In late January, nearly 100 representatives from same-day transportation companies, vendors and business associates from around the country gathered at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando, Florida for the Florida Messenger Association’s 2013 Winter Meeting. The two-day event featured a vendor exposition, round table discussions and keynote speeches by nationally recognized business experts, as well as updates on the organization and future plans from outgoing FMA president Harold Boyett of Blue Streak Couriers.
Attendees were also treated to an appearance by special guest Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of Florida. Atwater, who stopped in Orlando specifically to attend the conference, spoke about the value of small businesses to the state’s economy and what Florida legislators are doing to ensure their continued growth.
Atwater praised small business owners for their determination, intuitiveness and ingenuity. “In the past several years, we lost 170,000 small businesses which couldn’t survive,” he said. “And those of you who are still in business had to use every possible skill set you have to survive in this economy.”
Atwater assured FMA members of his office’s continued commitment to seeing small businesses in Florida succeed. “We’ve raised the exemption on corporate taxes for small businesses, reduced property taxes and reduced spending,” Atwater said. Translation: smaller government, reduced taxes and lower debt means a better atmosphere for small businesses to thrive.
Day two of the conference proved equally inspiring for participants with the recognition of Dan Schutt of DoubleTime Transit as the “Spotlight Courier” and a dynamic presentation by international keynote and motivational speaker Andre J. van Rensburg and his business philosophy, TEAMS (Together Everyone Achieves More Success).
A native of South Africa, van Rensberg used his personal experience and knowledge of animal behavior in the African bush as a metaphor for team-building in the corporate world. Using powerful video of elephants, cheetahs, impalas – and other creatures in the wild – he demonstrated the importance of territorial awareness, maximizing individual personal strengths, creating rituals to strengthen the pack through social interaction, trust, focus and team maintenance.
Other conference speakers included Steven Pletcher, a partner in the law firm of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson and Feary, whose presentation, “Affordable Care Act: Facts & Fiction,” addressed the key features of the law as they relate to small business; and Mardy Sitzer of Bumblebee Design & Marketing, who spoke on the importance of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and Google+, as well as blogs and e-newsletters, to promote business, interact with customers and create goodwill.
FMA members and vendors also participated in two sessions of round table discussions, covering topics such as expanding your business into new market verticals, as well as responding to the challenges of the lackluster economy.
In his last official capacity as FMA president, Boyett addressed the group about future plans of the association before handing over the reins to incoming president Tim Petty of Pettyco Express, whose term began January 25, 2013.
“I am honored to have been the leader of this wonderful organization over the past year. There is so much excitement within our group about the great plans we have for 2013. I look forward to leading the legislative efforts this year as I transition into the position of immediate past president and chair of the Government Affairs Committee” said Boyett.
Attendees had nothing but positive comments about the conference, including Steve Howardof Esquire Express/Esquire Logistics who called it, “an amazing event for anyone in the expedited transportation industry,” and Mike Milam of Runabout Couriers who praised the content and camaraderie.
In the end, the event exemplified FMA’s mission to improve and advance the common business interests of messengers, couriers, and transportation services, and their companies in Florida.
The mission of the FMA is to improve and advance the common business interests of couriers, messengers and transportation providers throughout the State of Florida for the benefit of the public need for such services.