May 30, 2023

The Benefits of Industry-Specific Conferences, Through The Lens of a First-Time FMA Attendee

Written by
Taylor Dana

I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual Florida Messenger Association Annual conference for 2023, with its focus on the Challenge of Change. The FMA brings together couriers, LTL motor carriers, logistics companies, and other transportation service providers throughout the state of Florida. The goal of the FMA is to foster long lasting business relationships within the industry, provide an environment for learning and advancing small businesses, and to promote interest and awareness for the industries it serves. Smaller, industry-specific conferences, such as the FMA, are a perfect way for business owners to grow their reach within the transportation community. Industry professionals desiring growth and new experiences would benefit immensely from attending events like the FMA.

Members at the FMA were friendly, sociable, and excited to have a few days dedicated to gaining knowledge in their selected industry. The conference featured guest speakers on new developments within the transportation industry, compliance with transportation regulations, and ways to build up your small business into a household name. The focal point of the conference was educating members on how to provide superior service to customers, recognizing outstanding leaders in the industry, and providing networking opportunities for the companies in attendance. I had the pleasure of interacting with so many different people, and hearing about their business models and what makes each company unique. David Smith, one of the partners a tour firm, was once again the compliance speaker for the FMA conference. He addressed emerging issues in the industry, such as the Department of Labor’s revision of the independent contractor test, the application of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, and importation practices, policies, and contractual needs for warehousing operations. Panels and breakout discussions also gave members the ability to ask more specific questions related to their business, including how to navigate mergers and acquisitions with larger transportation companies, and how to make sure employees are abiding by TSA regulations when shipping certain cargo.

While the FMA was a wonderful opportunity for growth and learning, it wasn’t all work and no play. The FMA featured a golf tournament to kick off the long weekend, and a casino night complete with dealers, numerous card games, and a lively DJ to keep the atmosphere jovial. We enjoyed raffles games, ate delicious food, and had an opportunity to unwind together in a friendly atmosphere. As an attorney, I am no stranger to the conference scene, but I can honestly say that this was the best conference I have ever had the pleasure of attending. All in all, it was a weekend I will not forget and a conference that I plan to attend annually.

If you are a small business owner, an industry professional, or even an attorney representing industry-specific matters, I encourage you to take advantage of conference opportunities in your area. I had such a meaningful experience meeting new people and getting the opportunity for face-to-face chats with clients that I normally only see on video conferences.  I truly believe that the opportunities a Company can gain from attending conferences could have a lasting, positive impact on their business, and anyone in the transportation industry in and around Florida should consider attending the FMA.