The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the American Bus Association (ABA) were recently honored for working together since the first days of the pandemic to champion the industry’s interests.
At their regional meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, the presidents of the Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association (GMOA), the Alabama Motorcoach Association (AMA) and the South Central Motorcoach Association (SCMA) presented the joint Presidents’ Award to UMA and ABA.
“It was obvious that they just went beyond the call of duty to work for the associations during the pandemic. Every time I asked them to join operators on Zoom meetings to give an update on the status of relief funding, they did. It was really encouraging for the operators to have UMA and ABA so involved,” said Linda Morris, who serves as Executive Director of the AMA, GMOA and SCMA.
The award read: In appreciation for tireless effort during the COVID-19 pandemic to represent the motorcoach industry and the travel and tourism industry before members of Congress to acquire relief funding in the form of (the) Payroll Protection Program, Small Business Administration Emergency Injury Disaster Loans and, finally, the CERTS Act funding so desperately needed by every motorcoach operator and those who represent the tourism industry.
It was signed by Alan Thrasher, AMA President; Al Harris, GMOA President; and Tom Skinner, SCMA President. South Central is made up of Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.
UMA and ABA
The award was presented July 21 at the gathering in Biloxi, Mississippi, which drew more than 175 people.
“It was heartwarming to see the entire UMA Team recognized for their tireless efforts and sacrifice during the extended pandemic emergency,” said Ken Presley, who was presented with the UMA award.
As UMA’s Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO, Presley leads the organization’s legislative efforts.
Andrew Newhart, ABA’s Director of Policy and Legislation, received the award on behalf of ABA.
“It’s in recognition of all the work that they’ve done for the industry and the legislative work over the past couple of years, most certainly culminating in CERTS,” said Thrasher, who is also chair of UMA’s legislative and regulatory committee.
He noted that, along with the UMA and ABA, there were other groups — including the Gang of 11 and lobbyists on behalf of larger operators — that were key to the success of the passage of the CERTS Act, which will provide $2 billion in funds for the motorcoach industry and other passenger vessel industries.
“ABA and UMA have never worked more closely on any subject ever before than they did working together on the CERTS (funding),” Thrasher said. “They were meeting at least once, sometimes twice, a week.”