Posted on October 8, 2019
The LCT Show, circa 1987, in Atlantic City, N.J. Nothing exclusionary here.

The LCT Show, circa 1987, in Atlantic City, N.J. Nothing exclusionary here.

In 2012 I was honored to interview Scott Solombrino, the then-CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation, and Ty Bobit, the then-owner of LCT Magazine and CEO of Bobit Business Media, both limousine industry legends during the formation of the industry as we know it today.

I quizzed them about the history of our industry and how it developed. Both men (along with five operators) were instrumental in the creation of the National Limousine Association during the launch of the first-ever limousine industry trade show in 1984.

Along with Jeffrey Burger whom Solombrino and Bobit met by chance during that first trade show in Atlantic City, N.J., the three men would set up the legal foundation and protocols of the NLA. Solombrino attributed the creation and growth of the industry to the vision of Ty Bobit.

“Ty was way ahead of his time. He made sure the industry grew through trade shows, connecting coachbuilders with buyers. Together with Ty‘s vision and LCT Magazine, the face of the industry became what it is today,” Solombrino said. This is why when the NLA was teetering on bankruptcy, Ty Bobit offered up a cash infusion that rescued the group from extinction. Meanwhile, he also offered a management contract to assist the NLA in avoiding financial ruin ever again. The NLA was near and dear to his heart.

By 1989, we were officially an industry as 2,000 operators descended upon a Palm Springs, Calif., car show featuring limousines. The operators had come together to unite according to an article in Limousine Legend, one of three industry magazines publishing at the time including LCT Magazine and The Limousine Journal. While LCT Magazine thrived, the other two publications did not survive but were replaced by a new magazine called Limousine Digest. Both LCT Magazine and Limousine Digest put on shows on the East Coast and West Coast respectively with a common goal of educating our community about the expanding industry and increased regulations.

For decades there was unity in our industry community. Both magazines hosted multiple industry shows working to build affiliate relationships, provide education, and allow members of the respective coastlines to break bread with their brethren on their own turf. Even in later years, there were educational summits and retreats. Industry members were encouraged to attend all of them. The publishers of the industry magazines invited each other to their respective shows. There was a spirit of cooperation that existed so the entire community could benefit.

Having been in this industry since 1990, I am disappointed and saddened by the prominent use of the word “exclusive” and the selection of show dates and venues that force people to decide on one show or another for budgetary reasons. I prefer the word INCLUSIVE over exclusive since one benefits many more people than the other. I love all the great people in our community and I hope one day we will be able to put the word UNITY back into our community. It can only make the industry better.

Related LCT article: 30 Ways The Industry Changed Forever

Related Topics: history of the limo industry, industry events, industry leaders, industry media, Jim Luff, LCT blog, LCT Magazine, limo tradeshows, National Limousine Association, Scott Solombrino, Ty Bobit

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Wendy Kleefisch

     | about 2 months ago

    I agree 100% Thank You Jim!

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