UMA evolves on Stacy Tetschner’s watch
On the job since June 2017, UMA President and CEO Stacy Tetschner may be new to the motorcoach industry, but he knows his way around industry associations. He arrived in his new world following more than 25 years with the National Speakers Association and the California Restaurant Association.
Following his dream to eventually work on the east coast, he responded to UMA’s ad on Linkedin and watched the stars align, namely his successful connections with Steve Klika and the UMA Search Committee.
BUSRide caught up with Tetschner as he prepared for his first UMA Expo in San Antonio, TX.
What has been your greatest challenge, biggest surprise and most significant achievement?
The challenge has been — and will be — to begin and keep on building on my predecessor Vic Parra ‘s accomplishments and take this association to its next level. This is what UMA is asking of me and where I wish to take my career.
Going forward, my challenging is to monitor all the many regulations associated with motorcoach operations, and to identify and understand the opportunities and develop new programs and products that best serve our members. Our job is to help market and generate interest in this industry so that they can realize new business opportunities to come.
My biggest surprise has been in realizing the diversity the people, the evolving technology and business models and they apply to this industry. On one hand It is all very refreshing. However, such a wide berth can be disconcerting. Having so many people operating at so many diverse levels can impede on our efforts to move everyone forward when we can’t be nimble and react to situations as quickly as might be necessary.
Case in point is the first day I walked into the UMA offices and saw a fax machine sitting on the countertop and asked it was still around. My hosts informed me I would be very surprised by the number of operators who still prefer their fax machine for outside communications.
To prove the point, we sent out a group fax on an issue we had coming up and the response from a certain segment was tremendous.
At the same time, we have others who totally embrace CRM technology and understand fully how they can market their business and create more business electronically, digitally and through the internet.
While it is good that these people are rooted in the history of this business, there are those who might not be as willing to look to the future.
From what I am seeing so far, in many instances, our operators must stay so focused on the day-to-day of it, they’re not always in position to look up and say, “Okay, where do we need be heading?” “What is our next step?” as opposed to “What’s broken?” What needs fixing?” “How do we put out the fire of the day?”
The only way UMA can lead the way is to present the membership with more opportunities and ways to engage. Over the years UMA has introduced some great programs such as the Spader 20 Groups, which have given operators really entrenched in their business a helping step up. As Spader says, they are learning to say,” I have to work on my business instead of in my business.”
I believe my significant achievement to now, has been in getting up to speed and coming to understand this new industry. My immediate goal is to just “keep all the plates spinning” at UMA.
I do not want anything to fall off track following this association’s countless accomplishments over the years. A new leader coming in should not take away from anything positive the members have been experiencing.
Can you give us an example?
Congress was just introducing HR2120 when I came on. With the bill beginning to gain traction in the House of Representatives, this marked the first time UMA had ever played offense as opposed to defense with any proposed regulations. I am pleased to say we have already seen a few rollbacks in regulations that support the direction of this bill.
Refresh us on HR2120.
Typically, a House resolution or bill comes in with everything including the kitchen sink included in terms of regulations for our industry. This time, Representative Scott Perry from Pennsylvania came to us expounding on how UMA just keeps fighting against so many of the regulations, and asked us to think about going on the offensive and actual writing a resolution that we could take to the Hill to actually amend some of our major concerns.
We approached this by coming up with a laundry list of items we would like to see in the bill, from helping new entrants to ensuring FMCSA is clear on its stated mission and able to stay focused; as opposed to working with each new administration on how should and should regulate. We also addressed sleep apnea as a significant concern and what the rule making should include.
With all our concerns and suggestions combined into this one bill, we believe it will most likely become part of an appropriations bill that will move forward.
What will we see at UMA Expo 2018 under your watch?
It’s very cool to see how exciting our show floor will be. We have made it very exciting for people to come to UMA EXPO and connect with the changes that are taking place in the industry.
We will be unveiling some some significant exclusive UMA-only member benefits that have been a goal and under discussion for a long time; through companies like AmBest and Century Business Solutions, with discount credit cards and insurance products. These will be on our show floor, as well as products exclusively discounted to UMA.
We will have several electric buses on exhibit. Our unique EDL Pavilion will allow members to mingle with side-by-side exhibiting EDL providers to shop and compare.
Of course, I am very passionate our lineup of speakers, leading off with Les Nguyen who will speak to the lifecycle of a bus business and its predictable success.
What are your hopes and aspirations for UMA?
Since I’ve come to UMA, I am realizing more and more a genuine sense of community. I’ve gone to several regional meetings and find it fun to connect at a local level and then take what I learn to our national meetings. I am impressed by how even as competitors, our members really work together to create this bigger, better, stronger industry for everyone.
Looking at that through the lens of UMA, I hope to increase brand awareness of our organization. With nearly 600 operator company members from the 3000 that are out there, I would love to see us gain a much stronger representation of the entire industry. To do even this much, we can make our brand much more relevant.
There is so much more we can. Right now as we speak, we are involved in redesigning and redeveloping many of our signature programs.
I would remind everyone to stay tuned to UMA.