President’s Letter – June, 2018

As I write this letter at the end of May and beginning of June, everywhere we turn, there seem to be trade fires burning. Steel and aluminum waivers were rescinded for the EU, Canada and Mexico. China duties appear set to be announced later this month to the tune of an additional $50 billion in imports. And everybody is saying thank you by adding their own reciprocal duties on our products.

This is what I wrote in my own company's weekly newsletter that went out today:

Trade is under siege here in America. While the reaction from many is to say, "It's only 'x' percent on 'y' commodities from 'z' countries and it's not like it affects me directly," stop and think about that for a moment. Companies budgeted for their landed costs and now need to find and deposit additional double-digit percentages for their raw material inputs or finished goods. How does this affect their planned growth, hiring, expansion or other capital investments?

Think about how we, the trade, react when a carrier announces a fuel surcharge, a GRI or any kind of rate increase. We fight tooth and nail to mitigate it. There's no mitigating the additional duties that are being collected.

If you're a US producer or exporter of any number of products grown, raised, manufactured or even distilled, your customers might slow down or cancel orders in response to our trade moves because your products are now too expensive. Sorry, they'll say, but they'll purchase them from another country without the punitive tariff barriers.

With few exceptions, the United States doesn't have the exclusive market on making "stuff". Our trading partners know what products and brands are uniquely American and their retaliation is and will be targeted at those singular products.

If America is going to continue to be a part of the global economy and not watch cargo from one country pass over, around and through ours en route to buyers and sellers elsewhere, we're going to have to ask ourselves what trade and commerce mean going forward. If we feel strongly that the policies are adverse to the interests of our businesses, then we need to work together to blunt, mitigate, stop or change the path we're traveling.

The figures show that air cargo was up between four and five percent, year on year in April. Overall, the forecast is for between four and five percent growth in 2018. What happens to those consumer electronics from China that we order, or the distilled spirits from the United States that EU member nations or countries throughout Asia order when the punitive duties make it prohibitively expensive for consumers to purchase? 

To alter Gordon Gecko's line about greed from the movie Wall Street, 'Trade is good. Trade works."

Trade gives us jobs. Trade grows our companies. Trade is what we need more than trade barriers.

Talking Tech With Fred

Get ready for our luncheon this month with Fred Werginz of CHAMP Cargo Systems - we're all drowning in paper that prevents us from sharing information and data that help businesses make good decisions. Fred will be here to talk about EDI and other ways that businesses can communicate electronically and share information that makes everyone's work better, more productive and more profitable. Register here.

The golf outing is open for registration - August 7th is the date, Bridges of Poplar Creek is the place.

This one's on me with travel this month at the NCBFAA and CNS Partnership Conference, both of which were highly informative and educational. Your IACAC board was well represented across both conferences with Brian Bartolotta, Olya Lebedyeva, Chuck Menini and myself in attendance at one or both events. 

Golf is now open and we kept the pricing for golf identical as last year - $400/foursome, $125/individual that includes breakfast, golf, your cart and lunch. Lunch is $45/person this year, up slightly from last year to cover our increased costs.

We have also made a change to the sponsorship pricing for holes and signs and letters will be going out to last year's sponsors with all the details including their opportunity to sign-up again for the same signs / bridges / holes as last year. On-course sponsorship is now $300 and will include two people for lunch. Any additional staff will be at $45/person. To differentiate the value between on-course and a sign sponsorship, a sign-only sponsorship will be $200 and will be placed on select holes and/or bridges on the course.

Watch your inbox and your office to be flooded this month with all the details.

President’s Letter: April, 2018

Welcome to April, everyone. Despite the cold snap we've had and the temerity of the local weather people to mention the "s" word for later in the week, baseball season has arrived and Opening Day on both sides of town should prove to we usually get with early season baseball in Chicago.

I'd like to apologize for not getting a post up for March nor a Pallet out. It came right on the heels of the successful AirCargo Conference in Austin and with everything else coming up in March to promote, we threw our efforts towards that. In fact, let's talk about March.

Three successful March events.

While I was unable to attend, our ELD luncheon featuring Omintracs was tremendously successful. As of April 1st, the ELD regulations are now fully in place and our nearly thirty attendees got to hear all about what the new reality is as they grope with the challenges of a tight capacity market and new regulations that will impact the drivers and the distances they can travel.

We also held two successful networking events, our March Madness event at the Wyndham and our Wolves outing at the Allstate Arena (you can call it the "Rosemont Horizon" if you want - I won't judge). Thanks so much to our event sponsors.

March Madness:

  • Basic Crating & Packaging
  • Alaska Air Cargo (we missed you, Ravelle!)
  • BCS Placement

Wolves Game:

  • Air Canada Cargo
  • Riege Software
  • Cargosprint
  • BCS Placement
  • Position : Global

We cannot host these events and make them free without the support of our sponsors, so thank you to everyone. 

April luncheon and membership stuff.

We are slated to have Mike White, the President of CNS, speak to our audience this month. Register here if you've not done so already. Mike is this year's recipient of the Jim Foster Award from the Airforwarders Association, an annual award that recognizes a lifetime contribution to the air freight industry. I know Mike personally and have worked with him for years on a variety of issues and he's knowledgeable and entertaining. 

With Mike's event, as with future events where we have national speakers, the pricing will be slightly higher. We believe that if someone is going to travel to speak to the IACAC, then we can help offset the expense and provide them with accommodations. The slightly higher cost reflects not only the quality of the speaker but defraying the cost of their travel. This pricing will also be in effect for Brandon Fried's luncheon in October.

At the March luncheon, we discovered a number of attendees who registered as members who, according to our membership roster, are not.

In April we will be removing all the IACAC website logins of previous members and replace them with the most updated current membership roster, so if you know you're a member, watch for the email. We will also be setting up our events such that if you wish to register at the member rate, you'll need to log into the site to access the member pricing. This will be the case for network events as well. 

Why be a member? There are plenty of reasons.

  1. It's affordable. $50/individual, $130 for a corporate membership. A corporate membership is tied to the company and includes up to three people and they are all entitled to vote in our annual election and on matters involving the membership.
  2. We're going to have a job board. That's right, a job board. Starting later this month, we'll have a job board where paid IACAC members will be able to post jobs at no charge. Note: you do not need to be a member to view the available jobs or apply for a position.
  3. Networking events will be free to members, but non-members will have to pay to attend. We'd rather you spend your money being a member year-round and getting free access to these events and discounted pricing for other things than paying to mingle each and every time.

Don't delay. Join today.



President’s Letter: February, 2018

We're keeping on thinking warm thoughts even as the Pennsylvania-based rodent saw whatever he saw last week. 

There are a number of things we have going on with the IACAC and nationally that I would like to share with everyone.

CACMA Participation

The IACAC is extremely fortunate we can join the bi-monthly meetings of the Chicago Area Cargo Managers Association that are held at American Airlines Cargo. We learn from these gatherings where airlines, cargo handlers and the airport regulatory authorities come together constructively to talk about issues ranging from changes in the handling of animals at T5 to snow removal plans. It is really eye-opening to hear about the challenges and considerations that come with managing both passenger and cargo processes.

What was most enlightening at the most recent event was the opportunity to meet the head of the airport's Emergency Management Agency. We had a constructive talk about how we can be part of the notification and involvement process for situations at the airport. There were also some interesting ideas tossed out about congestion in the key cargo areas and we're looking at them again through the prism of, "What if overcrowding is a safety issue." Stay tuned.

Membership has its privileges

As we ask everyone to renew in 2018, we are focused on the ways that we can bring demonstrable value to our paying members. At $50 for an individual and only $130 for a corporation, the cost to participate in the IACAC is negligible. What can people get out of their membership? We have personally identified a number of areas including access to legal counsel, a network of connectivity with regulatory agencies in Chicago and Washington as well as collaborative relationships with air cargo associations around the United States.

We're not in this thing alone, and if we are able to help one member solve a problem with an agency or stop the meter from running on a storage or cost issue, we think that we've demonstrated our intrinsic value. Stay tuned and if you've not already renewed or joined, do so today.

Not too late to join AirCargo 2018 in Austin

February 18 - 20 is when it is happening and if you've not booked your ticket, don't miss it. The agenda is packed with sessions that will help people bring things back to their offices and see immediate value. Along with this is an exhibition hall that has been filled to capacity with more than eighty vendors who are in the air cargo industry. Check out for all the details and to register. The conference hotel is sold-out, but there are plenty of surrounding properties available.

Looking ahead on the calendar:

  • February 13 - Educational luncheon on TSA Outreach featuring Aaron Gonzalez and a Mardi Gras-themed menu. Registration is open - sign up now.
  • March 13 - Educational luncheon featuring a speaker from Omnitracs, an ELD manufacturer who will talk trucking.
  • March 15 - Our annual March Madness networking event at the Wyndham - Sponsorships available!
  • March 28 - A networking event at the Chicago Wolves sponsored by Air Canada Cargo - watch for details because we'll have a limited number of tickets available owing to capacity constraints.
  • April 10 - We booked him when he was just a lowly Vice President, but the IACAC is pleased to welcome newly-minted CNS President Mike White to talk about the national-level industry things that CNS is doing.

We're still programming through the summer including the annual IACAC Golf Outing held on Tuesday, August 7 - we've got our first golf committee meeting this month and will be reaching out to previous sponsors to let them know what's happening here in 2018.

Presidents Letter: January, 2018


Happy New Year, everyone!

To begin, I would like to say it is a privilege and honor to hold the presidency of the IACAC for a second consecutive year. At our November board meeting, one of the changes to the bylaws the membership approved was changing the term of president from one to two years. Having spent the first year really getting my feet under me, I feel poised in this second year to advance things even more.

There are a number of things I wanted to bring to everyone's attention this month and here they are in no particular order.

Events in the first quarter: Mark your calendar

  • January 17th: Evening networking event at Punch Bowl Social, sponsored by BCS Placement, Roanoke Trade and Edward J. Zarach & Associates. Click here to register.
  • February 13th: Luncheon featuring TSA for a non-SSI discussion of regulated parties and their authorized representatives.
  • March 13th: Luncheon featuring a discussion about ELD's and what the landscape looks like after a few months in action.
  • March 15th: Evening networking event, our annual "March Madness" event at the Wyndham. We're looking for sponsors!
  • March 28th: Evening networking event at the Chicago Wolves, sponsored by Air Canada Cargo.

We've got committees that need volunteers - join us!

The IACAC has a number of standing committees that are engaged throughout the year. We're going to be getting a page stood up on the website about these committees, what they do and who is already on them, but if you're looking for a way to get involved with the IACAC, this is a great way to get your feet wet and see if you'd like to take on more responsibility, like running for a seat on our board. We're looking for people for the following committees. Contact me with any questions directly.

  • Membership
  • Advertising
  • Scholarship
  • Welfare
  • Golf
  • Social / Networking
  • Political Action

Members: Renew for 2018. Thinking about joining? Now's your chance.

Several of us on the board were having a discussion about the tangible benefits that individuals and companies get as members of the IACAC. For $50 for an individual and $130 for a corporate membership, we think that it is a small investment that pays back many times over. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • The IACAC has counsel from Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. who can answer member legal questions and can be retained if they don't already have legal representation.
  • The association offers our individual members anonymity when it comes to approaching a regulatory agency or service provider to discuss and solve a problem.
  • The IACAC has a seat at the table for CACMA and other airport entities to reach out on behalf of our members to try to change policy.
  • Our affiliation and close working relationship with the Airforwarders Association means that when we have issues of policy which rise beyond Chicago and to Washington, Brandon Fried and the AfA are there for us.
  • The IACAC has cultivated relationships with the air cargo associations in the other major gateway cities of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Seattle and other key airports. We have the connections to help our members find the right people to solve problems with their import or export cargo in these other markets.

Those are just a few of the reasons that being a member of the IACAC makes good business sense. We hope you'll take a few minutes to renew your membership today or join the IACAC.

Presidents Letter: December, 2017

To begin, I would like to say thank you to all the members of the IACAC who participated in our election and by-law amendment vote earlier this month. We are extremely fortunate to have a group of people who are vested in the continuing growth and success of the Association. 

The election results are as follows:

  • President - Scott Case
  • Vice President - Christina Aguirre
  • Past President / Chairman of the Board - Brian Bartolotta
  • Directors - Olya Lebedyeva, Chuck Menini
  • Officer - Therese O'Sullivan

We also made a number of technical changes to the by-laws, including making the Presidency a two-year term. Speaking as someone who is completing one year as President, I can tell you I do not feel like I've accomplished everything I set out to do and am looking forward to continuing our education and networking in 2018.

Holiday luncheon and scholarship winners

I am extremely excited that we will have two scholarship winners each receiving $1,500 from the IACAC at our holiday luncheon on Tuesday, December 12th. If you've not made your reservation already, go here and do so. 

Congratulations to Jordan Brown (daughter of current IACAC Board Member Laura Candella) and Alex Schneller whose father works for Land Air Express. Laura will be in finals and cannot attend, but Alex will be joining us in person.

If you want to read their winning entries, click here to download Jordan's submission and click here to download Alex's.

2018 calendar - early entries

We're planning an active first quarter next year of a activities. We're going to take a pass on a January luncheon, but instead will hold a networking event either the evening of January 16th or 17th. Stay tuned for details. In February, we are planning a luncheon, possibly with the TSA as our guests on Tuesday, February 13th. In March, we'll have a few months of living with Electronic Logging Devices (ELD's) under our belt and plan to talk ELD's at our usual monthly luncheon. We'll also have the annual March Madness / St. Patrick's Day event on Thursday evening, March 15th. Finally, we're planning an outing to a Chicago Wolves game later in March as well - stay tuned for the date for that one as well.

This is a mix of educational stuff along with a chance to get out and network with your air cargo professionals. We are also going to be actively asking our members and interested companies to sponsor the networking events - they make them free to attend for our members and guests.

2018 membership renewals

As we turn the calendar, we also want to remind everyone that it is time to renew your membership. Be sure to log into the site first and then select "Renew Corporate" or "Renew Individual" and follow the necessary steps. We'll also be asking our holiday party attendees to make it easy and renew their memberships for 2018 while they're enjoying the day of festivities. We thank everyone for your membership in 2017 and are looking forward to a concerted effort to further grow our membership in 2018. 

President’s Letter: November, 2017

Happy fall, everyone! Last month I had the pleasure to travel and represent the issues of Chicago as well as the air freight community at large in a few different places. I was in Los Angeles where I met with Katie Griley of Griley Air Freight who is leading a local committee investigating the issues of congestion at LAX. She shares many of the same challenges and concerns that we have in Chicago, so it was great to get some ideas from her that we might be able to put to use. I also attending the annual WESCCON event held by the Pacific Coast Council. I saw a number of people from Chicago at the event and it was a great time. 

One of the panels I attended featured speakers from BIS, CBP and an attorney who cautioned that enforcement actions under the current administration for export violations are trending upwards. In short? If you're filing export information via AES, remember that as soon as you send a transmission to the government with incorrect information, even if you amend it later it could be construed as a violation for a false declaration. 

In early October, I also chaired a meeting at American Airlines Cargo of a number of truckers, airlines, forwarders and a lone ground handler to talk about getting ready for the busy Q4 air cargo shipping season. This discussion, coupled with our participation at CACMA and some discussions I had with other air cargo association leaders and airport leadership at the TIACA Executive Summit in Miami is giving me pause for thought on ways to deal with the challenges we're facing here in Chicago. I don't want 2018 to be more of the same and have a few things in mind for concrete steps to take to move the discussion forward. Stay tuned.

Elections: Vote for your IACAC board and by-laws changes on Tuesday, November 14th.

The IACAC are holding our annual officer elections Tuesday, November 14th. At this meeting we will also be voting on a few by-laws changes which you can read in this post here. If you are a regular member in good standing, either individual or corporate, do not forget to vote. We would love if you would join us in person at the Wyndham next week at 11:15, but if you can't attend, download an absentee ballot here and send it to Brian Bartolotta by next Monday - his information is on the ballot.

Holiday luncheon is December 12th - bring a raffle item. Bring a toy. Bring a friend.

We love to get together and celebrate at the holiday season with our membership and it serves as an additional opportunity to raise money for our Scholarship Fund as well as contribute to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.

This year, we're doing something additional and are asking IACAC members who want to have a donation box dropped in their office to email Maureen Schmitt at Mallory Alexander and she will happily arrange for the drop and pick from your facility. Let's extend our reach this year to help out kids who otherwise wouldn't have much to celebrate with this holiday season.

Registration is open and we'll see you at Belevedere Events & Banquets on Tuesday, December 12th.

Membership renewals kick off soon.

We can't believe it is November, either, and this year we are getting a jump on our membership renewal process at the holiday luncheon. It'll be online in the next few weeks, but when you attend our luncheon, you'll have a chance to renew for 2018 right there on the spot. We hope as an organization that we are delivering the value that you expect for your membership in terms of events, information, education and networking and look forward to everyone joining us again in 2018. 

A personal thank you.

This year has been a wonderful experience representing the IACAC and leading a tremendous group of men and women who volunteer their time, their knowledge and themselves to do things on behalf of the group. This group succeeds because of the right mix of veteran leadership and new blood. We are hoping next year that the efforts we put in at our networking events and the outreach to former members and groups like airlines and ground handlers continues to bear fruit as we diversify and expand our board and the reach and success of the IACAC.

Notice of vote on by-laws changes at annual meeting November 14, 2017.

Notice is hereby given in accordance with Article 8, Section A of the by-laws of The International Air Cargo Association of Chicago of proposed changes to the by-laws which are to be voted on in conjunction with our annual election meeting held this year on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the Wyndham Garden Elk Grove Village, 2550 Landmeier Rd., Elk Grove Village beginning at 11:15 AM.

The Board of Directors has proposed by-laws changes per the attachment which can be downloaded at this link.

We are proposing several nominal changes including:

• Clarifying that serving board members who leave their member companies must secure a new membership, either corporate or individual within thirty days.

• Removing "telefax, email, telegraph or in writing” and replacing it with the phrase “electronic means or by phone”.

• Adding a section clarifying attendance requirements for board members and what can precipitate the removal of a board member for non-attendance.

• Changing the Presidency from a one-year to a two-year term.

We would like to take a moment to recognize the work of Herman Ruiz who passed away earlier this year for his work on the by-laws. Herman never had the opportunity to see the work he was doing come to fruition, but we wanted to be sure to mention his diligence on the topic during his last years serving on our board.

A red-lined copy of the by-laws changes can be seen here.

The by-laws changes can be enacted by a majority vote of the members present at the meeting on November 14th.

We encourage all members to come out and vote not only for the 2018 Board, but also to vote on these by-laws changes.

President’s Letter: October, 2017

As you saw from the cover picture, we had a great time at Church Street Brewing Company for our networking event. I was unable to make it due to a commitment at my eldest daughter's school, but those who were there reported having a great time. If you didn't go check out the pictures, visit the Facebook gallery. Like the page as well - we post our events there for people to see and share.

Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico

I have no words for the people suffering the effects of the three hurricanes which have struck the US mainland and Caribbean. Hardest hit was Puerto Rico and the health and safety dangers are real as people are getting by without electricity, clean drinking water and food. If you feel it in your heart to donate, Business Insider had a very good list of Puerto Rican charities who can benefit from your donation of money or supplies and are working to get them to those affected, which is the entire island territory.

Out & About: Freighters World Conference and WESCCON.

This week, I attended the Freighters World Conference in Chicago as a guest of the presenting sponsor. As it turns out, I was volunteered and asked to participate in a forwarder panel as well with representatives from Dachser and Flexport. It was an honor to represent the IACAC at this very prestigious, global event held downtown at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue.

Not only was I there waving the flag, but long-time IACAC members Ken Ryan and Sharon Roman were there representing their companies who were sponsors, Quick Caller and Rockford International Airport. Also attending were Caroline Pappas from AirBridge and Gina Summerford of Cargolux. Cargolux took home some hardware at the awards dinner on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Shawn McWhorter of NCA was on an airline panel talking about the unique challenges of freighter airlines.

In October, Brian Bartolotta and I will both be at WESCCON where I was asked to participate in a panel representing the view of forwarders. I'll also be attending the TIACA Executive Summit in Miami.

Don't forget to apply for the Scholarship!

We put it in The Pallet and I'll remind everyone again here: This. Is. Free. Money. If your company (or you, the individual) are members of the IACAC, immediate family members are eligible to submit an application for consideration. We require a copy of the applicant's transcript, a completed application and written responses to three essay questions. The deadline is the end of October and we'll be reminding everybody throughout the month. Winners will be announced at the Holiday Luncheon in December.

The rest of the 2017 calendar (for now).

We've got a few more events planned before the end of the year, but stay tuned because we can always try to sneak something additional on to the calendar before all is said and done.

  • October 10th - Monthly luncheon. We're all tired of congestion at the airport and we're going to hear from someone who thinks they have a solution. We need to think ahead, we need to imagine being ready to load and unload before the truck is even backed in. We're talking congestion avoidance. We're at the Holiday Inn. Register today here.
  • November 14th - Elections! The IACAC elections take place in accordance with our by-laws on the second Tuesday in November. If you're interested in running for one of the available positions for a two-year term, please contact Brian Bartolotta for more information and to put your name into consideration.
  • December 12th - IACAC Holiday Luncheon. We'll be at Belvedere Banquets again collecting donations for Toys for Tots and looking for raffle prizes. Mark your calendars.




President’s Letter: September, 2017

In The Pallet for this month, I led off with the extremely serious issue of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation of the storm. There is no one in America's fourth largest city who has gone unaffected by this and people will be dealing with the physical, emotional and property recovery for years to come.

We have reached out to our sister air cargo association in Houston to ask if we can be of assistance in any way. As a board we will discuss if there is a donation or contribution that we can make to a charitable or local organization.

If you are looking to help yourself, I would personally recommend any of these national or local organizations:

  • The American Red Cross:
  • Team Rubicon:
  • Houston Food Bank:
  • Friends for Life Animal Shelter:

August event summary:

Our golf outing was an amazing day. We raised a lot of money for our scholarship fund thanks to the generosity of our golfers. We had nearly 110 people golfing and over 140 people at lunch. Thanks to all those who volunteered already to help out next year and mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 7, 2018!

Brian Bartolotta and I also attended the ribbon cutting of Phase 2 of Northeast Cargo featuring a host of dignitaries. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is focused on getting started on the next phase of the development as soon as possible. 

Finally, our educational event for this month was a Q&A with Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans where she shared the O'Hare Modernization Plan and what is planned for runways and passengers. Undaunted, our attendees got to hear what is planned for the airport. A group then boarded a bus as the rain moved in and were fortunate enough to be plane side at the new area, stand on the "X" where the new 9C/27C runway is under construction that will open in 2020 and stand at the end of 22L on some crushable concrete designed to prevent an aircraft from sliding off onto Mannheim Road. 

And for September?

We are planning a networking event the night of September 21st at Church Street Brewing Company. We were there not once, but TWICE last year and are looking very much forward to being back. Our networking events draw a different crowd than our events during the work day, probably because people can leave work and not look back. Mark it down and we'll let you know when registration opens.

We're looking for sponsors of the event as well, so if you're interested, please contact either myself of Brian Bartolotta. You are allowed to feature your name and banner and merchandise at the event, we share the list of attendees for marketing purposes and your name and logo are promoted on our website and social media channels in advance of the event.

Spread the news - the scholarship is open for submissions.

The IACAC Scholarship is the reason we have our golf outing, holiday luncheon and raise money throughout the rest of the calendar year. The deadline for submissions is October 30th, the winners will be announced mid-November and we hope that recipients are able to join us at our holiday luncheon in December. The scholarship is open to the immediate family of individual and corporate members. For more information and to apply, check out the Scholarship page on our site.