Friday, March 22, 2019
ABA RecapABA’s 2019 Marketplace recognized many ­members’ achievements American Bus Association (ABA) members spent the last week of January building their businesses with appointments, networking, and professional education during ABA’s 2019 Marketplace in Louisville, Ky. The annual event, which was held from January 25-29 this year, brings together all sectors of the group travel and tourism industry.

With more than 137,000 scheduled appointments happening throughout the week, tens of millions of dollars of business was generated to kick off ABA members’ 2019. But not all the business building was happening through appointments. During Marketplace, attendees had endless opportunities to network with established partners and meet new ones whether in the exhibit hall, during morning and lunch sessions, and evening dine arounds and events.

Attendees also participated in more than 50 seminars and education bites with numerous national speakers and industry experts to help hone their professional development, technology and sales and marketing skills, as well learn about and discuss issues affecting the industry through all things motorcoach, including maintenance and repair, innovations, and regulatory and compliance sessions.

ABA RecapBrent Maitland of MCI speaks at a session Numerous ABA Council meetings offered a different kind of education during the week, as the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC), Bus Maintenance & Repair Council, Hispanic Motorcoach Council, School Bus Council, and the Women in Buses Council all held meetings during the event.

ABA members also took care of association business by electing five new members to the board of directors: Jonathan Berzas of Fullington Trailways; Cindy Brown of Boston Duck Tours; Roman Cornell of ABC Companies; Kim Grzywacz of CIT Signature Transportation; and Luke Busskohl of Arrow Stage Lines as the 2020 Marketplace chairman.

“The ABA’s membership continues to diversify, and it is good to see that our board of directors is as well,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso. “We are committed to meeting the needs of every member and these newly elected board members will bring fresh ideas and perspective to the board.”

But it is not all hard work and no play at ABA. Attendees were treated to more than a 100 exhibitors, including 22 motorcoaches, on the networking floor—many of whom were giving out treats and promotional items to Marketplace-goers.

ABA Recap ABA Recap Attendees also enjoyed a night at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs for a night of Juleps, Jockeys, and Generosity as they raised money for the ABA Gives Back local charity, Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs. The Backside Learning Center is an independent, nonprofit organization serving equine workers and families at Churchill Downs. They provide adult education programs, after-school and summer youth programs, and social services. Because of ABA members’ generosity, the ABA Gives Back program donated $22,000 to the Center.

ABA members also were very generous when it came to raising funds for the ABA Foundation’s Fund a Future program. Each year at Marketplace, the ABA Foundation holds a live and silent auction; this year’s live auction included four motorcoaches generously donated by ABC Companies, Motor Coach Industries, Prevost, and Temsa. All monies raised during the week of Marketplace through these events go toward the ABA Foundation scholarship program and helps the ABA Foundation fund $100,000 in scholarships each year. This year through the events, the ABA Foundation was able to raise approximately $140,000 for scholarships. Since its inception, the ABA Foundation Scholarship program has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to hundreds of ABA member families.

ABA Recap ABA Recap While it was a week of hard work, everyone also took the time to recognize the many achievements of ABA members that were made throughout the year. The annual ABA Certified Travel Industry Specialist program not only saw 22 members graduate from the program during Marketplace, but also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the program. And ABA partners also presented awards throughout the week to members in recognition of their individual accomplishments.

ABA’s Marketplace 2020 will take place in Omaha, Neb., from Jan. 10-14.

Visit buses.org for more information.

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