Monday, March 18, 2019

BY SUSAN ROSE

cd-1213-complete-fleet-cover-web Barry Trabb of Complete Fleet, located at Maplecrest Ford Lincoln in Union, N.J., with a Lincoln MKT, Navigator, and MKS. Photography by Chris Weiss. Photography by Chris Weiss. Barry Trabb, Bruce Cirlin, and Dino ­Olivares of Complete Fleet & Limousine Sales ( completefleetsales.com) in Union, N.J., will be happy to sell you a vehicle, but you’ll probably get a little more than just your next fleet addition. You’ll likely build a friendship that will last longer than a one-time sale.

Trabb—president of Com­plete Fleet, a division of Maple­crest Ford Lincoln—has walked in the shoes of an operator. He started as a chauffeur when he was just 17, and by 20 he had founded his own transportation company, which is still in operation today. He transitioned over to fleet sales in 1999 and has partnered with several dealerships. He’s made his life and career about the transportation industry, and he’s always happy to share his knowledge with customers.

“I find myself giving advice to new operators to help them navigate the process of owning a business,” he says. “We make the process easy when purchasing a new vehicle—from the paperwork to the delivery—but it’s not unusual to also offer my help in other places. I’ve probably acted as a mentor to a hundred new operators over the years just because I’ve been where they’ve been.”

The entire Complete Fleet team has been in the industry collectively for more than 70 years. Cirlin, who has certainly built a following of loyal customers after 37 years in fleet sales, is vice president of sales for Complete Fleet and has been working with Trabb since 2001. Olivares, who is in sales and is the location’s finance manager, has 15 years of industry experience and joined the team in 2006.

BY PHIL COLE

Players from the ground transportation industry were among the many to attend Salute to American Heroes, a charity event for wounded soldiers spearheaded by non-profit group, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon (AaSP), which aims to improve the morale of all United States soldiers and their families. The event drew over 300 people—including veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan—into the stunningly beautiful venue, Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville, N.J.

artist scott lobaido-3-minute-painting Artist Scott LoBaido (kneeling) poses in front of his 3-minute painting, which was later purchased by David Seelinger Emceed by Emmy-winning journalist Marvin Scott of WPIX-TV, the event provided food, music, entertainment, as well as a for-charity silent auction including autographed sports apparel, a seven-day time share in Antiqua at Jolly Harbour, and a helicopter ride for two over New York City. Among other attendees supporting the cause were Chris Weiss and Eric Alpert of Chauffeur Driven, AJ Thurber of Don Brown Bus Sales, David Eckstein and Robert Mackasek of Valera Global, and Alan Candeub of Park Avenue Limousine.

David Seelinger of EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services, one of the biggest sponsors of the event, also attended with a couple members of his team. EmpireCLS spared no expense for the cause as it handled the pickups and drop-offs of wounded soldiers from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The lineup of chauffeurs also included—to everyone’s surprise—a number of veterans as well.

BY SUSAN ROSE

cd-1213-strack-matt-sailboats Strack Premier Transportation CEO Matt Strack with some of his fleet at Newport Beach Harbor

Earlier this year, a three-week trip to the Costa Rican jungles changed Matt Strack’s life. Visiting with a company called La Reserva Forest Foundation—a non-profit dedicated to not only helping companies become carbon neutral, but in improving the planet along the way—Strack saw firsthand how he could help. The trip to the delicate ecosystems of the Central American country—ones that had been damaged by man, but also ones that are being helped by man—reaffirmed his commitment to the environment and solidified his efforts to operate a sustainable business. It was a pivotal moment for the young entrepreneur.

Growing up in California, environmental causes had always been important to Strack, but it wasn’t until he started his own transportation business, Strack Premier Transportation (SPT), when it finally occurred to him that he could actively make a difference. To Strack, it’s as important as excellent customer service and the use of technology. The policy of “Ride with Strack and Give Back” was born.

“I really wanted to get down to a grassroots level with my commitment to the environment. I was looking for an organization with minimal overhead so the bulk of our donations would go to planting trees,” Strack says. “It was a great trip. I learned the advantages of planting trees in the tropics, in particular the faster growth, more leaf structure area to sequester CO2 and the vitality of the trees year-round, to help reduce carbon for the planet at an expedited rate.

BY SUSAN ROSE

When the Chauffeur Driven Show blew into Atlantic City this past November, even CD staff were astounded by the positive vibe and kinetic energy happening at the Trump Taj Mahal. As the youngest contender amongst the East Coast shows, it was Chauffeur Driven’s goal to pull out all the stops to bring attendees the finest quality education, networking, entertainment, vehicles, and services. By all accounts, this was the fresh air that the industry craved. Many thanks to our Title Sponsor, The Lincoln Motor Company (see a full list of our sponsors at www.chauffeurdrivenshow.com).

cd-1213-show-review-ribbon-chris-eric-ford As our first show, this was the opportunity to mix it up, test the waters, and really challenge ourselves to think differently about the needs of the industry—now and moving forward. We knew there were some essentials that we had to have: all under one roof for less time spent traveling between venues and more time learning and networking. We knew it had to have all the best speakers and the most relevant topics. It had to include some downtime, but also lots of opportunities to let loose and have some fun. Four days, nearly 100 exhibitors, 50+ sponsors, and over 1,500 attendees later, the show was a smashing success and the clear choice of the chauffeured ground transportation industry. Thank you to our incredible attendees!

“Congratulations on a great show. I think you surprised a lot of the naysayers who thought you couldn’t pull off a successful show that size on your own. Not only did you do it, you excelled at it. I wish you nothing but continued success in the years to come and bigger and more awesome shows,” says David Brown of Premiere Transportation Group in Albany, N.Y.