We're back from another great conference.
And now that we've had time to digest all that we learned from industry leaders, vendors and other attendees, we've written down some takeaways from our Oklahoma City meeting. So whether you attended the conference or you followed along from afar, here’s the key information we walked away with.
1. Let's talk about the barbeque & company tour.
The 3 Taxi Guys—Rick Hewatt, Jamie Campolongo and John Lazar—(with the able assistance of Brock Rosayn) provided TLPA members attending the Spring Conference & Expo with a remarkably generous and delicious meal. Serving a whole hog cooked in the famous cabeque, they treated members to a night of real fun. (Not to mention, the sauce and pulled pork were incredible!)
Before the BBQ, our host operators David and Katie Batson treated attendees to a tour of their operations—Airport Express/MedRide. Airport Express offers shared-ride airport transfers, charter bus service, accessible transportation, paratransit services and a luxury town car service. MedRide provides buses and accessible minivans that can transport patients to and from doctors' appointments, hospitals and events, and has a sister company providing non-emergency stretcher-aid transport—Oklahoma Critical Care Transport. During the tour of their five-acre lot, the Batsons showcased all of their vehicles and their two buildings that housed the management offices, IT support, dispatch and a wash bay that was large enough for ambulances and buses.
2. Our industry and educational programs are focused on moving forward.
Though our industry has weathered challenges over the past few years, the message our members sent was clear: We're moving forward. Members were overwhelmingly encouraged by the update on the development of TLPA's strategic plan, which includes new visions for the futures of the association and the industry.
In short, the positivity was palpable, as indicated by the post-conference survey results. The conference presented educational sessions that addressed issues of immediate concern and provided practical information that operators could use immediately. The educational sessions received the following excellent/good ratings: 92% for the general session, 90% for the taxi breakouts, 100% for the charter/livery breakouts, 83% for the contracting breakouts and 85% for the committee meetings.
3. The expo continues to shine.
The expo is the major hub of activity during every Spring Conference, and this year's meeting was no different. It's where we get a chance to see the technology and companies that will help us move our fleets forward. This conference's expo featured a slew of vendors who are dedicated to helping TLPA members find solutions. Conference participants also greatly benefited from the extra support from the many exhibitors that sponsored events to enhance the conference. We would like to recognize our sponsors—Gold: Azpired and MTI Dispatch; Silver: The Black Car Fund; and Bronze: Flywheel, the 3 Taxi Guys and Airport Express/MedRide. It is the support of our exhibitors and sponsors that made the Spring Conference & Expo in Oklahoma City a great event.4. Riding local is picking up steam.
During the Annual Convention & Trade Show in Denver, TLPA unveiled its national marketing campaign, which members can personalize for use in their own markets. Ride LocalTM echoes the Eat Local and Shop Local movements seen around the country. It encourages communities to support local transportation companies, the companies that in turn support their communities. In Oklahoma City, TLPA introduced an update to Ride Local that allows TLPA members to easily customize a number of the Ride Local products with their company's identity, thus making the program more meaningful to their locality.