From April 21-23, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) 2016 Spring Conference & Expo delivered its intimate-setting education, networking, and exhibit hall to the 365 people flocking to this year’s Grand Hyatt New York locale—making it a nearly record-setting springtime convention. CD’s Publisher Chris Weiss was on hand for the event, as he serves on the association’s Limousine & Sedan Steering Committee.
“This was TLPA’s second largest Spring Conference, and the energy and enthusiasm were great,” TLPA CEO Al LaGasse said. “One-hundred percent of the post-conference survey respondents rated the conference either excellent or good.”
TLPA President Dwight Kines of Transdev on Demand welcomed all to the event, which owed much of its success to a sold-out exhibit hall that featured more than 40 exhibitors showcasing their newest products and most in-demand services. With a variety of meals and events all held in the hall, operators and exhibitors alike benefited from the additional opportunities to build partnerships, enjoy networking opportunities, and share industry experiences with old colleagues and new friends.
“Our expo was packed with the industry’s leading vendors offering great products and services,” said LaGasse. “It is important to keep up with the new technological trends, with technology for fleets everywhere you looked—yet another sign of the change that is sweeping through our industry.”
The conference opened on Thursday with the Taxicab Steering Committee and the Paratransit & Contracting Steering Committee meetings in lively two-hour sessions. And since no event can truly begin without a capstone opening ceremony, cocktails were served at an evening reception in the expo hall, where attendees got a sneak peek of the show floor.
On Friday, the conference’s second day kicked off with the morning’s general session. Immediate Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee Mike Fogarty of Tristar Worldwide issued a call for officer and director nominations to the 2017 board while Kines delivered the TLPA Report, which included an address on the state of the TLPA.
Additional presenters at the general session included: TLPA President-Elect Bill Scalzi of Metro Taxi, who also spoke about TNCs and the progress of TLPA’s Taxicab Business Model Review Task Force, of which he is Committee Chair; John Boit of public relations firm Melwood Global, who discussed the association’s new website and the Who’s Driving You? campaign’s positively pivoting PR approach that will focus less on attacking TNCs and more on highlighting the attributes of legally operating transportation options; and International Association of Transportation Regulators President Matt Daus of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, who explored TNCs’ impact on everything from driver wages to underserved communities to the environment.
That afternoon, the TLPA Women in Transportation Committee offered a presentation by Betsy West, one of the executive producers of “MAKERS: Women Who Made America,” a PBS documentary about the women’s movement. The Taxicab Steering Committee presented two breakout sessions: “How to Rebrand Your Company” and “New Driver Paradigms & Driver Recruitment.” The Paratransit & Contracting Steering Committee presented two breakout sessions: Business Development in an Era of Business Disruption and Organizing and Lobbying at the State and Local Level. The Limousine & Sedan Steering Committee also presented two breakout sessions: “‘Cooperition’ for Cooperatively Competing with TNCs” and “How to Grow Group and Special Event Sales.” Friday also saw eight educational sessions and a meeting of the Limousine & Sedan Steering Committee.
“The Limousine Steering Committee held a productive meeting with many exciting ideas being discussed,” LaGasse said. “Several relatively new participants on the committee—including Chris Weiss from Chauffeur Driven—energized the committee with new ideas and thoughtful remarks on where the industry may be headed.”
That evening, many attendees took to the city for two Big Apple staples: Some enjoyed a night of theater with “Beautiful” while others went the ballpark to see the New York Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays, with tickets provided by event sponsor Verifone Taxi Systems. On Saturday, after the TLPA board of directors open meeting, both Verifone and CMT Group and provided tours of their facilities.
In 2017, the Spring Conference & Expo will be held in Palm Springs, Calif., from April 25-28. TLPA’s next event is its Mid-Year International Leadership Conference in Toronto, Ontario, July 20-23.
Visit tlpa.org for more information. [CD0616]