Auto dealers assn. sponsors March SAMA luncheon
By Russ Heaps
At what was in essence the first anniversary meeting of the Southern Automotive Media Association, 30 or so members conducted business between bites of Caesar salad and perfectly grilled filet mignon. Whereas, the initial SAMA meeting was convened at Bernie’s Steak House in South Miami, this one took place in a swank private dining room on the second floor of Smith and Wollensky’s Restaurant with a beautiful view of Fisher Island and South Beach. We’ve come a long way, baby!
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Hosted by the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association through the efforts of SAMA member John Kiskinis, of Kiskinis Communications, the featured speaker was SFADA President Rick Baker. Although his presentation centered on the upcoming 17th annual Ft. Lauderdale International Auto Show, convening at the Broward County Convention Center March 20-23, Baker also provided a number of interesting, little-known details surrounding the 1933 founding of the dealers’ association – now 220 dealers strong. At the conclusion of his presentation, Rick stated an interest in his organization being a regular once-a-year sponsor of a SAMA meeting and lunch to provide details of the upcoming South Florida auto show season, including the shows in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He also provided media and guest passes for this year’s Ft. Lauderdale show.
On the order of old business, Teresa Bravo reported that Bridgestone Tire will probably step up and host the media breakfast at the Miami auto show next year. She said she is still working on the details, but was very optimistic about Bridgestone’s participation.
Bill Adam also updated the group on his efforts to organize a ride day for seriously and terminally ill children. This will be a major community outreach program for SAMA and will consist of providing a right-seat experience for children being treated at Miami’s Baptist Hospital. After months of spinning his wheels attempting to bring together a medical facility and a driving venue, Bill has, for all intents and purposes, solidified the participation of Baptist Hospital and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Because of the speedway’s busy schedule, a fall date is being determined.
Now, Bill and SAMA’s efforts will turn to the manufacturers that will need to provide the exotic cars required. Bill emphasized that the thrills involved in this event won’t be provided by driving racetrack speeds, but in the experience of a child actually getting a ride in his or her dream car.
SAMA President Ron Beasley announced that a sponsor and location for the April meeting has not been finalized and members will be notified by email about the specifics of next month’s luncheon. He also announced that Shell Lubricants has committed to sponsor the May luncheon.
The two-and-a-half hour meeting adjourned to allow those members who have real jobs to return to them.