2012 FMA Winter Meeting

Florida Messenger Association

After last year’s successful meeting, attendees at the 2012 Florida Messenger Association (FMA) Winter Meeting had high expectations for this year’s two-day event. The meeting committee of Tom Jowers, Advantage Delivery and Logistics, Toni Pompa, Tri County Courier, Bryan Bilchik, Manko Delivery Systems, Kim Ganoe and Jessica Lambert, Datex did not disappoint. In attendance were 125 total individuals from 50 different courier and transportation companies, along with 20 vendors.

Diamond-level sponsors Contractor Management Services, Subcontracting Concepts, Inc, and Datex, ensured the events of Thursday evening were filled with surprises. Attendees at the welcome reception found the doors to the main hall closed and carefully guarded, leaving many to wonder what could be inside. When the doors were finally opened, the guests were treated to nearly two hours of music, including an appearance by Blue Brothers, “Jake and Elwood,” and their tribute band. The evening then transitioned into Casino Night, which was filled with fun, music, and dancing. High-rolling guests amassed mounds of “money” that they used in the auction at the end of the night to bid on unknown items (winners only found out what they were bidding on after they won). The competition became fierce as the auction drew on because numerous electronic products were put up for bidding, including a 42″ LCD TV … along with a box of Twinkies™, a package of Depends™, and a plunger.

Friday morning began with a word of greeting from incoming FMA President Harold Boyett, of Blue Streak Couriers, who presented a service award to outgoing president, Larry Schwartz. Schwartz, of Baron Messenger, was both instrumental in initiating the association nearly two decades ago, and resurrecting it two years ago. Boyett also shared his vision for the Florida Messenger Association for 2012 and beyond. The highlight of the morning was a visit from District 10 Florida Senator Alan Hays, who discussed Florida State policy issues and economic conditions affecting our industry.

The morning courier spotlight shone on Comet Delivery Services of South Florida. Owner Steve Seltzer spoke of the obstacles he has faced over the years in his efforts to provide superior service, including the horrific impact of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In this particular instance, Seltzer’s drive and creativity lead him to offer warehousing services from his own apartment. A common thread of his presentation illustrated how perseverance and the continual pursuit of excellence have been the driving force behind Comet Delivery Services. Steve’s address was followed by round table discussions where couriers and vendors shared experiences and solutions that have helped them to meet the needs of the customers and provide top notch service. The morning was capped by Jerry Hempstead, of Hempstead Consulting, who shared his insight and vast experience in the shipping industry on how to thrive and survive in these uncertain times.

After lunch, which was sponsored by Brightstone Insurance, Complete Innovations, and Courier Board, keynote speaker Rick McClelland addressed the group. McClelland, who led Dynamex in its expansion into an international transportation and logistics company, spoke to the challenges associated with growing a business. He emphasized the need to set goals and constantly monitor the vital statistics of your business, while striving to go from good to great. Specifically, he touched on five key points: growth, financial disciplines, capacity, leadership, and making change happen. He talked in depth about the need to use technology, and to understand the key metrics that drive profitability. He also shed light on new opportunities in the industry.

A panel discussion followed, hosted by John Benko of Manko Delivery Systems, Inc. Panel members included Tim Petty of Pettyco Express, Lance Dearborn of Air Traffic Services, and Rob Hackbarth of Hackbarth Delivery. These seasoned businessmen discussed ways to survive in a down economy. They shared their experiences, and answered the questions that keep business owners up at night.

FMA President Harold Boyett wrapped up the meeting with a challenge for each individual to invite someone to next year’s meeting who did not attend this year … and to make next year’s meeting even better.

Boyett concluded, “We are committed to providing tremendous value for everyone – members as well as vendors alike. Thanks to all those involved in making the 2012 Winter Meeting a memorable event. The meeting would not have been such a success without the involvement of each committee member and meeting participant.”

Dennis P. Roccaforte, of Contractor Management Services, summed the event up nicely, “I must say… that was the best state association event that I have ever attended. Every minute was planned out to perfection, including making last minute changes that only added value.”