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Thursday, December 22, 2005 

Vol. I No. 6

Happy Holidays, from NAFA Chicago Chapter

It’s that time of year again, when all Chapters of NAFA (see definition in 12.5.05 entry) have their holiday parties. There are about 20 or so geographically dispersed Chapters that have regular monthly or bimonthly meetings, and while I can’t get to many regular meetings throughout the year, I like to attend as many local holiday parties as possible, both to reconnect with old friends, maybe gain a few new fleet clients and, well, maybe I just like holiday parties.

Unfortunately, a lot of Chapter parties in different areas of the country fall on the same day in the next two weeks, so my posse and I divided up the map. Collectively we plan to attend the NAFA Chapter parties in Seattle, New Jersey, New York, Boston, Dallas, Michigan, Chicago, Saint Louis, and Kansas. I went to the Chicago Chapter holiday party on Thursday, December 8th. Just behind maybe Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey, it has the most members who I’ve known for the longest amount of time, but don’t see often enough. The camaraderie at one of these events is rare, I think, in this day and age, at least for trade associations. People who have long been retired from the fleet business, or from work entirely, still make it to these events just to enjoy being with old friends. They volunteer their time and energy, with no monetary or business reward, in the spirit of the holiday, just to make a good event, reconnect with each other, and help new folks in the business ramp up on the learning curve quickly. Most usually connect the event to a charity function; Chicago always generates lots of gifts for the local Toys for Tots campaign.

The thing is, although these holiday NAFA Chapter meetings are attended by fleet managers, manufacturer representatives, fleet dealers, etc., I don’t think I’ve ever talked business directly at these functions, but it has always helped my business regardless of which job title I found myself in at various times. It represents the part of the business that I enjoy the most…

[A little post script – the party was held mid-day on the outskirts of Chicago in the suburb of Schaumburg, and, Chicago being Chicago, by the time I left the place it was snowing so bad that it took over 3 ½ hours to travel what should have been a 30 minute ride to get back to the city…oh the joys of wintertime – any chance they can hold the next Chicago NAFA holiday celebration in Vegas?]

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