The founder of Pontarelli Companies leaves a legacy of quality transportation and brave service to his country.
[UPDATED 4/5/12 @ 1:15 p.m. EDT/10:15 a.m. PDT: MEMORIAL SERVICE INFO HERE]
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Members of the limousine industry offered poignant memories and tributes Wednesday to Florida operator Carla Boroday, who died Tuesday, April 3 at the age of 66. The dynamic and forceful advocate of a more professional industry touched many careers and lives across the nation in a three-decade involvement with chauffeured transportation in South Florida and far beyond.
Boroday served as president of the Florida Limousine Association, as a board director of the National Limousine Association, worked as a tireless industry advocate on numerous legislative and regulatory issues, and survived cancer four times. She died Tuesday evening in a South Florida hospital of an infection and complications following a major heart operation.
"Carla was such a wonderful and inspiring woman and leader, but most of all a dearest friend of us at BostonCoach and a dearest friend of mine," said Catherine Chaulet, senior vice president of Boston Coach, in updated remarks Wednesday. "When I first started at BostonCoach, she took me under her wing and introduced me to the entire industry. That was Carla's way of living. She was always so generous. She taught so many of us at BostonCoach the intricacies of our services and spent countless hours coaching us on the value of partnership . She was one of the first affiliates of BostonCoach and one of the most influential. Through the years she won multiple affiliate of the year awards. She was on each and every BostonCoach affiliate committees and one of our affiliate advisory council. She helped us build the company we are today. She was also at the origin of a critical women's movement in the industry, always supporting and promoting the best and the brightest in our industry. Many companies became affiliates of BostonCoach thanks to Carla's recommendation. Her voice was always of such importance to us. Peter Dellamonica, Michelle Louis-Jeune, Lisa Ortega, Dan Krueger, Larry Moulter, our CEO and all of us at BostonCoach are all so very sad today. We have lost a dear dear friend of ours."
Boroday was with her family and loved ones when she passed away Tuesday evening in a South Florida hospital. She had entered the hospital in February just before the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, and a short time later received bypass surgery. She also had survived cancer four times during her life and strongly supported efforts to combat the disease.
News of Boroday’s death has shocked and deeply saddened many members of the limousine industry. Boroday, the co-founder and president of Associated Limousine Services Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, was an indefatigable woman who labored on many fronts for an industry she loved and was a constant presence at industry trade shows and events.
One of Boroday's closest friends and confidantes, Brian Waugh, a former operator in the Tampa Bay and Boston areas who now consults for limousine companies, said he and Carla spoke almost daily. "She was the queen of the limousine business," said Waugh, who also is close to the Boroday family. "She was involved with everything having to do with government and driver issues in Florida. She was everywhere." Waugh visited Boroday in the hospital the week before she died. "They woke her up in the hospital and she did recognize me and said, 'Hello, Brian.' She then fell back asleep. She was on heavy medications. We thought she was getting better." Waugh said Carla became his mentor when he moved to the Tampa Bay area to work in the limousine industry. "She and I were best friends and I learned a lot from her."
Neil Goodman, owner and CEO of Miami-based Aventura Worldwide, the largest limousine company in South Florida, worked closely with Boroday on regional regulatory and governmental matters, while also being a friendly competitor. "To describe Carla as a good person would be a huge understatement," Goodman wrote to LCT on Wednesday. "Knowing her for over 20-plus years, we had difference of opinions for sure, but we always 'agreed to disagree,' and never lost respect or a true fondness for each other. My wife, Toni, is a cancer survivor, as Carla was, (and both being Italian), were friends and 'girl buddies.' Carla always went out of her way to spend time with Toni, rarely talked business with her, and always went out of her way to make Toni feel comfortable whenever and wherever they saw each other. Whether Carla was feeling good, or not so good, there was always a smile on her beautiful face, and never, ever once, did she have a negative thing to say about anyone, even if that someone hurt her in some way, personally or in business. She will be painfully missed, our industry has lost a best friend, and she will never be forgotten."
Jeff Greene, president of Greene Classic Limousines and a fellow board director of the NLA, said in an e-mail Wednesday: "Carla was truly a gem in our industry. I had the privilege of serving with her on the board of the NLA and two years when I was President. I could always count on her to do whatever it took to make sure that we did what we were suppose to do and that was protect our members. She never had a bad word to say about anyone and was always fighting for justice no matter what. She showed strength and wisdom in her endeavor to help others. Her passion for this industry, her integrity in her dealings and her motherly advice will be sorely missed. We all give Bob, the love of her life, her children whom she adored and anyone that knew her, our prayers and know that she left with us the strength to carry on and the wonderful memories we all will cherish forever. May she rest in peace and Carla, Thank You for all you have done for everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you and what you have done will never be forgotten. We will all miss you!"
Dawson Rutter, CEO of Commonwealth Worlwide and an NLA board director, added, "We’ve lost the biggest activist we’ve ever had in this industry. I agree with what Barry Beall (Arizona operator) said: 'She was short of stature, but a giant in our industry.' She’ll be sorely missed.”
Ray Garcia, owner of Prestige Limousines in Boca Raton, Fla., who worked with Boroday on many association and regulatory related matters, announced in an e-mail Wednesday: "The industry knows her as Carla Boroday and I know her as Mommer. She leaves behind her husband Robert Boroday (Bob) to some, but Popper to me and also her sons, Adrian, Derrick and daughter Shelly Boroday. The family has been through a serious roller coaster ride these last couple of months since Carla had under gone her triple bypass heart surgery that led to complications. The family these last few days decided that the battle to resist from losing their wife and mother was much too strong to keep her from being at peace with her belated parents."
Jonna Sabroff, president of Integrated Transportation Services in Los Angeles and a close associate of Boroday, told LCT: "Carla Boroday was a strong, capable woman. She was a force to be reckoned with. Everything she did, she did with her whole heart. She fought for what she thought was right. She worked hard for the Limousine Industry. She was a good friend. I will always miss her."
“Carla was a dedicated industry activist who served for six years on the board of the NLA,” Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network and an NLA board director wrote in an e-mail to LCT. “Her husband Bob also served for three years. She cared about the issues affecting our business and fought to improve the environment for chauffeured transportation company owners. She was dedicated to the industry and always was willing to donate time to all the various causes.”
NLA board director and Oklahoma operator Greg Pruitt wrote: “Carla was one of the first people to include me in the group, industry, and board events. I always enjoyed her stories of surviving and thriving with cancer, business, and life in general. I already miss that laugh. Thanks Carla for including me!”
In an e-mail to LCT Tuesday evening, Barry Gross of A. Goff Transportation wrote: “Carla Boroday was full of life and a genuine zeal for our business. She was competitive, yet incredibly giving with her time and knowledge. She was also a tenacious defender of our industry against frivolous oversight and regulation. Many people owe a great deal to Carla's efforts on behalf of the transportation industry. I will miss her counsel, and I will miss her outgoing manner.”
UPDATED: [SEE CARLA BORODAY LCT PHOTO TRIBUTE GALLERY HERE].
One of the proudest moments of her career happened just last year when the Florida Limousine Association, which she led as president, received the 2011 LCT Association Award of Excellence during the 2011 International LCT Show in Las Vegas, considered the industry’s highest recognition for local, state and regional trade associations.
Boroday was elected president of a newly reconstituted FLA in June 2010 after it absorbed the Florida Ground Transportation Association, an industry association she also had served as president. The FLA became the state’s limousine association in 2009 because the industry efforts in Florida and nationally were not coherent among the multiple associations throughout the state. The FLA now aims to present a united voice for all regions and their various issues.
While at the FGTA, Boroday became among the first industry leaders in 2008 to successfully fend off a move by Avis WeDriveU in Miami-Dade County to rent out vehicles and chauffeurs under separate companies, thereby avoiding chauffeured transportation regulations. That enabled the car rental agency to charge less than typical limousine service rates because it didn’t have to pay the costs of regulation, inspection, licenses, and insurance.
Boroday also served on the Miami-Dade County Limousine Advisory Group which advised county and elected officials on regulatory and traffic issues affecting limousine operators.
Boroday represented the Southeast Region on the NLA board of directors during two successive three-year terms from 2003-2009. She chaired or co-chaired the Association Liaison Committee for the entire time. Boroday also co-chaired the International, Membership and Scholarship Committees for one or more years each. She was NLA Secretary in 2004, and had been an association member since 1998.
In a statement Tuesday evening, NLA President Diane Forgy wrote: "Carla served on the NLA Board from 2003 – 2009, having been elected to two consecutive terms from the Southeast Region. She was energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about the industry, a friend to all and a warm and caring soul. Carla worked hard, spoke her mind and contributed greatly to the many issues and decisions that faced the board. She was a valuable voice and true activist in Washington D.C. during our many Day on the Hill events. It was in her heart to mentor, console and support so many in the industry. On behalf of the NLA Board and staff, and the many past board members who had the pleasure of serving with Carla, we express our sincere condolences to the Boroday family during this difficult time. We are all eternally grateful for her service to the NLA Board and the industry at large. We have all lost a dear friend and ally but are grateful that there is so much to celebrate in who she was and what she contributed to our lives. . . Personally, Carla and I started serving on the board together in 2003. We had our own bond, shared many special moments, heated discussions and great laughs. She was one of the sweetest and toughest ladies I know in this business. It is hard to imagine not seeing Carla again, but her spirit will always be present."
Boroday, who learned and spoke seven languages, was president and co-owner with husband Bob Boroday of Associated Limousine Services Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, a chauffeured transportation operation with a 50-plus vehicle fleet that primarily serves Florida’s heaviest populated metro area consisting of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Associated Limousine Services' structure and name evolved over the course of three decades from the purchases of several smaller regional limousine companies, Boroday explained to LCT during a visit to her company on Sept. 14, 2011.
Carla Boroday’s extensive career dates to the 1970s when she and her husband, Bob, started a limousine service in South Florida and became among the first operators to register for and purchase the limited legal permits needed to do business in much of the region.
During a visit with LCT following the LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach, Boroday and her son, Derrick, who works as a vice president/operations manager at the company, gave a tour of the classic and vintage vehicles housed in a warehouse next to their limousine company. It was apparent that the Boroday family’s love of vehicles extends well beyond black chauffeured vehicles; the warehouse is home to various versions of VW buses, Cadillac Eldorados, Chevrolet Corvettes, among others collected over the years by the family. As the mother of Derrick and a younger son, Adrian, both in their 30s, Carla fondly pointed to the teething marks left by her two then-young sons on the back of the front leather seats of a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible the family drove at the time and has kept in mint condition.
Boroday also was an inspirational leader among women in an industry that to this day is overwhelmingly male. She was quoted on the subject in a February 2004 feature article in LCT Magazine:
“I don’t think it really matters if you are a man or woman in the business. If you’re honest, treat people with respect, are considerate and kind, then all that is reflective in your business. Women are more meticulous and good at pinpointing things as business owners. That may be because females in this industry means you have to go the extra mile to prove you are serious and knowledgeable. If you’re a female in this industry you have to know your business and make people realize you know what you’re talking about, and come across confidant. Men don’t have to do that, especially in our business, transportation, because it is predominantly viewed as male-related. Also the way we approach employees, with respect and kindness, makes them want to go the extra mile for us. That may mean doing another job after their shift is over.”
Boroday also was a strong supporter of breast cancer research. She was quoted in the April 2011 Post-Show Issue of LCT Magazine after appearing on the cover with a group of industry women who donated to a LCT industry fund-raiser:
“I do not know of anyone who has not been affected by a family member or friend with cancer. It is also very important for women to know that it is imperative for them to have mammograms. If they think there is something wrong DO NOT IGNORE IT. See your doctor. Being a four-time cancer survivor, I know the importance of check-ups and follow-ups. My mother died at 37 from cancer, and if not for modern medicine and today's knowledge from cancer research, I probably would not be here to be in the calendar. I cannot stress enough the importance of self-examination and mammograms. . . . It is important for women to know that although the limousine industry is male dominated, females are exceptionally great when it comes to service. We notice small details and have a way to make our customers feel comfortable in dealing with us. I feel that I can be an inspiration to women to see that although I had the misfortune of battling cancer, I still worked very hard and built a business with the help of my family and staff that we all can be very proud of.”
Those two quotes say it all and leave a lasting legacy.
Carla is survived by her husband, Bob; son Derrick and his wife, Shelly; and son Adrian, a linguistics professor at Florida International University, who also has worked in the family business. A private family memorial and funeral service will be held next week. The family plans to publicize, at the appropriate time, details of a future limousine industry commemorative event.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
The founder of Pontarelli Companies leaves a legacy of quality transportation and brave service to his country.
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