People

LCT People's Choice Awards Honor Noble Causes

Lexi Tucker
Posted on November 9, 2017

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The LCT People's Choice Awards recognize operators chosen by peers (who also could be your competitors) for  beyond one's own business.

The awards were born out of a desire to show industry good deeds and make sure they never go unnoticed. At the 2017 LCT-NLA East Show, five familiar industry faces were recognized for selfless contributions of time, money, and/or know-how in making their corners of the world a better place.

Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Eric Devlin of Premier Transportation
Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Eric Devlin of Premier Transportation
Limo Entrepreneur of the Year – Eric Devlin

Premier Transportation Services of Dallas has grown dramatically over the years and branched out into new markets. Eric Devlin enjoys more bus business thanks to educating and developing his team. He is a big giver to other operators by allowing them to conduct site visits and learn from him. His employees love and respect him, as do his peers in the limo industry.

Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Gary Buffo of Pure Luxury Transportation
Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Gary Buffo of Pure Luxury Transportation
Leadership Award – Gary Buffo

Gary Buffo, CEO and co-owner of Pure Luxury Transportation in Petaluma, Calif., has given a lot to the NLA to try to unify the industry as much as possible. He’s served as President since 2013, which means he travels all over the place on an almost weekly basis. He works with local and state associations and fires up operators nationwide about supporting the NLA and its many causes that benefit the industry.

Bruce Heinrich, owner of LEADER Worldwide Chauffeur Services and PAX Training
Bruce Heinrich, owner of LEADER Worldwide Chauffeur Services and PAX Training
Innovation Award – Bruce Heinrich

Not only does he run a high-end limousine company in Kansas City, LEADER Worldwide Chauffeur Services, but Bruce Heinrich also has ventured into technology with his chauffeur training product PAX Certified Training. It’s the industry’s first and only fully customizable, interactive chauffeur training program. It allows operators to easily train, test, and certify their chauffeurs with best practices in just a few clicks. Created for all learning styles using a mix of video, audio, text, and images, the program helps chauffeurs learn and apply the information. Now accessible on any Internet ready device, chauffeurs train at their own pace, anywhere, at any time, even between trips or waiting for passengers.

Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Wendy Kleefisch of Brevard Executive Transporation
Olivia Moody, LCT sales & marketing manager, and Wendy Kleefisch of Brevard Executive Transporation
Carla Boroday Humanitarian Award – Wendy Kleefisch

As President of the Central Florida Livery Association (CFLA), Wendy Kleefisch is dedicated to promoting quality service and management in the ground transportation industry. CFLA member companies provide chauffeured ground transportation services throughout Central Florida, and as members of the industry adhere to the highest standards. The CFLA also strives to work with other nonprofits and charities to feed the hungry, including the Hope & Help and Daily Bread non-profit groups. Its first annual "CFLA Cans for a Cause" was a huge success as they stuffed a stretch limousine with canned and boxed foods. Kleefisch also runs Brevard Executive Transportation of Melbourne, Fla.

Commonwealth Worldwide's CEO Dawson Rutter and Director of Operations and Global Affiliate Relations Tami Saccoccio
Commonwealth Worldwide's CEO Dawson Rutter and Director of Operations and Global Affiliate Relations Tami Saccoccio
Gold Star Award – Dawson Rutter

Most notably, the CEO of Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Boston started his large fleet company from the ground up in 1983, and has led it to become one of the most prestigious and sought after companies in the industry. Rutter has won many awards and contributed to many industry charities. As a politically savvy business owner, Dawson served multiple terms as a board director of the National Limousine Association, where he has always been first to give back to the NLA, whether it's donating to the Harold Berkman Memorial Fund or leading and funding the NLA’s Political Action Committee.

(l to r) Jason Kaplan of Driver Provider, Melissa Byrd of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kevin Illingworth of Classique Limousines, Ron Stein of Exclusive Sedan Service, Billy Placier of Music Express East, and Robert Alexander of RMA
(l to r) Jason Kaplan of Driver Provider, Melissa Byrd of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kevin Illingworth of Classique Limousines, Ron Stein of Exclusive Sedan Service, Billy Placier of Music Express East, and Robert Alexander of RMA
NLA Donates Big Money To Three Charities

During the People's Choice Awards, the NLA donated $20,000 to three organizations from the Harold Berkman Memorial fund: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Fisher House Foundation, and the Children's Inn at NIH.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital aims to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family's ability to pay.

The Fisher House Foundation provides  military  families housing close to a loved  one during hospitalization for an illness, disease, or injury.

The Children’s Inn at NIH is a residential “Place Like Home’’ for families with children participating in leading-edge research studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. The NIH Clinical Center is the nation’s premier biomedical research hospital, providing an opportunity for our residents to be partners in advancing medical discoveries and improving the health of people all over the world.

George Jacobs, Ford/Lincoln's Craig Hall, Harry Dhillon, and a guest during the NLA charity auciton.
George Jacobs, Ford/Lincoln's Craig Hall, Harry Dhillon, and a guest during the NLA charity auciton.
Cars For A Cause

Operators got into a friendly bidding war for a 2018 Ford Expedition MAX during the Ford/Lincoln sponsored award show and charity night. The auction had two winners: George Jacobs of Windy City Limousine in Chicago, and Harry Dhillon of Ecko Worldwide Transportation in San Jose. Craig Hall of Ford/Lincoln decided on the spot to up the the company's donation to TWO Expeditions, so each operator could get one. Jacobs and Dhillon each put up $77,500 for an Expediton, with Chosen Payments providing $1,000 extra per SUV to sweeten the deal for the Harold Berkman Memorial Fund.

Related Topics: Atlantic city, casinos, charity, Ford, Harold Berkman Memorial Fund, Harrah's, honors and awards, industry charity, industry events, LCT-NLA Show East, limo tradeshows, Lincoln, National Limousine Association, People's Choice Awards, tradeshows

Lexi Tucker Assistant Editor
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Out of town guests include Billy Placier of Music Express in New York; Scott and Melissa Woodruff of Majestic Limousine in Des Moines, Iowa, and Renee Ferraro with ZBest Worldwide in Baltimore, Md. At right is Perry Barin, operations manager at Music Express in Burbank and a GCLA board director.
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