The National Limousine Association has been formed in Washington to represent the country's growing limousine industry.
"The industry is growing very rapidly," said Jeffrey L. Berger, the general counsel and acting executive director of NLA. "We need a national association to unify the common interests of the industry. If no one represents the limousine industry, these companies will continue to be buffeted by laws and regulations that could be worked out on a national level."
Currently, there are 85 limousine companies in Washington; in 1980 there were 35. Statistics also show growth in the limousine industry nationwide. Between 1983 and 1984, the number of U.S. limousines sold rose from fewer than 250 to 5,000.
Berger attributes much of the growth to the changing image of the limousine. Limousines are being used to get to and from parties by people who don't want to drive after drinking, said Berger. They also are being used more and more by the middle class for entertainment as well as business.
The NLA, the first national limousine association, plans to promote standards for the industry and lobby against tax proposals that might harm it, including those affecting travel and entertainment write-offs for business. The NLA plans to offer its members specially priced limousine insurance, monthly newsletters, workshops, trade shows and national promotion of the limousine as an alternative means of travel.
In its first year, the NLA hopes to attract a good portion of the 7,500 limousine companies in the United States as well as manufacturers, suppliers and other companies involved in servicing the limousine business.
The NLA is headed by a three-member president's committee, including Cris Portugal, the owner of Cris Portugal Limousine Service in Washington.
Other members from the Washington area are: George Coupe of Admiral Limousine; Jon Goldberg of DAV-EL of Washington; Charles Wilder of Professional Limousine Service, and Everett White of White's Limousine Service. The NLA hopes to hire a full-time executive director in the coming year. TRADE
Rose Williams, owner of Rose Williams dress shop in Bethesda, has been awarded the 1985 Small Business of the Year Service Award by the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce. A member of the chamber's board, Williams has supported the Red Cross, Suburban Hospital and the Holy Cross Hospital and sponsors fashion shows and fund-raisers in her shop for civic and charitable groups. Williams, 76, has been a Maryland resident most of her life and has owned the shop for the past 28 years.