Operations

Owner Upholds Family Legacy Of Integrity After Father Died

Lexi Tucker
Posted on June 13, 2018

Dave Uziel, president of UrbanBCN Worldwide
Dave Uziel, president of UrbanBCN Worldwide
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Many operations in this industry are family owned. Sometimes an owner’s children know they are destined to have a role in the company, and others must step up to do so in times of uncertainty. Dave Uziel, president of UrbanBCN Worldwide, is one of the latter.

His father started the business in 1979 and ran the company with integrity for 30 years. In 2009, he suffered a heart attack while driving a client and had to be taken to the hospital. Uziel was a police officer at the time, but decided he needed to be there for his family and started managing the company. After his father died in 2012, Uziel then became owner.

Being a police officer, he had an innate ability to remain calm under pressure and a sense of duty to care for his mother now that his father was gone. “It was like being thrown into a fire; I think I just had what my dad had and never knew it until I started running the company,” he says.

Model Of A Modern Luxury Transportation Company

Something unique about UrbanBCN is that although Uziel has a warehouse and office space, all his office staff work remotely from home. In a way, it’s always been like that since his father originally ran the company from home with Limo Anywhere.

One of the company's Cadillac SUVs
One of the company's Cadillac SUVs
“I’ve always been really into tech and how it betters a business and makes everyone’s life easier. I felt this way of doing business allows us to have employees in different time zones to accommodate clients 24/7 with less stress,” he explains.

Slack is the number one tool he recommends for team communication because it’s quick and allows for easy storage of data. “If there’s a change everyone needs to be aware of, it’s instantaneous.” Each of his employees has anywhere from two to three computer monitors so they can remain vigilant and emulate an office setting. Company meetings are done through Skype, and phones are on a VOIP system.

Fast Learner

Uziel was lucky to have a couple of mentors to help guide him in the right direction. Dale Schahczinski at OML Worldwide Transportation in Northbrook, Ill. and Alan Candeub from Park Avenue Limousine in Trevose, Pa. said he always needed to stay true to who he was, and this hit him hard. He’s learned the importance of representing the reality of your business and what you can actually do, as well as being careful of who you accept jobs from.

An UrbanBCN sedan
An UrbanBCN sedan
“In some ways, I believe our industry is forcing itself to change to accommodate the TNCs,” Uziel says. “Why are we moving away from what made us really good? Greed hinders success, and I think that’s why we are hurting as a whole. Operators got frantic and forgot about what got them this far. Stay in your lane and don’t worry about what others are doing or saying.”

He also thinks the most important thing anyone can do is listen more than they talk. “Everyone makes mistakes and is willing to talk about it. If someone else made the mistake, why should you?”

No Risk, No Reward

Uziel says a combination of his experience as a police officer and being a Millennial has made him more willing to take risks that have often payed off. “The older you are, the less willing to take risks to change your business model you become,” he explains.

He bought out Black Car Network (hence the BCN in the company’s name), and credits the smooth transition to being smart about how he acquires new companies.

An UrbanBCN Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van
An UrbanBCN Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van
“Everyone asked if I was crazy, but I felt it was right in my gut. At the end of the day, Millennials have a longer time to recover if something doesn’t work out. As an officer, when things happen on the street, you have no choice but to adapt.”

In 2016, Uziel had just five cars — four sedans and one SUV. After he bought BCN with the help of some family friends, his fleet jumped to 27. That year he saw a 25% increase in sales. In 2017, that number rose to almost 30%. For 2018, they are on track for a 27% annual increase. “I believe we’ve gotten this far because my dad is watching over us,” he says.

Onward And Upward

When asked about his biggest success so far, Uziel says: “Building a team of nine of the best dispatchers and reservationists in the industry. I have also been fortunate to be able to grow this company with my older brother and sister.” They have their challenges, but they all have a vested interest in the growth of the company. If there’s one thing they all take very seriously, it’s their father’s legacy.

Company license plates spead the UrbanBCN name around the area.
Company license plates spead the UrbanBCN name around the area.
“I’m so proud we continue to grow, and that everyone feels they have a large part in the company’s success,” Uziel says. “From our chauffeurs and detailers to office staff and affiliates, we wouldn’t be here without them. Our chauffeurs all have 10+ years in the industry, and care about our family and business.”

With technology, he’s been impressed with Andrew Norman and the team at Add.ons, a company that creates tools that integrate with Limo Anywhere to revolutionize how companies interact with their clients. “We want to keep building out more tech and communication tools for our clients and make the process of booking easier,” he says.

Another win for the team has been the addition of Corey Witzel, formerly with Premier Transportation in Dallas, Texas, and Dustin Baker, formerly with Ecko Transportation Worldwide in San Jose, Calif. in early 2018.

Uziel has also opened a small office in Los Angeles, and plans to keep it that way. By the end of the year, he hopes to buy another company double his size.

Related Topics: California operators, customer service, family businesses, LCTFast40, Limo Anywhere, Millennials, operator profiles, San Francisco operators, technology, WebXclusive

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 2 days ago

    Congratulations on your success :) I would give you my personal opinion, there is no need for you to buy another company.... Your based in san francisco... focus on san fran.. plenty of clientele and $$$$$ I would suggest you add a 45 pass party bus to your fleet.. tiffany coach. The kids in your area will pay 80.00 per person

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