I drove a limousine for O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service for nine years in total. I spent most of it as a full-timer, often working in excess of 120 hours in a week. Those were the days when I virtually lived in my limousine. Thank goodness those days are a thing of the past.
It was during one of those long weeks that I had an epiphany. Well…actually, I saw a road sign walk out in front of me on the highway, which brought me to the realization that working over a hundred hours a week would eventually end up killing me. It was at this point in my life that I began exploring options that would get me out of the car, or at least reduce my hours behind the wheel.
Our industry in the 1980’s / 90’s was built on nepotism, cronyism, ism ism, etc. Breaking into a company’s structure wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. I was fortunate to find an opening that allowed me to gain a toe hold and…like an opossum…I clung with everything I had. After a 15 minute training session, I was a dispatcher!
Dispatcher, dispatch manager, office manager, assistant general manager, safety director, general manager, and chief operating officer. It’s been a long ride, but I think the fun is just beginning. Our industry is in a constant state of transition, and as things change, competent services need to adjust in order to survive. The adjustment part is what I find exciting. Finding solutions to problems gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
Something that started to emerge in our industry several years ago, and one thing I’m come to enjoy immensely is the affiliate aspect of our industry. I have made so many friends because of the “globalization” of the limousine business that it’s difficult to remember who my friends are outside of the industry. To clarify, O’Hare-Midway – a Chicago limousine service – works directly with other limousine services in various markets – to provide a seamless transportation experience for travelers. If someone from Chicago is traveling to San Francisco, OML can arrange their transportation to a local Chicago airport, and then arrange a pick up at the airport in San Francisco to get them to their final destination, a task that was not in our portfolio 7 or 8 years ago. In order to make this happen, we’ve built relationships in hundreds of cities around the world. In the process, I’ve had the opportunity to not only meet different operators, but learn how they do business in their city. It’s safe to say that we all face significant challenges in the coming years.
Part 3: Fighting the Good Fight
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