President’s Letter: November, 2016

If you had told me at any point that we'd see baseball on the north side in November, I probably would have expressed my disbelief quite loudly. Yet here we are, the Cubs playing November baseball and a chance to win the World Series. Best of luck to them.

It has been a pleasure to serve as your President this past year and as we come up on our elections this month, I wish our slate of candidates all the best. I am excited at the people who have generously decided to donate their time on behalf of this amazing organization.

With this in mind, I'd like to look ahead to a few things we have on the schedule between now and the end of the year.

Elections luncheon next Tuesday.

That's right, the annual general meeting of the IACAC will be held and we will be holding our annual elections. The event will be held at the Wyndham Garden Elk Grove Village and you can RSVP here. You can also download the ballot at this link, and all members in good standing of the IACAC are eligible to cast a ballot.

For more information or questions about the election, contact Jim Wilbrandt, our Chaiman at jim (at) basicent (dot) com.

Oktoberfest in November on Thursday.

With thanks to our generous sponsor Alaska Air Cargo, we are holding an Oktoberfest in November event at Church Street Brewing Company, the site of our July networking event. The owners have assured us they even kept a few barrels of their Oktoberfest beer squirreled away in the corner for safe keeping and our consumption.

The Toasty Cheese truck will be making an appearance as well.

Thanks to Alaska Air Cargo, our attendees will receive a coupon for a free gourmet grilled cheese sandwich and a complimentary beer.

Don't miss your chance for a great night of networking - follow this link to register.

Scholarship application period extended through November 11th.

One of the hallmarks of the IACAC and the reason we hold events as fundraisers like our holiday luncheon and the golf outing are to raise money for the scholarship fund.

The deadline for submissions this year has been extended to November 11th, giving qualified applicants the chance to submit in time. We will notify the winners within a few weeks and ask them to make their best effort to attend our holiday luncheon next month to receive their award in person.

For more information including eligibility requirements and to apply, visit our website for all the details.

The holiday party is coming.

And with it, we're looking for raffle items and giveaways for our fundraising efforts. Last year we were fortunate to have not only a wonderful selection of prizes and airline tickets and miles, but the bins were overflowing with the gifts that our attendees generously brought to benefit the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.

Mark your calendars and watch your inboxes - this year's event will be held again at the Belvedere on Tuesday afternoon, December 13th. Event registration will be open soon.

Photo credit: Flickr user Dave Herholz, CC by 3.0

President’s Letter: October, 2016

There is nothing better than knowing that my Sundays are once again free of the border of having to follow Chicago's professional football team. Thankfully the retooled Bulls, the return of hockey (it's an odd-numbered year, so they're in the Cup hunt again) and the potential of an October filled with local baseball will fill the void. As my term as IACAC President nears the end, I am proud of what we've done throughout 2016 and look forward to continuing to work until the new board takes over in December.

September successes

We had two major events here in town that I hope everyone had the chance to attend. Dan Gadow, former IACAC President, current Swissport Vice President and really all-around great guy came and spoke to a crowd of nearly forty people at our September luncheon. I say this with all sincerity, there is a short list of people who have spent their careers in and around this airport who understand its inner workings and Dan is on it. The Chicago air cargo community should be grateful for Dan's leadership and his continued vocal involvement on behalf of companies and their issues.

The Airforwarders Association also held a packed-house event at Coopers Hawk in Arlington Heights on September 21st. The IACAC's Chairman of the Board Jim Wilbrandt participated in a panel discuss that featured Chicago's Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans. It was a pleasure to have leadership from the airport there to discuss our issues and it opens up a dialogue we hope continues long into the future. If you couldn't make it, they've got a gallery on their Facebook page.

October opportunities - IACAC  Scholarship and monthly luncheon

Every year, the IACAC attempts to fund a scholarship for a family member of our individual and corporate members. Last year we awarded three scholarships - we hope to have the same opportunity this year. The page is live to learn more, but the deadlines are October 30th to submit an applicationNovember 15th to be advised, December 13th to be awarded. If you know someone who has a child or grandchild starting college or is in college and would like to submit an application, visit this page on our site for all the details. Candidates should complete the application, answer the three, 600-word essay questions and submit their transcripts.

On October 18th (a week later than usual), we're featuring the annual visit of Brandon Fried of the Airforwarders Association. Forwarders usually feel the impact of a regulatory change (updates to their Security Programs, new CBP procedures) after all the rulemaking and discussions have happened. Brandon and the AfA are in the room, fighting for forwarders to keep those changes from making our lives more difficult and costly. Come out and hear from him in person what is going on with advanced data requirements, what the election could mean for trade and the state of the industry. The registration page is live so go and sign up now.

November stuff - Oktoberfest on the 3rd, Elections on the 8th

Early in November you won't be able to get enough of us still as we have a return to Church Street Brewing Company planned for November 3rd and the event is graciously being sponsored by Alaska Air Cargo. We'll have the Toasty Cheese truck back as well, so if you missed it in July, you've got another shot coming up in November. We decided "Oktoberfest in November" was a great event - because who doesn't love eating & drinking and a good Alpenhorn?

November 8th will be the monthly luncheon where elections for the IACAC Board of Directors takes place. All regular members in good standing for six months are invited to run for one of the director seats and all regular members in good standing are eligible to vote. The IACAC board meets the first Tuesday of every month in the evening and we plan luncheons and networking events as well as raise funds for our scholarship fund through the golf outing and our holiday luncheon. For more information on running for a position on the upcoming board, contact Jim Wilbrandt at jim (at) basicent (dot) com.

Hanjin bankruptcy and peak season

We're certainly seeing reshuffling of cargo on the water because Hanjin's failure at the end of August. With an estimated 20,000 - 25,000 containers per week taken out of service, there have been some GRI's reported by the remaining carriers seeking to impose some levels of rate restoration. The JOC reported a strong August with an increase of 5.6% year-on-year as the peak season approaches. Airlines as well are seeing increased load factors as some cargo trapped on the ocean is moved by air to fill orders.

President’s Letter: September, 2016

And into the final third of the year we go...I'm somewhat in a state of disbelief when I sit down to write this in about another month or so that the baseball playoffs will be upon us. I mean, weren't they just reporting for Spring Training?

There are a wide variety of issues that I wanted to mention in this issue, many of which require linking out to the source material. If you or your company do not subscribe to some of these publications, I encourage you to do so because you'll be well read and ready to discuss the current issues that face logistics and supply chain today and into the future.

Peak Season: Flat.

Both the Journal of Commerce and the Wall Street Journal have opined that flat is the new peak. If that's the case, then logistics companies are going to have to change their business models to support year-round revenue generation rather than counting on a bump between now and the holiday season.

Amazon is coming to town...

They're all around us now, actually. In Crain's, it was announced this week that a third Amazon facility is planned for south suburban Monee, joining two facilities they've got under construction in Joliet and Romeoville. And congrats are in order to Ken Ryan and his team at Rockford Airport who've landed a daily Amazon freighter that could balloon to as many as five flights per day.

September events: Dan Gadow and the Airforwarders Association

We'll have more details on Dan's featured presentation at our monthly luncheon which will be held on Tuesday, September 13th, in the coming days. Just get your calendar marked for it. The big event, though, surrounds the quarterly Airforwarders Assocation board meeting that will be held in Chicago on September 20th followed by a night of discussion about air cargo issues in the Chicago market. In what can only be termed a coup, the AfA have landed Ginger Evans, Chicago's Aviation Commissioner, as a speaker and participant. If you're interested in sponsoring the event which is targeted at freight forwarders, or you want to attend, check out more on our website.

Calling all scholars...

September is also the month when we will open for nominations and applications for our annual IACAC Scholarship. Last year three worthy recipients shared several thousand dollars for their education. As a reminder, the scholarship is open to immediate family members of IACAC individual and corporate members. Got a kid going to college? Spend $50 or $100 on a membership for a chance to get them money for school.

"It's cold in Chicago" isn't a valid excuse.

You'd have to be blind or not spend any time driving around any part of O'Hare to notice the construction that seems to be happening at every turn. IDOT and the Illinois Tollway's plan for western access to O'Hare (and a western bypass around said airport) are under siege because the Canadian Pacific Railroad have backed out of an agreement to sell a portion of their yard to the Tollway Authority for the western access project. Greg Hinz has been covering it beautifully for Crain's and you should read what is happening and hope that both sides can come to their senses and the bargaining table because the delays and additional costs would dwarf whatever price the railroad sets for the property.

October events include an Oktoberfest!

For certain we're going to have the inimitable Brandon Fried and his traveling road show from the Airforwarders Association in to talk about what is happening with regulators in DC. There are all kinds of things to talk about like IACSSP Change 6, canines, ACAS and more. Brandon's event is usually one of the more well-attended we put on each year, so don't forget to mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 11th.

We're also finalizing the details on an Oktoberfest back over at Church Street Brewing Company, the site of our successful July social event. The tentative date is Thursday, October 20th at Church Street in Itasca. Watch this space for the full details when they're announced.

White papers published by NCBFAA on ACE

As part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate the implementation of ACE, the NCBFAA recently provided the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with white papers addressing ACE Development and ACE Functionality.
In its paper entitled, "Status of Ace and Single Window Development And Impact to the Trade Community," the NCBFAA points out that full realization of ACE and the single window includes all transaction types and variations, a reliable system with optimal productivity, disciplined adoption of PGAs and collaborative development of added functionality. The NCBFAA notes that the realization of a fully operational state-of-the-art system will facilitate legitimate trade into and out of the United States and be a model to other border administrations worldwide.
The second paper, "Functionality Under Development But Not Complete Or Not Functioning As Intended And Functionality Not Under Development,"offers readers an itemized list of "core" functionality in ACE and the NCBFAA's opinion that completion and stabilization of this "core" functionality must occur before any new processes divert needed resources from these priorities.
The NCBFAA encourages its members to review these documents as well as visit the "ACE Helpful Links" site on the NCBFAA website.

President’s Letter: August, 2016

Welcome to August. I like to think we're deep in the heart of the summer (and it has been a warm one to date, certainly) but judging from my television and the sale fliers starting to appear in my mailbox, I apparently need to get to planning the return to school of my kids later this month. Before we start having thoughts of classrooms, though, there are bigger and better concerns for our IACAC members and I wanted to share those with you today.

Last reminder: The golf outing is on August 9th.

Honestly, I know we've been drilling it into everybody's heads and we hope you're not utterly sick of hearing from us.

This is an important event because it's one of our two major fundraising activities throughout the year that raises money for our annual scholarship fund that awards money to students continuing their education. I won't bore you with the details, you can go here to read them and register, but join us to golf. If you can't join us to golf, join us for lunch. If you can't do either of those, donate something that we can raffle off to help our recipient(s) defray the cost of their education. We're not putting anybody through Harvard with a full ride, but we can certain help them with books and materials for a semester or two.

Watch this space for the IACAC Scholarship applications and questions.

Our Scholarship Committee Chair Olya Lebedyeva has come up with the list of questions for our applicants and our goal is to follow the same calendar we did last year calling for applications later in August and accepting them through October. We will announce and present the winners at our annual Holiday Luncheon.

PSS and forecast from Asia.

The Journal of Commerce reports that as retailers are gearing up for the 2016 PSS that rates on the Shanghai Containerized Index are ticking upwards. Bill Mongeluzzo reports that while the bumps in volume are not what they were during peak years (as much as a twenty percent increase in volume), retailers will still move their high-value merchandise through West Coast ports for the transit time savings it affords them versus an all-water service to the East Coast and then a return westward by rail or truck.

The importance of being active (in your networks).

As the owner of a logistics placement firm representing both employers and recruits, I stress to both sides of the equation the importance of keeping things current. Employers need to be sure their job listings are accurate and timely, otherwise individuals will feel dismayed and not trust a company who is misleading in their hunt for people. For recruits, network, make connections and stay engaged in discussions. Carve out some time each day to work through your professional social media channels, sharing things that are interesting or making new connections. Heck, if you attend any of our networking events and come home with a pocket full of business cards, you should be trying to connect with those people as soon as possible after meeting them. Add to that network because you never know when you'll need it.

Stay current because there's always an M or an A right around the corner.

M = Merger, A = Acquisition. If you've been through one (or more), you know what it is like to come out on one side or the other. Maybe your position gets retained, maybe it is eliminated because the other company's department is superior or doesn't need double the headcount. According to consulting firm PwC, while M&A activity was off in the first quarter of this year, they anticipate that low oil prices will continue to free up capital to pursue opportunities throughout the rest of 2016. You can read the story in American Shipper.

President’s Letter: July, 2016

We've reached the crest of 2016 and are now moving into the second half of the year. We're not wasting any time here at the IACAC and hope that you're half as excited about what we've got on our plate as I am. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

June CNS event

On June 16th, CNS, the US arm of IATA, came to Chicago to educate air freight forwarders about eAWB adoption. Starting August 1st, airlines here in Chicago are going to be pushing for as many shipments to be tendered with electronic MAWB's as possible. Thanks to our efforts and those of the CCBFA, we registered 150 people for the event and just over 120 people were in attendance for the half day event.

It was a privilege to open the event. Thanks as well to IACAC Board Member Scott Case who helped put it together, locate the venue and was the featured keynote speaker before handing it off to the team from CNS.

Between our pictures and theirs, we've brought them together into a gallery you can look through here.

AirCargo 2016 in Phoenix a success

Brian Bartolotta and Melissa Gallardo at AirCargo 2016I had the pleasure of attending the AirCargo 2016 conference in Phoenix earlier this month and between the sessions, the networking events and the great number of exhibitors in the hall, the more than six hundred people in attendance took away a TON over those three days.

July 28th networking event at Church Street Brewing Company

We had such a great time and turnout at our March networking event around the college basketball tournament that we're doing it again. This time, come join us July 28th from 6 - 9 PM at Church Street Brewing Company. There's no charge to attend, just bring yourself, your business cards, and a taste for great craft beer.

More details including an RSVP will be coming to the site shortly - stay tuned.

IACAC Golf Outing August 9th - Calling all golfers and sponsors

Our annual golf outing is coming up in a little over six weeks and we are thrilled to be back at the Bridges of Poplar Creek. This event is the highlight event of the association outing circuit each year (or so we think) and the proceeds benefit our IACAC Scholarship Fund.

Golf registration is only $125.00 for single golfers and $400.00 per foursome. Can't join us for golf or not a golfer? We'll see you at lunch for only $35.00!

Click here to register for the IACAC Golf Outing!

We're still looking for sponsors and raffle prizes as well to give away during the luncheon. For more information about becoming an IACAC Golf Outing sponsor, download this flier.

Airline tickets up for grabs at IACAC Golf Outing

As of June 29th, we've got a commitment for tickets from:

  • Lan (courtesy of Progressive Transportation)
  • Air Canada
  • Southwest

Stay tuned because we're still feverishly working the phones and email to try and secure more. The IACAC Golf Outing is one of the few events left for forwarders to win tickets from our valued airline partners.



President’s Letter: May, 2016.

Spring appears to be well on its way without stopping, finally. Trees are turning green, my local home improvement store is selling plants and flowers and despite some of the really cold and nasty weather of this past week (how do you go from 80 on Monday to 40 on Tuesday?), we've got warm things to look forward to. Warmer weather makes me think of getting back out on the links, and what better way to start talking about it than to remind everybody of the...

IACAC Golf Outing

We keep talking about it because it is important for two reasons. First, it is one of the most well-attended golf outings in the Chicago logistics industry. Second, it is a great chance for companies and brands to sponsor a hole or some part of the event and to contribute prizes to our luncheon raffle. The reason it is important is because proceeds from this event directly benefit our IACAC Scholarship. Last year we gave financial awards to three very worthy students and we hope to have the opportunity to equal that feat this year as well.

Registration will be opening in May for the event, but visit the event page for more information and to download a flier for information on being an IACAC Golf Outing sponsor.


One of my reasons for seeking the Presidency of this great organization was to increase its membership. I firmly believe that when you've been in business for sixty years, especially in an industry like air cargo, you've done something right. It is our responsibility to continue to grow this industry for the next generation of people who are looking to make a career of logistics. I am out speaking with my clients and my fellow board members are doing the same. Our goal is to increase membership in this organization and continuing to demonstrate the value and benefits of membership. For more information about joining IACAC, check out our membership page.

AirCargo 2016, June 8 - 10 in Phoenix.

We are not an industry that operates alone or without others. The success of air forwarders depends upon everyone up and down the air cargo supply chain, including airlines, ground handlers, truckers and others. These groups all come together at the annual AirCargo conference. This is the first year the conference is being held later in the year, and they're in early June at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix. The keynote speaker this year is Ray Thurston, who took a small company called SonicAir Couriers and became chairman of what is today UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

You missed your chance at the early bird, but it is still affordable to attend, exhibit or sponsor. For more information visit their website and sign up today.


President’s Letter: April, 2016

It's spring, we're days away from Opening Day and it's time for some introductions.

Hello, everyone. Thank you to those who participated in the special election earlier this month. I would like to thank Herman Ruiz who also put his name forth for the election. Herman has been an important and involved member of the IACAC for many years and I sincerely appreciate his service.

My name is Brian Bartolotta and I'm the Managing Director of BCS Placement. I am fortunate that many of our members are also my company's clients, so I look forward to having a chance encourage many of you to take the time to get involved in this great organization. I'll also be pressuring my non-member clients to join as well, because I believe that ours is one with tradition and history on our side.

Why I ran for President.

My vision for this organization which is in its 61st year is one of growth locally and nationally. We have a strong and diverse membership of airlines, warehouses, truckers and forwarders. We all have issues that are important to us and we should be working together to improve the air cargo community here in Chicago.

We should also reach out in all directions to other associations; CCBFA, ITA-GC, ITCC, the Illinois Trucking Association and others whose livelihoods depend upon a strong and growing air cargo industry.

We face issues here in Chicago that affect us directly, but sometimes the challenges we face are being repeated in other cities or on a national level. It is with this in mind that I look forward to engaging with organizations such as the Airforwarders Association or other air cargo associations around the country to network and share resources, tips and ideas. I encourage all of you when you travel to other cities to check in advance if your travel coincides with the meeting of a local air cargo association. It is a tremendous networking opportunity as well as a chance to learn something about the local marketplace.

I also want us to be more social. Last week we had a tremendous turnout for our March Madness event held with YFFA. We need to add more of these to our calendar, and surprisingly there are many great venues surrounding the airport where we can gather and share laughs in a relaxed and social setting.

If you have any questions or wish to reach me, feel free to contact me by email at bbartolotta (at)

I look forward to working on your behalf and hope to see as many of you as possible at what will be a feature lunch event on April 12th with Bruce Campbell of Forward Air. Make your reservations today.

IACAC President’s Letter – December, 2014

This is the final President's letter that I will write. Next month, this space is turned over to the 2015 IACAC President, Jim Wilbrandt, who was elected to the position last month.Thank you!

It has been a year of change at IACAC, and to go back and look at what we accomplished as an organization month-by-month amazes me. None of it would have happened without a tremendous board of directors; people who give tirelessly of themselves for our members and the air cargo industry in general. Many of those people will be continuing on next year, some will be retiring at the end of this year. All are to be thanked for their hard work, dedication and service to the community.

When I look back on my tenure as President, there are a few things that happened of which I am most proud.

  1. A new website. This new site did wonders for us. Unveiled in February along with a rethink of our monthly Pallet and a push into social media that we previously did not use to the fullest extent, we expanded the reach and message of the Association. Presently, The Pallet is sent to close to a thousand people in Chicago and around the globe. The new site also generated marketing revenue that eclipsed the previous four years combined.
  2. A renewed airline focus. Our name tells our charter; the International Air Cargo Association of Chicago. Look back at our past presidents list. There are countless names there who came from the ranks of airlines, and this year we worked hard to re-engage carriers and had their participation both as speakers at our monthly luncheons and as sponsors of numerous events. To those carriers who have been involved, please accept my thanks and I encourage you to continue to engage with the new board in 2015 and beyond. The number of airline members eclipses the total of the past eight years.
  3. A successful golf outing which generates scholarship dollars. Our golf outing was a great success and we surpassed last year's attendance in what was a continuing tough climate for social industry outings. The money raised at the golf outing (and at our upcoming holiday luncheon) goes right into the scholarship fund for students to continue their studies; look for the announcements again next Spring when we call for applications and look forward to helping defray the cost schooling for worthy recipients.
  4. An increased membership. Between people signing up for the early bird specials and our push to get people to join, we have added fifty more new members to the Association. We realize that with businesses consolidating into larger and larger companies, some long-time members go away. However, it seems like that when a larger company closes, a few smaller ones open as talented men and women take on new opportunities. For them, we are here to support and help them grow.

Our holiday luncheon next Tuesday, December 9th, is important for three reasons. Well, maybe four.

First and most importantly, it is a chance to bring a toy for our annual Toys for Tots drive that is spearheaded by Maureen Schmitt of Mallory Alexander. We've partnered with the Marines for many years in the past and our community's generosity is a wonderful thing to behold. Please come help a child have something under their tree this Christmas. Second, we raffle off some really great prizes, including a pair of tickets to Paris donated generously every year by Air France. (Note, the winner is responsible for the taxes which are approximately $200 per ticket). The money from those raffles benefits our scholarship fund. Third, come and socialize with your fellow IACAC members before the holidays and commitments overrun us all. Fourth and finally, it's a chance to RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2015. Get started, be one of the first to be on the 2015 membership rolls.

For more information and to register, click here.

This year's board was one of the strongest boards I have ever worked with. We made a lot of changes internally which positively affected how we are seen externally, and I can say we are heading in the right direction. I will return next year as Chairman, after which I will step down and remain involved as a paid member.

For me personally it was an exciting year of change as well. I departed my previous company to start my own place in August called The Chit Chat Group. Chit Chat opened with a focus on education, training and consulting logistics companies. In October, Chit Chat signed a two-year deal to exclusively represent Atlas Logistic Network throughout the Americas. This put the company rather quickly on the global stage, representing the third largest exclusive network in the world.

While the Chicago agencies are filled, we're looking for members in other gateway cities throughout the United States.

For more information on Atlas as well as our ongoing classes, check us out at

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President for 2014, and I am eager for the leadership that Jim Wilbrandt and the new board will bring in 2015. This new board is equally as strong and forwarding thinking and I'm looking forward to their certain success.

2015 IACAC election absentee ballot available

Members of the IACAC:

You may now download the 2015 Absentee Ballot for the IACAC elections.

If you will be unable to attend next Tuesday's luncheon meeting (registration open here), then you may download, complete and email this ballot to Christine Aguirre.

Absentee ballots must be received by November 10, 2014, to be counted at the meeting on Tuesday, November 11th.

Note the following for the ballots:

  • If your company is a corporate member with TWO contacts, you are allowed two votes.
  • If you have joined as an individual or have only one person listed on your IACAC record, you are allowed one vote.
  • Each position allows for the submission of a name for a write-in candidate.
  • Winners will be announced at the IACAC luncheon next Tuesday at the Holiday Inn, Elk Grove Village.

If you have any questions, you may contact Christine Aguirre by email at chragu27 (at)