Session Descriptions

February 22, 2022
The Grand Event Center
Long Beach, CA.

GENERAL SESSION 1:
🕑 10am - 11am

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Our opening session to all event attendees includes a welcome presentation by the GCLA president Robert Gaskill who will speak about the mission of the GCLA. Following that is a “State of the Industry” interview and discussion with Sara Eastwood-Richardson and Matthew Daus on how to best protect your transportation business in the coming year with all the changes and challenges we must face.

Presented by:

Robert Gaskill

CEO of Motev

Sara Eastwood-Richardson

GCLA Executive Director

Matthew Daus

GENERAL SESSION 2:
🕑 11am - 11:30am

GCLA PARTNER PRESENTATIONS AND SPONSOR TABLE TIME

GENERAL SESSION 3:
🕑 11:40am - 12:30pm

SUSTAINABILITY & ELECTRIFICATION

The Golden State continues to lead the way to innovate in the sustainability and responsible travel industries. As we move away from fossil fuels to electric and other alternatives, transportation must keep up and follow suit with the rest of travel sectors in creating “sustainable” business solutions including carbon offsetting and electrification.

This informative session will unpack the realities in an easy-to-follow format (we agree that there’s a lot of confusion out there) for transportation companies. Going green today means something very different than it did 20 years ago. Electrification is real and it’s here. And, frankly that’s good news! The future is exciting with many more viable fleet options in the luxury space than ever before.

Moderator:

Tiffany Hinton

Panel:

ROUND TABLES, SET I:
🕑 1:40am - 2:30pm

1. Weddings & Special Events Marketing:

Be A Stand Out, Get the Business! How Your Professional Sales Presentation Will Win You More Wedding and Special Event Business. Winning over wedding planners with a great first impression is a must. This discussion will include instruction on what your sales presentation should look like. You will be given all the tips and outlines needed to make a WOW presentation PLUS more tips on how to follow up and follow through on all of your wedding leads.

Presented by:

Victoria Davis

Victoria E. Davis Events, Orange County

2. Unclaimed Tax Money May Be Yours: Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC):

If you are the owner of a bus, sedan, shuttle or limousine company, you should know about the ERTC (part of the CARES Act of 2020). It underwent several revisions which left many owners and their accountants confused, resulting in millions of dollars of unclaimed FREE money. This is by far one the best tax credit programs to ever come out for transportation companies who are paying employees by W2. The Tax Incentive Agency experts know how to help companies qualify without having had any revenue losses. This is tax free money coming directly to you from the IRS.

Presented by:

Ken Poblano

Program Director

Tyler Harringer

EA, IRS

ROUND TABLES, SET II:
🕑 2:40am - 3:30pm

3. How to Create Customized Tours in Your Local Market:

Custom tours are lucrative and a great way to increase your wealth. Join this discussion and learn the steps you’ll need to start or expand business into bespoke tours using the assets within a given market – wineries, food tasting, site seeing, mansion tours, garden/landscape tours, micro brews, and so on. Attendees will learn how to package with partners; how to price; how to manage with automations; fleet make up; staffing needs & how to fill up the seats!

Presented by:

Tom Buck

Owner of Beau Wine Tours, Napa

4. Network Like a Pro to Capture High Net Worth and Luxury Travelers:

The key to a being successful in capturing the attention of luxury travel managers and HNW clients is in building strong relationships with the right people at every occasion. Luxury is a business of references and almost everything works on personal relations. Attend this discussion facilitated by one of the transportation industry’s most successful networkers and salesmen. Learn how to expand your RICH connections and drive more profits.

Presented by:

Maurice Brewster

Owner of Mosaic Global Transportation, San Jose

5. How To Start a Successful Affiliate Program:

Starting an affiliate program is easy, and almost any transportation business can do it. You just need to set up your network, promote the program on your website, and create useful materials that affiliate partners can use in their marketing. From there, all you have to do is start recruiting affiliates. The trick is in making sure your affiliates are a good fit and that the structure of your Affiliate Program is solid, so you don’t get burned. Attend this session and find out how to do it right.

Presented by:

Aaron Lesavoy

Partner at Code 3 Transportation, Concord

ROUND TABLES, SET III:
🕑 3:40am - 4:30pm

6. How to Create a Winning Pricing Strategy

Pricing can boost profits far more than increasing sales or cutting costs. And the results of a smarter pricing strategy can fall to the bottom line very quickly. Yet at least half of all companies leave money on the table because they don’t charge the right price or make sure customers actually pay it. In this session, operators will be shown the critical steps you can take to boost your pricing power. There are many examples where price changes go horribly wrong. There is a right way and there is a wrong way to approach pricing with your customers. This session will arm you with the best strategies from a top expert.

Presented by:

Ken Lucci

Principal at Driving Your Income

7. Tax Advice for the Transportation Professional

Tracy’s understanding of the motorcoach and limousine industries (30+ years) is why she is an expert in providing tax advice and analysis. Companies attending this round table will benefit by implementing industry accounting best practices that subsequently improve business. Tracy’s tax knowledge helps operators make the most of their income tax filings. Tracy’s experience IS your success.

Presented by:

Tracy Ficketti

CPA, BusBooks

Meet Our Panelists

Mo Garkani, GCLA President & CEO, The COTS Group

Session: GCLA Stakeholder Report

Over the span of 30 years, Mo Garkani transformed a one-car operation into one of California’s largest “white glove” luxury ground travel services, with a total focus on the HNW (high net worth) sector. As the son of an ambassador, Garkani has seen the world, but Orange County has been home for 42 years—he attended elementary and high school in Newport Beach.

Garkani has a passion for helping others as evidenced by his dedication to the GCLA. “I love how everyone in this industry stands by each other,” Garkani says. “It’s a small industry where you can get to know everybody and fight battles together.” Mo oversees the largest regional association in the United States with 4 “Association of the Year” honors from 3 different magazines, spanning the last decade.

Alisa Walsh, CIS, President, EventWorks, Inc.

Session: Business Travel / Meetings & Convention Outlook

Alisa Walsh is the current president and co-owner of EventWorks, an award-winning design agency based in Los Angeles. Alisa is an expert in managed travel.

She currently serves as the president of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, Southern California region. She has also served on the board of MPI/Orange County and has worked for hospitality brands including Hilton, Hyatt, Hard Rock, and Marriott. Alisa was listed on the “30 Event Professionals Under 30 To Watch” list.

Lisa Meller, CMP, CITP, CED, Meller Performance Events Group

Session: Business Travel / Meetings & Convention Outlook

For nearly twenty years, Lisa has been a third-party full-service event management entrepreneur and business leader. She holds professional credentials as a Certified Meeting Planner, Certified Incentive Travel Planner, and Certified Event Designer.

Lisa shares her expertise as an industry speaker, serves as an active volunteer on the Incentive Research Committee and is a Past President for MPI Orange County.

Her passions include performance events, wellness, and international travel programs. On a personal note, she is the current US Masters Diving reigning champion for Springboard & Platform diving.

Katie Webb Brundige, Owner, Intertwined Events

Session: Weddings & Retail Business Outlook

Katie is the owner of Intertwined Events – a luxury event planning firm. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Event Management from San Diego State University, Katie was a Meeting Coordinator planning events for three Fortune 500 companies planning events worldwide.

Today, Intertwined is a leading luxury wedding planning firm executing events from Orange County to the Amalfi Coast. Katie manages a team of 10 and produces events with budgets ranging from $150K – $1M+.

She has been recognized for her creativity, customer satisfaction and volunteerism, most recently being honored as one of Orange County’s Top 25 Most Influential by Riviera Magazine.

Mark Stewart, VP Business Development & Corporate Sales, Ground Logistics International (GLi)

Sessions: Moderator of the Day & Lead Speaker for the GCLA Legislative Update: Life After Prop 22

Mark is a US Army veteran who served the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment – 3rd Squadron for 5 years before returning from Germany to embark on a career in the luxury ground transportation industry. Since the early 2000’s Mark has worked in mobile logistics with a focus on the business, leisure and incentive travel market segments.

Mark is a past president of the GCLA and a current board member who leads the Legislative and Programs (education) Committees. In his tenure, Mark has also served as a member of the Los Angeles Business Travel Association, MPI Orange County, San Diego Business Travel Association and served on the Chauffeur Driven Magazine & Trade Show Advisory Board.

Sara Eastwood-Richardson, Executive Director, GCLA

Session: State of the Industry

Sara’s went from college to publisher of Luxury Coach & Transportation Magazine in 1994. For 25 years she produced the International LCT Show (largest limousine show in the world), the LCT East, and the LCT Leadership Summit. From 2001 – 2019 Sara oversaw the management team and directors and helped grow the National Limousine Association from 500 members and $70,000 in the bank to over $1.8 million and 2,200 members.

In the summer of 2019, Sara left LCT to create her own company – RAS International (named after she three sons Ryan, Alec and Spencer). Her company works with non-profits, like the GCLA, to help build membership, visibility and viability.

Victoria Zindell, Owner/Luxury Travel Advisor Luxury Ventures Travel; Protravel International

Session: Luxury Travel & Tourism Outlook

Victoria got her start in luxury travel in college. While attending Arizona State University she worked for some of the finest & most highly acclaimed hotels in the world. Through these unique experiences Victoria was led to her ultimate career path as a Luxury Travel Advisor.

Ms. Zindell began the Millennials in Travel chapter in Phoenix/Scottsdale. This group has had an impact on a global level and has helped to drive tourism through the creative thinking of its members. Today, Victoria owns a bespoke travel firm in Corona Del Mar, which is an independent agency of Protravel International and a Virtuoso member.

As an expert in luxury travel, she attributes her success to her strong relationships with her clients along with her partnerships with her suppliers. Victoria is excited to share what she sees are the coming luxury trends and the overall outlook of travel for the high net worth sector with you.

Lee Palmer Turner, Corporate Travel Manager, CCTE, GTP, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Session: Business Travel / Meetings & Conventions Outlook

A self-described travel industry “lifer”, Lee began his travel career of nearly 40 years as a decorated F-14 pilot in the Elite Special Weapons Division of the US Navy.

He would go on to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot starting his newfound calling with storied Eastern Airlines before going on to “doing what he did best,” flying under the carrier flag of American Airlines.

After 17 years, Lee pursued a second career navigating the corporate side of the travel industry where he has built a well-deserved and highly successful reputation managing Global Travel programs for such diverse and high-profile companies as BMG Entertainment, (parent of music powerhouses including RCA and Arista Records,) the National Basketball Association, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Symantec Corporation and his current home as Corporate Travel Manager for Beverly Hills based MGM Studios.

An active and longtime member of the Global Business Travel Association, Lee also presently and proudly serves as President-Elect to the Executive Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of GBT.

John Ehlenfeldt, CDME, CMP, Director of MPI & Executive VP, VISIT Huntington Beach

Session: Luxury Travel & Tourism Outlook

With nearly 25 years of destination marketing experience, Ehlenfeldt has represented the sales departments at the Grove of Anaheim, Long Beach Convention Center, Canadian Tourism Commission and Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

While working within the Canadian market, he developed meeting and incentive programs for the Western United States, including Southern California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nevada. As a California native, Ehlenfeldt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.

He is a Certified Meeting Professional and served as President of the Southern California Chapter of Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE). He is also on the board of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Southern California Chapter as an International Committee member, a RISE Awards judge, and is a past president.

Matthew W. Daus, Esq. Transportation Technology Chair at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Transportation Research Center of The City College of New York

Session: State of the Industry

Matthew W. Daus, Esq. currently serves as Transportation Technology Chair at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Transportation Research Center of The City College of New York, where he conducts research, and continues to be extensively published as an expert on ground transportation regulation and technology. As a CUNY Distinguished Lecturer for the past 9 years, he taught courses on transportation history, policy, sustainability, for-hire regulation and technology. Mr. Daus also continues to serve for the past 10 years as President of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR), a non-profit educational and advocacy peer group of government transportation regulators from around the world promoting best regulatory and innovative practice. Commissioner Daus is the longest serving Chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), serving for 8 ½ years. Prior to his tenure as Commissioner, Mr. Daus served in executive and other positions in NYC government for almost 20 years at several agencies including as General Counsel to the TLC and the NYC Community Development Agency, as Special Counsel to the TLC and NYC Trade Waste Commission, as a NYC Human Rights Prosecutor, and as Commissioner of the NYC Civil Service Commission. Mr. Daus is a partner and currently chairs the Transportation Practice Group at Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP.