UMA Expo taps young operators for new ideas

Posted on January 27, 2011

[IMAGE]MET2UMA-Young2-2.jpg[/IMAGE]With winter hitting many areas around the nation especially hard, thousands flocked to sun in Tampa, Fla. last week to attend the United Motorcoach Association's (UMA) Motorcoach Expo 2012.

As the featured speaker during the show's annual Legislative and Regulatory Update, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro touched on all the changes in the pipeline that motorcoach operators will be facing, including the new Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) regulations.

[IMAGE]UMA-Expo-Ferro-10.jpg[/IMAGE]Rolled out in December 2010, CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initiative to improve bus and large truck safety and, ultimately, reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles.

One of the most popular sessions this year was "Young Guns," which featured five, under-35 gentlemen working in the industry holding a discussion about some of the obstacles they face and how they plan to lead the motorcoach industry into the future.

The group also discussed the growing presence of their companies on the Web, particularly on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Other sessions taking place at this year's Expo focused on marketing and growing business, as well as on refurbishing versus leasing versus buying, the impact of the new health care law, how 2010 engines are performing and motivating employees.

In addition to the informative sessions, suppliers and manufacturers also showcased their latest products on the show floor of the Tampa Convention Center.

[IMAGE]MET2UMA-Daimler2-6.jpg[/IMAGE]The biggest splash was the unveiling of Setra's new ComfortClass S 407, Daimler Buses North America's new touring coach concept vehicle, by Patrick Scully, chief commercial officer for Daimler Buses North America and Lothar Holder, executive managing director, worldwide sales, for Setra Buses & Coaches.

MCI also unveiled its 2011 J4500, featuring a Cummins ISX, 11.9-liter Clean Diesel engine, which was also on display, with an Allison B500 automatic transmission, while Prevost displayed its 15,000th vehicle, a newly re-designed 2011 H3-45, featuring its AWARE system, which provides safety features, including adaptive cruise and impact and following distance alerts.

During the evening Vision Awards ceremony, the following companies were recognized:

  • Safety Leader of the Year Award: William Schoolman, Classic Coach Companies (Bohemia, N.Y.)
  • Green Highway Award (sponsored by MCI): Gladys Gillis, Starline Luxury Coaches (Seattle)
  • UMA Vision Award winner-small operator: Cary Martin, Little Rock Tours & Travel (Little Rock, Ark.)
  • UMA Vision Award winner-large operator: Jack Wigley, All Aboard America! (Mesa, Ariz.)

UMA Expo 2012 will be held in Long Beach, Calif. Feb. 8 to 12.


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