This month my travels took me east to New York. I had a late flight to LaGuardia, and an easy 30-minute drive to my hotel on Long Island. I got up early the next morning, as I knew the traffic heading in toward the city would be much heavier during the morning rush. I figured that just to be safe, I would allow myself double the time that it took me the night before. Well, that was definitely a miscalculation. As I arrived at my first stop, Mendon NationaLease, about a half hour late, Barry Haskell greeted me with “Welcome to New York!” Despite my losing battle with the NYC traffic, I had a great meeting with Barry, Roger Palazzo, and Wally Slivonik. I learned about some of the challenges specific to running a leasing company in New York City, and we discussed a number of the programs that NationaLease provides to our members. They mentioned that they especially like the new Webinar series that NationaLease has been hosting. (See the NationaLease NEWS for information about enrolling in our Webinars.)
From Mendon, it was just a few blocks to AA NationaLease’s Long Island City location. I met Eric Roberts there, and got a very sobering view of some of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Six months later, the offices are still without electricity, and the damage to the buildings and vehicles, not to mention the total destruction of files, computers, and equipment inside the buildings is astonishing. Despite all the damage, the folks at AA put the needs of the customers first, and have continued to service them out of temporary office space, and by using generators for electricity in the shop. For those of us in parts of the country not affected by this storm, it seems like it happened long ago. Seeing it first-hand definitely gave me a new perspective on the difficulties that many people are still facing on a daily basis.
I pulled out of AA’s parking lot and within 3 turns was at Public Service Truck Renting’s facility. It is remarkable to see how many trucks these NYC members can fit into a confined space! Charlie and Andrew Sommer took me to lunch at a nearby Cuban restaurant (one of my favorites!) and on a tour around Long Island City. The whole area seems to be under construction as new condos, apartments, hotels, shops, and restaurants are going up in an area that until very recently was all industrial and warehouse space. The view of Manhattan directly across the river is spectacular! Charlie also told me about a Clean Trucks initiative Public Service is taking part in. They have done such a great job that they are featured on the program’s Website. http://www.huntspointctp.com/testimonials-publicservice.html After leaving Long Island City, I headed back to my hotel in Garden City. The drive back was much easier!
My second day in New York was a significant change from my first, as I avoided most of the traffic and the city altogether, and went north to Albany. It is a long, but beautiful drive at this time of year as everything is green and flowering. I met with the folks at Leroy Holding: Will Carson, Josie Brooks, and John Reiser. We discussed some of the new services offered by NationaLease, and I learned about some exciting plans that they have. We also discussed the recent Spring Maintenance Managers Meeting and the knowledge and ideas that they learned about from the meeting. It may have been a long drive, but it was well worth it to see our old friends in Albany!
My third day in New York provided me a tour of Long Island. From my home base in Garden City, I headed over to Farmingdale, where I met with the team at Hub Truck NationaLease. I had a great discussion with Bob Slater, Donna Blanc, Kenneth Tirone, and Mitchell Blaine. They gave me great feedback on everything from our National Accounts program, to our Reciprocal Service system, to our supply management programs. They gave me some ideas for future NationaLease meetings, and Donna, who is on the meeting committee for our upcoming Financial Officers’ Meeting, also shared some great input for that meeting which will be held in Downers Grove, IL on September 30-October 1. From the large map of Long Island on their conference room wall, nearly covered with pins where their locations and customers are located, I could see that the NationaLease customers all over New York are well served!
From Farmingdale, I drove to Lake Success, where I met with Joe Evangelist and Dennis Schneider from Transervice. They took me to a lovely Italian restaurant for lunch, and I learned a great deal about their unique operation. They have some distinctive capabilities to serve customers in a variety of capacities, from Dedicated Contract Carriage to Full Service Lease and Contract Maintenance. It is always such a pleasure to learn about our members’ individual business models. I believe that one of the great strengths of the NationaLease system is each member’s ability to customize their offerings to the customer, and the flexibility each of them have to create unique solutions to fit the customers’ needs.
My trip to New York was both productive and eye-opening. Spending time in different parts of the U.S. and Canada helps to give me perspective on how diverse are the challenges and opportunities for each of our members. Every city, state, county, and province has its own unique set of circumstances for the members to address. Seeing this diversity gives me even more appreciation for how remarkable the NationaLease system truly is. Members from every corner of the continent work together for the common purpose of providing the best possible service to all of our customers. From the Reciprocal Service system to members coming together last October to help those members hurt by Hurricane Sandy, NationaLease members live out this purpose every day. It makes me proud to be part of this organization, and to get the chance to meet so many of you who make it truly great!