Even as the industry faces its most challenging business climate in decades, the show saw an impressive turnout of some 1,000 operators and vendors for its action-packed weeklong event. Attendees flocked to the event from across North America, as well as from as far away as Asia, Australia, and Europe.
Dwight Kines of Transdev was voted in as new president, delivering a forward-looking vision in his acceptance speech to begin his one-year term. “We are doing our members a disservice if we don't start spending more of our energy on showing and telling you how to compete in this new world,” Kines said. “Yes, we are under attack, but our industry has weapons to fight back and we need to give you more. So we will be focused, first, on business opportunities, while we continue to focus on our industry's environment.”
Kines succeeds Mike Fogarty of Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services. In his final presentation to members as president, Fogarty showed a video of his interview on New England Cable News, something that members remarked showed how an executive from the limousine side of the industry could deftly fight on behalf of the entire passenger transportation for-hire industry. Fogarty also said that one of his goals was to forge better relationships with other associations, including the National Limousine Association, something he was proud to accomplish.
Former editor for Wired magazine and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Leyden’s keynote speech at the opening General Session focused on the massive technological and demographic changes happening in the world. These changes are key to the transportation industry as it looks to find new ways to connect with customers.
The convention was packed with informational presentations, roundtable discussions, and breakout sessions. Topics ranged from competing with TNCs to growing and diversifying in today’s ever-changing business landscape.
Initial feedback from the convention shows that some of the highest-rated sessions came from companies sharing stories of their own app usage and marketing efforts, innovative call center practices, recruitment and retention of drivers, new models for exceptional service, and how to best use technology to compete with TNCs.
There was a distinct focus on technological advances at this year’s gathering. The cloud-based taxi dispatch system, iCabbi, Premier sponsor of the convention, announced its plans for American expansion in the coming months. Platinum sponsor, Karhoo, a transportation option aggregator reported to be aiming for $1 billion in investment, also had a strong presence. Atlas Financial Holdings sponsored the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Foundation (TLPF) annual golf tournament on October 26. Other sponsors for the convention and trade show included American Business Insurance Services (ABI), Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT), MTData, BB&T John Burnham Insurance Services, Paratransit Insurance Services, T-Mobile, The Black Car Fund, and Verifone.
Top awards this year announced at the convention went to:
- Lifetime Achievement Awards: William Hamilton Smythe III of Yellow Cab Memphis in Memphis, Tenn., and Neal Nichols of Red Top Cab of Arlington, Va.
- Limousine Operator of the Year: Rick Versace of A1A Airport and Limousine Service in Boca Raton, Fla.
- Limousine Driver of the Year: James Vlahos of Gateway Global in Burlingame, Calif.
- Taxicab Operator of the Year: Raye Miles of Broadway Cab LLC in Portland, Ore.
- Taxicab Driver of the Year: Albert Tracy of Discount Cab in Glendale, Ariz.
- Paratransit Operator of the Year: Matt Heafner of Yellow Cab of in Denver, Colo.
- Paratransit Driver of the Year: Michael Morgan of Mercy Transportation in Everett, Wash.
- Outstanding Woman in Transportation: Margie Wilcox of Mobile Bay Transportation Company in Mobile, Ala.
Visit tlpa.org for more information.