Sunday, January 20, 2019
Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterMembers of Spinning Wheels give curling a whirl at the Olympic Training Center in Charlotte, N.C. Back row (L to R): Mechelle Cappel of Elite Transportation, Rick Hutson of JED Transportation, Kathy Messina of Driving Results, David Glazier of Fleet Transportation, John Sutich of Perfect Limo Service, John Raftery of Executive Limousine & Coach, Vince Schneider of JED Transportation, Jim Morrison of ABC Companies, Andy Thompson of Rose Chauffeured Transportation, Joey Mills of Gold Shield Transportation, and Johnny Donohoe of Sterling Limousine. Middle row (L to R): Brenda Borwege of ABC Companies, Doris Sutich of Perfect Limo Service, Selim Aslan of MIB Transportation, Michelle Miller of Elite Coach, Tracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus, Tony Mehdiof of North Point Transportation Group, Tom Holden of Rose Chauffeured Transportation, and Charlie Grimm of BAC Transportation. Front row (L to R): Eric Weinstein of Limo Livery, Renzo Ormsbee of Elite Worldwide Transportation Solutions, Stacey Glazier of Fleet Transportation, Arthur Messina of Driving Results, Becky Laramee of All Points Limousine, and Tony Asaro of Desert Rose Transportation. For its last meeting of 2018, Driving Results’ owners/GM group ­Spinning Wheels—and Chauffeur Driven Publisher Chris Weiss—took to ­Charlotte, N.C., from November 28-30. The three-day gathering was filled with education of all kinds, including plenty of opportunities to not only explore the town but also push each member beyond their comfort zones.

The meeting kicked off with a member catch-up before Tom Holden, the former director of operations for meeting host Rose Chauffeured Transportation, discussed the state of the bus industry. (Holden left Rose to found BUS Advisors at the end of December.) It’s a topic that group facilitator Arthur Messina feels is crucial since most Spinning Wheels members “have either dabbled in the motorcoach market or are in the process of getting into it.”

Messina added that the members also got to take Rose’s “unique and different” RideRose app for a real-world spin, showing them “how easy it is to incorporate an app into their booking process.”

“This industry can be a creature of habit, so we wanted to show them that new things DO work,” he explained.

The educational focus shifted to finances when The LMC Group’s Jessica Boulerice gave the second installment of her three-part Budget Boot Camp. The penultimate primer was followed by the evening’s dinner and a team-building event that carried on the theme of nudging the Spinning Wheels members further outside their comfort zones. Messina says his wife and the groups’ event coordinator Kathy is “constantly looking for new ways to bring value to our meetings”—in this case, the group was joined by representatives of ABC Companies when they headed to the Charlotte Curling Club’s home ice to give the deceptively simple Olympic sport a shot.

Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterVince Schneider of JED Transportation Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterJohn Raftery of Executive Limousine & Coach Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterTracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterBrenda Borwege of ABC Companies and Selim Aslan of MIB Transportation work together to move their rock to the goal “It was—first of all, hysterical, and also a really good experience with something that no one’s ever done before while keeping the whole group together,” Messina says.

Organically ensuring that the group’s 20-plus members are immersed in the same team-building activity comes with numerous benefits: Everyone has to strategize a way to work together, focus on the relationship-strengthening opportunities presented to them, and face a whole new challenge—all to the benefit of personal and professional growth.

“When you’re outside your comfort zone, your personality really comes out,” Messina says. “I notice that some of our members get frustrated because they want to master an activity right away; for others, it’s a learning experience. Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterTom Holden (center) After Rose’s management team gave members a tour of Downtown Charlotte, the rest of the day’s education came from an array of sources: CD’s Chris Weiss held a Q&A session about the current state and future of the industry and the role Chauffeur Driven plays in it, and also raffled off a pass to the 2019 Executive Retreat in Austin; a round-table discussion allowed for an formerly of Rose Chauffeured Transportation talks to the Spinning Wheels group during the site visit to his company The type-A folks always want to be the team leader and take charge, while others are so uncomfortable they just don’t want to participate.”

But, Messina continues, there is value in not only the self-discovery that comes with trying a wholly unfamiliar task but also gaining a little more firsthand understanding of how difficult learning something new can be for everyone from a brand-new hire to proven stars taking on additional tasks.

“I always try to explain it to them as thinking of their new employees, or if someone worked in one department and then switched over to another: How are you getting them to do something that they’ve never done before?” he explains. “It’s the same concept: If you feel uncomfortable, put yourself in their shoes. One day your team might Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterL to R: Arthur Messina of Driving Results, Chauffeur Driven Publisher Chris Weiss, winner of a pass to the 2019 CD Executive Retreat in Austin Becky Laramee of All Points Limousine, and Kathy Messina of Driving Results need someone to help out in another department for that week, that month, that event, or that project. So the team-building we do has to have something of value for them in that way, and it definitely teaches them a lot.”

Spinning Wheels member Michelle Miller of Elite Coach in Pittsburgh, Pa., was among those who embraced the challenge, as Messina says “she did not stop laughing all the way up and down the ice.”

“I feel there’s always a story in these team-building events, and they make you realize that you have to get a little dirty to find out what your team is feeling and where they are, and where your business is at that moment—and that nothing is as easy on the inside as it looks from the outside,” Miller says. “I think the biggest thing we all took away from curling is that, like so many things, it only looks simple and easy when you’re watching it. We all walked away realizing that everyone has a story like that.”

Members then got back into their element, as the second day saw a site visit to Rose Chauffeured Transportation’s headquarters for the opportunity to hear from and chat with Holden some more, as well as President/Founder HA Thompson and Owner/Vice President Andy Thompson. Messina explained that the bonus benefits of spending some time with the Rose team included a site visit that offered behind-the-scenes glimpses into how a company transitions from its previous facility to a brand-new one without missing a beat. “We have a couple members who are building new locations, so it gave them some insight into things like how you finish up with the old and get into the new, and locating a new property and coming up with a floor plan for it,” Messina says.

Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterSpinning Wheels members got a tour of Charlotte during their meeting, which included a stop at the Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers Spinning Wheels Heads South for the WinterL to R: Arthur Messina of Driving Results, Johnny Donohoe of Sterling Limousine, Tracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus, and Charlie Grimm of BAC Transportation“Normally, you have to buy at least 25 Mercedes from them to get a CAN, but since our membership has grown past 100, we were able to incorporate all of our members’ buying power together,” Messina says.

In-depth conversation about what’s next for ground transportation; and Mercedes-Benz held a product-line Q&A—which was especially relevant since the Driving Results has recently acquired a corporate authorization number (CAN) to receive discounts from the OEM.

The final day of the meeting saw the return of an familiar industry face, as former operator Ken Lucci spoke about the book he had recently written, Driving Your Income: How to Maximize Your Income as a Professional Chauffeur.

Spinning Wheels will be kicking off its 2019 by heading to Puerto Rico to visit with First Class Destination Solutions in March.

Visit drivingresults.org for more information.    [CD0119]