Monday, May 20, 2019

LANJ Annual Dinner and Auction L to R: Event Chairmen Bruce Cirlin and Barry Trabb of Complete Fleet Livery Sales with LANJ President Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide at the 2018 LANJ Dinner and Auction West Orange, N.J. — Mark your calendars for the evening of May 22, which is when the Limousine Association of New Jersey’s (LANJ’s) dinner and auction will make its annual appearance. Join the association, its members, and supporters from across the country from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at The Wilshire Grand Hotel for LANJ’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Now in its 17th year, the springtime event is largely put together by chairmen Barry Trabb and Bruce Cirlin of Complete Fleet Livery Sales, and routinely brings in scores of donations, hundreds of attendees, and thousands of dollars. Among those items up for grabs are advertising and event passes from Chauffeur Driven, as well as sporting and music tickets and memorabilia, a gift-card tree, wine by both the bottle and case, and many services donated by their respective companies.

Prior to the event, Bill Faeth of Limo U will be providing a free in-person sales training seminar from 4 to 5:30 p.m., which is available to the first 20 registrants who are also registered to attend the dinner and auction.

LANJ Annual Dinner and Auction Drinks and dinner are compliments of LANJ for up to two attendees per member company; the charge for each additional company attendee is $50 per person. All operator attendees will be given a chance to win the $500 gift card door prize, the drawing for which will be held at the evening’s end.

Pre-registration is required to be a part of this chance to catch up and network with the association’s many operators, affiliates, vendors, and long-distance supporters, and donations are still being accepted. Contact LANJ Executive Director Patricia Nelson at either 862.213.9869 or with your company’s confirmed event attendees or donations.

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Michael Campbell Grace Limousine and Shuttle President & CEO Michael Campbell Manchester, N.H.—Grace Limousine and Shuttle was awarded the 2019 Business Excellence Award by the New Hampshire Travel Council (NHTC) at the Governor’s Council on Tourism. The award recognizes a tourism business characterized by excellent customer service, strong community and charitable involvement, and trailblazing innovation. Founded by Ian Campbell, a disabled American veteran, in 1990, Grace is still family-owned and operated by Ian’s son Michael Campbell as president and CEO. The company is known for its luxurious vehicles, excellent customer service, and strong commitment to community involvement.

At the awards ceremony, NHTC Board Member Terri Wiltse explained that Grace was selected for this honor due to their focus on customer service, civic involvement, and business excellence as well as providing the first and positive impression of New Hampshire to tourists and visitors.

“Grace’s chauffeurs are able to recommend New Hampshire restaurants and activities to their customers, providing a warm welcome to the Granite State,” said Wiltse. “Grace supports the state and its local communities in many meaningful ways. NHSCOT, my organization, has benefited from Grace’s generosity since 1998, with over $150,000 in donated transportation costs to get judges, competitors, athletes, and entertainers to and from Loon Mountain Resort for the New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival. We are very grateful for their longtime support. Other programs and organizations that they support include the Manchester Monarchs, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire, Sponsor-A-Highway, New Hampshire Food Bank, Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, The Music Hall, Big Brother Big Sister of New Hampshire, Semper Fi Fund, Seacoast Science Center, and many more.”

In addition to the 2019 Business Excellence Award, Grace has received a number of awards, such as Best Car Service 2008 to 2019 from the New Hampshire Business Review’s Best of Business Awards, The Union Leader’s Readers’ Choice Award in Wedding Limousine Category, and the US Small Business Association Family-Owned Business of the Year.

“I am very grateful to NHTC for this tremendous honor,” says Campbell. “Grace has been the chauffeured car service of choice for New Hampshire for nearly three decades, and we are thrilled to contribute positively to the thriving tourism industry in our own state. Recently we have expanded into the motorcoach sector, which will allow us to provide service for tours, events, weddings, and getaways to even larger groups of people visiting New Hampshire.”

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MCI 3500 coach Gulf Coast Tours’ first MCI 3500 coach Des Plaines, Ill.—Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has delivered a new 35-foot MCI J3500 to Gulf Coast Tours, and the way CEO Nick Chamblee sees it, not every tour, corporate, or group client needs a full-size luxury coach to deliver a great experience. Sometimes a smaller vehicle with big luxury, reliability, and safety built in works just as well—especially when the name on the front is MCI.

"In motorcoaches, we're an all-MCI J4500 fleet and the chance to offer the J4500 experience in a smaller coach really resonated for us," said Chamblee, who took over the 30-year-old Gulf Coast Tours in 2016 from his father Ed. "We're seeing a need for group-size flexibility from schools and groups, and we think it could open new doors to business with the corporate and private charter market. Not every group needs a 56-seat coach when a really great 40- or 44-seat coach with all the amenities will do."

The new MCI J3500 is the North American motor coach leader's latest debut to complement its best-selling J4500 recently redesigned with increased space and passenger comfort. The J3500 member of MCI's new J-Series family of coaches features all the styling and comfort hallmarks of the J4500, with seating for up to 44 passengers, a powerful Cummins engine, shared J-coach components, and a turning radius of under 33 feet that makes it a natural for high-traffic situations that call for top maneuverability.

Chamblee, a former professional musician who knows a thing or two about traveling by bus, understands there is always an opportunity to win over a customer who's never considered coach travel as a viable, long-term option. He believes giving opened-minded customers an option like the J3500 as a substitute for minibuses or limousines opens new vistas,

“The reliability of the MCI brand—and the ability to maintain it with interchangeable parts that we stock for our fleet of 17 J4500 coaches—tells our customer that smaller doesn’t mean they have to settle for anything less than a big-coach experience," says Chamblee.

Gulf Coast Tours' first J3500 comes equipped with a top-of-the-line four-monitor entertainment system with four monitors, the 2017 EPA Cummins L9 w/ engine brake, three-point seatbelts, and the optional RGB interior lighting feature offering six pre-programmed colors (red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, and yellow) plus white for the best customer branding experience.

"I think it's important to give the customer a passenger experience that’s all their own," said Chamblee.

Gulf Coast Tours' chose the 40-seat configuration to give high school, college, and university athletes the best legroom in this new, smaller coach configuration. "Two hours after delivery, this coach has never stopped moving," Chamblee says.

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