The first day of UMA Motorcoach EXPO felt like a long-awaited reunion for UMA Members who have faced business and, in some cases, health challenges over the past year. The 2021 UMA Motorcoach EXPO kicked off Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Connie Giddens, who owns Pacific Coachways in the Los Angeles area, with husband Tom, says she is glad that EXPO was pushed back from the first week in March to the end of April. The seven weeks made a difference because more people were able to get vaccinated. Many in attendance reported they were fully or partially vaccinated. Attendees are still asked to follow CDC protocols by wearing masks and social distancing in interior spaces.
Jack Kaufman, of Timi’s Tours, says he came to see his industry friends in person. But he also has a to-do list, including shopping for smaller buses and technology solutions for a micro-transit service he is launching.
Day One Highlights
The first order of business was the annual UMA State Association Summit. During the two-hour session, representatives from state and regional associations shared updates on state regulatory issues that could have a ripple effect across the industry.
UMA President and CEO Larry Killingsworth welcomed attendees to EXPO at a poolside UMA Welcome Reception on the patio of the Rosen Plaza Hotel. The welcome event was followed by a sponsored dinner arranged by UMA Board Members Scott Riccio and Mitch Guralnick. Scott is the EXPO Committee Chair. The dinner allowed industry friends to extend their time together on the first night of EXPO and reconnect following a challenging year.
The gathering was capped by the first in-person version of the weekly Buses & Beer call, with host Jeff Goldwasser handing out prizes to operators supplied by vendors. Another 60 Members from across the United States, Mexico and Canada who weren’t able to attend this year’s EXPO joined the event virtually via a Zoom call.
EXPO continues through Saturday with education sessions, speakers and an exhibit hall. Come back for more coverage.