President’s Letter: July, 2017

As we enter the second half of the year, we're not going to be slowing down with our activities at all. We're going to be social, we're going to be educational, we're going to raise money for a good cause and it all involves you, the air cargo industry here in Chicago. Let's get to it, shall we?

AirCargo 2017 Recap

The AirCargo conference earlier this month in Orlando was extremely educational. Aside from issues about the future of the industry for forwarders, this was a great chance to learn about airports and what they're doing to cope with the growth of cargo in their facilities as well. Adam Rod was there and shared his presentation that we all saw earlier this year at a luncheon. What I found to be extremely interesting was this slide that Dan Muscatello put forth of what the "Airport of the Future" would look like. It takes into account a slew of entities who would use a new airport including passenger, cargo, trucks, drones, (yes, I said drones), lighter-than-air vehicles and others. If there was an opportunity to build an airport in a green space, this one looks like it.

Elon Musk is a genius or a loon. I vote genius.

Greg Hinz, the political reporter for Crain's Chicago Business, reported this week about an idea that Elon Musk has to speed people between O'Hare and the Loop...below ground. Musk envisions tunneling and creating tubes with sleds and smaller public transport cars that would make their way between the airport and downtown at speeds approaching 125 miles per hour. He's got a tunneling company called, I'm not kidding, The Boring Company, who are able to do it faster and for less money with newly-designed boring technology.

Here's an idea of how they envision alleviating congestion with passenger vehicles under a city. Why go up when you can go down? He may be crazy, but he founded and sold Paypal and has two of the most successful companies in Tesla and SpaceX out there right now - so he's certainly got the credibility.

Events, events, events:

  • Next one is on July 11th - Tim O'Donnell is going to discuss retirement - if you're close, are you ready? If you've got some time still, how are you preparing? If you're starting Now. Register here.
  • We're planning another networking event, this time July 20th. We'll be back at MB At the Park in Rosemont for their Thursday night concert series - stay tuned and watch this space for more.
  • The Golf Outing! C'mon - you can't miss this. Mark your calendars - August 15th this year. As we've said, we're a week later than usually, but we're still spot-on for the fun and excitement. Have you booked your foursome yet? No? Then get registered today!
  • The Ginger Evans Q&A and bus tour are going to be awesome. We rescheduled to the end of August so we didn't conflict with the CCBFA golf outing in July. We wish we could pack a bunch of buses, but we'll only have the one. However, we'll be serving continental breakfast at the Q&A and that's free and there are no limit on the number of attendees.

Rent going up for cargo tenants at ORD.

This story also broke earlier this week and is one that we'll need to watch as we get into the latter half of 2017. Rents which were at rates that hadn't been seen for decades and were negotiated in the 80's are going up for all the cargo carriers at the buildings on the airport. How low?

For instance, O'Hare Buildings 613 and 663 on the airport's southern end have 1973 leases with ground rental rates of just 35 cents per square foot. Nearby Building 609 charged 12 cents under a 1986 lease.

We already know how the ground handlers managing these warehouses staff, charge and operate, and if anybody starts to see signs of exponentially increased fees for services, we ask that they contact us immediately. The operators should've been pocketing the money they were ahead and if they look to make it all back from the air cargo community, we'll certainly be providing them feedback on that business plan.

President’s Letter: June, 2017

My apologies for not getting out a letter last month. The months of April ended and May began with me attending the CNS Partnership Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was an amazing event and I saw some people from Chicago in attendance representing forwarders, airlines and other companies who do business here.

I've likened CNS to the JOC's TPM Asia conference for air freight, if there was contract signing that happened at TPM in Long Beach earlier in the calendar year.

The takeaway from CNS is that air freight, and air cargo, is alive, well and healthy. It is undergoing a substantive change with the advent of "digitization". At the end of the day, though, while processes can be automated and more data is being captured that leads to increased accuracy and greater compliance, it is still about people solving complex problems and devising ways to take advantage of the changing buying trends and market conditions.

The second of the major air cargo conferences takes place starting this weekend in the annual AirCargo conference. We've been promoting it here in Chicago for the past several months and both Brian and I will be in attendance as well as other members of the Chicago air cargo community. A featured speaker will again be Adam Rod from the Department of Aviation who we have to thank for our July outing.

May networking event success.

We posted a gallery of the pictures from our "Cuatro de Mayo" event held at Adobe Gila's earlier this month and from the nearly fifty people in attendance, the general feeling is that events like this, mixed with our educational luncheons, is a great way for people to network and draws a different audience who cannot always get away from their office during the work day. 

June event - The importance of networks. July is locked in as well.

This month, IACAC member Allan Zarach of Edward J. Zarach & Associates will be our speaker on June 13th at the Wyndham. Allan will speak on the importance of belonging to a freight forwarding network. Allan's company has multiple offices and are in multiple networks, each of which offers a distinct benefit. Not all networks fit all companies, so Allan's advice and tips will be welcome for our audience.

For July, have we got an event planned. With all thanks and props to Adam Rod again, we are planning a meeting with Department of Aviation leadership and then boarding a bus for a tour inside the fence line of O'Hare International Airport. Registration will close at the end of June because we'll need to get security information completed and submitted. Registration is also capped at the first 30 for the bus tour, but anyone else wishing to join us for the kick-off meeting with Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans and her COO, John Leach, are welcome to attend without RSVP'ing when the event is filled. Stay tuned, we'll let people know when it goes live.

The golf outing blitz will commence shortly - you've been warned.

We're planning on an all-out push starting next month to get attendees and sponsors for the event. We've got some great early-on commitments from organizations for hole sponsors and raffle prizes. Remember, this is one of our two big annual events that raises money for our annual scholarships. Attend, donate and spend profligately - you'll help out a member's child who could use money for college.

IACAC housekeeping issues - stay tuned.

With the passing of Herman Ruiz earlier this year, we have a spot on our board available for a non-voting director. Prior to Herman's passing, we were also working on a number of changes to the by-laws of the organization that would update them for our current constituency of members as well as modern business practices (there might be reference to telexes / SITA messages and telegrams, I can't precisely remember). But the by-laws dictate that we notify members in advance of a regular meeting of these proposed changes.


Former IACAC President Debby Kopeny and John Boyle, husband of Charlene Boyle, passed away this week

There are things that are not fun to announce, and the past six to eight months have seen us lose many members of our IACAC family. This week, word has reached us on the passage of two more people. Debbie Kopeny was IACAC President in 2006 and passed away this week. This week we also lost John Boyle, the husband of Charlene Boyle who served as President in 1991. 

There are no arrangements at this time for John, but we do have information on Debby's services:

Debby Kopeny Funeral Arrangements:


Saturday, May 20th, from 3 - 9 PM with a 7 PM funeral service.

Sax-Tiedemann Funeral Home & Crematorium

9568 Belmont Ave.

Franklin Park, IL 60131

In lieu of flowers, a memorial to St. Jude is requested.

Here is the link to her obituary.

President’s Letter: April, 2017

No fooling around here - we're all business at the IACAC. (Yeah, right - we're in air cargo - who would believe that line for a SECOND?)

In all seriousness, welcome to the second quarter of the year. Good, grief, the first one went by quickly, albeit free of major snow here in the Chicago area. For the first time in 146 years of recorded meteorological history, there was not more than a trace amount of snow in January or February. It's probably why when we get some rain or a spate of cloudy weather like we've got right now that people are so agitated.

This month, I'll be traveling to the NCBFAA's Annual Conference in New Orleans, at the JFK Brokers Association as their featured speaker mid-month and going to the CNS Partnership Conference at the end of April. I'll be reporting back to IACAC whatever interesting tidbits I pick up at those places and hopefully have some photos and videos to share as well.

Coming in April: Talking Tech with Mark Ketcham

Our April luncheon speaker is Mark Ketcham from Riege Software International, a forty-year old software company at the forefront of many of the initiatives with IATA on their eAWB campaigns. More than air, their products are also used in sea freight and throughout global forwarder operations for Customs brokerage in Europe as well. Mark has spent most of his career in the technology side of forwarding and is looking forward to sharing his perspective on the near term and far-flung possibilities of what we as an industry will be using in future.

Join us Tuesday, April 11th at the Wyndham. Click here to register.

Save the date: Cuatro de Mayo Networking Event

We're putting the finishing touches on the details, but we're planning to head to Adobe Gila's in Rosemont on Thursday night, May 4th. So...May the Fourth be with you as well! #starwars #skypoint If your company is interested in being a sponsor for what we hope is our biggest event yet, please contact me at scott (at) More to come in the coming weeks!

IACAC sponsorships always available.

We're sincerely appreciative of our sponsors, both in The Pallet and on our website. If your company wants to reach an ever-expanding network of air cargo professionals, consider becoming a sponsor (and a member) if you're not already. Check out this page for more information.

President’s Letter: March, 2017

Happy March, everyone. It is a pleasure to serve as your President and want to thank you again for the trust you put in your 2017 IACAC board. There are a number of things that I'd like to mention this month for everyone's consideration.

Passing of two IACAC Presidents.

We are saddened by the passing this month of Vid Rapsys and Herman Ruiz, Jr. Vid served as IACAC President twice, in 1968 and in 1975. Herman served as President in 2009 and was a current member of the 2017 board of directors. Both men have a long and distinguished career in the Chicago air cargo community and are to be remembered for their great works and contributions to our community. 

Membership - Have you renewed?

If you've not renewed your membership from 2016, what are you waiting for? You'll lose out on our Vendor Partnerships that are being rolled out this month as well as the chance for family members or employees to submit an application for an IACAC Scholarship. We are working hard to make membership something that brings education, networking and helps companies see and receive value for their investments. Join the IACAC for 2017 and help us represent the air cargo community in Chicago with as wide a participation as possible.

March Madness and the April luncheon

Put them on your calendar, but registration is open for our March Madness event, sponsored by PayAnyBiz. Come out and join us for a free evening of tournament basketball and friendship at the Wyndham on Thursday night, March 16th. We ask that you RSVP so we can have a count to make sure the food is in plentiful supply.

On April 11th, (registration opening soon), we're featuring Mark Ketcham of Riege Software International who will be presenting to the group on technology changes and platforms that are aiding forwarders and the air cargo sector. There are no shortage of pricing platforms, rate aggregators and tracking systems, but what do they all mean and how do they fit together? Mark will help us understand what is out there and what makes sense for a forward to have in their office.

IACAC Golf Outing August 15th - Sponsorships available.

We are fortunate that our golf outing is one of the best attended events on the Chicago calendar among air cargo professionals. We have had several amazing years of turnout and participation at the Bridges of Poplar Creek and are planning the same for this year.

If your company is interested in reaching a wide audience of airlines, forwarders, truckers and others who support and work in air cargo, there are opportunities across many financial levels to participate. For more information and to become a sponsor, visit our IACAC Golf Outing page  to learn more.

Obituary: Vid Rapsys

We learned today that IACAC President in 1968, Vid Rapsys, passed away last weekend. On a personal note, he worked at Kintetsu alongside my father back in the 70's. I remember Vid by name and reputation even if I don't remember him by face. Visitation and services are this weekend.

Vidmantas "Vid" Rapsys Died February 19, 2017, in his home in Naperville, IL, ten days short of his 77th birthday. Lived long years in Chicago and Downers Grove, IL, and lately by Paw Paw lake, Coloma, MI. He was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, on Feb. 29, 1940--a Leap year baby. Vid and his family came to the United States in 1949, after witnessing the horrors of WWII in Germany. The family settled in Chicago, where two uncles and an aunt awaited them. Vid graduated in 1958 from the prestigious Marianapolis Academy in Thompson, Connecticut, then attended the Illinois Institute of Technology for two years. Vid was a pioneer in the then emerging air cargo industry. He started his career in 1960 with Circle Airfreight Corp. in Chicago. Later, also in Chicago, he worked many years for the Japanese corporate giant Kintetsu, as chief air cargo representative in the United States. He also supervised air cargo agents in West Germany, Hong Kong and South Africa. In 1973 Vid almost singlehandedly set up the highly successful Kintetsu pavilion at the international air cargo expo at Navy Pier. In 1977 he opened his own air cargo agency: Amber Air International, Ltd., with warehouses and offices next to O'Hare airport in Rosemont, IL. His air freight ranged from small packages of life-saving drugs to gigantic machinery for gold mines. He was a member of the International Air Cargo Ass'n of Chicago and Rotary Int'l, under whose auspices he was invited to lecture on air cargo themes worldwide. In business travel alone, he visited more than 60 countries. For a time, he worked enthusiastically with Boy Scout troops in Chicago and was a graduate of the renowned Gilwell program for Scout leaders. (He became a Cub Scout in Germany, back in 1946.) Vid was also a lifelong golf enthusiast. Visitation Friday, February 24, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Petkus & Son Funeral Home, 12401 S. Archer Ave., Lemont, IL. (1-800-994-7600).

After 11:00 a.m. funeral Mass on Saturday, February 25, Divine Savior Church, 6700 Main St., Downers Grove, IL, Vid will be laid to rest next to his wife, Anne Dunne, and his parents in the St. Casimir's Cemetery, 111th St. and Pulaski Rd., Chicago. Surviving in grief are son, Vidmantas Thomas and family (wife, Laura, son, Michael, daughter, Jessica); son, Ryan; brother, R. John Rapsys; nephews, Anthony Rapsys and family, Aldis Rapsys; niece and goddaughter, Ramona (Rapsys) Toner and family; nephews, Ryan and Robin Rapsys and their families; nephews, Steven and Brian Krieger and their families; niece, Laura Krieger; three cousins in Michigan; and two cousins in Lithuania.

Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Feb. 23, 2017

Miami in March – CNS hosting events March 1st through 3rd

If you're looking for a reason to escape winter and find some sun (although thankfully after today we're starting to get some again), head down to the offices of Cargo Network Services, the US arm of IATA, for some tech meetings March 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Everybody but forwarders: March 1st & 2nd, these days are for you (ground handlers, truckers, airlines, etc.). Their words:

This session is providing an interactive opportunity to learn and implement best practices on data accuracy and efficient transmissions of electronic messages. Review of most common errors versus the correct completion of the electronic documents.

You will be hearing from subject matter experts and global industry leaders from government agencies, airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers, trucking companies and Cargo Community Systems (CCS), on data quality processes, connections challenges being faced and also how to incorporate new industry players in eCargo.

Forwarders: March 3rd is your day to learn about eAWB and data quality. There are two sessions, from 9 - 12 and 2 - 5. 

As we've said, we know that nobody can go it alone in air cargo and it is important to work with other local or national entities to help our industry. I'll be moderating one of the panels on trucking on March 2nd, so if you're coming from Chicago, you won't be alone.

For more information and to register, check out the landing page on the CNS website or you can download the eAWB flier at this link.

President’s Letter: February, 2017

The best thing I can say about February is that football ends this weekend and pitchers and catchers report later this month. We made it out the other end of what has been an absolutely dreary January for weather and complete and utter sunshine deprivation, but I'm cautiously optimistic that spring will be here before we know it.

January was a great month for the Association and I want to share with you what has transpired and what we've got an eye on in the weeks and months ahead.

What's our role?

This is something that the board has discussed on how we as the IACAC fit into the air cargo and international trade community here in Chicago. We feel that the the job that the CCBFA does on focusing on issues impacting Customs brokers, ocean freight forwarders and the import process is exemplary. We have partnered with them on a number of initiatives and will continue to do so into 2017 and beyond.

The place that seems best for us are the infrastructure and customer service issues in and around the airport. The deepening relationship with the Chicago Department of Aviation, as well as the national connections we have made at airlines and handling companies will allow us to work to improve conditions in and around the airport.

Administration change and trade.

With the arrival of a new administration comes new opinions on leadership and policy. I think that in the initial flurry of activity we have seen since the inauguration, our industry must be very carefully balanced on eagerly anticipating the potential benefits of reduced tax and regulatory burdens while watching for potential protectionist trade policies. While the focus may be on imposing burdens on imports, trade is bilateral, and we should fully anticipate that barriers America places on foreign goods coming in should expect the same treatment for our exports going out.

Joint meeting with CDOA, CNS, IACAC.

Lionel Van Der Walt, the head of Cargo Network Services (CNS) in the USA, came to Chicago at the end of January. The IACAC brokered a meeting with him and key members of the Chicago Department of Aviation, including CDOA COO John Leach and Director of Planning (and friend of the association) Adam Rod. Lionel shared some of what CNS has in store and are looking forward to forging relationships with local airports to focus on the importance of cargo to the average airline passenger who might otherwise be unaware of the important commerce traveling beneath their feet or over their heads (for those who live around airports). This will be an ongoing project that may result in some co-branded materials and other awareness pieces, but it is an interesting partnership and opportunity to be certain.

Upcoming events, activities and opportunities.

We had a great January kick-off luncheon for 2017 and are hoping to continue with a very active schedule of events. Among the things we discussed were:

  • Philanthropic activities
  • Greater focus on education, scholarship and opportunities
  • More evening social events so people can leave their offices and not have to come back.
  • Women-only events and activities.
  • Potential tours of the airport and surrounding facilities
  • Furthering and adding vendor partnerships to give our members the feeling that they're getting back what they invested (and more) in an IACAC membership.

Speaking of membership...

Join! Renew! We want you back (and want you in the first place). Membership is extremely affordable, and will provide access to a members-only area of the site which will offer links to vendor partners and opportunities to save your company money while supporting the IACAC. For individuals, the membership is only $50.00 per year; a corporate membership is for up to three people and is $130.00/year. Don't miss the chance to participate. Click the link to join or renew your membership online, or download and mail your application and payment by check today.

President’s Letter: January, 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! As my tenure as the President of the IACAC begins, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and talk about what I hope will happen in 2017 for the IACAC.

My name is Scott Case, and I am the President of Position : Global, a company that is focused on marketing and branding for companies in the logistics sector. I was fortunate to have been selected to design the new IACAC website several years ago and served on the Board of Directors last year. It is a pleasure to serve the Association as your President and I look forward to building on the work of the past Presidents.

2017 Events:

We are going to continue to build on the success of educational, social and professional networking events that took place in 2016. We are planning our usual series of luncheons, most of which will be held on the second Tuesday of the month. January will be an outlier because of the way the calendar is falling with everyone getting back to work and school winter vacations. We'll be on Tuesday, January 17th, so watch this space for more information.

We'll of course have our March Madness event, as well as our golf outing and holiday luncheon. There is the potential to add other events, such as bowling in Rosemont, a Wolves game or reprising some fun summer nights spent at Church Street Brewing Company.

Scholarship and giving back:

We recently learned about the young woman who won the IACAC Scholarship at Harper College this year. In the late 90's, the Association endowed a chair with nearly $10,000 in donations. We'll be telling her story in a post later this month, but what's important to know is that we are focused on scholarship this year, both our own and the ones we've endowed at Northwestern, Harper and Oakton. We are also working to create a separate 501(c)(3) charitable organization to pursue greater opportunities to raise more money to award students looking to continue their education.

Vendor partnerships to benefit IACAC members:

We value our members who spend their time to come to our events and be involved. We know it is commitment of both time and money, and want to make sure that we are delivering value. This is why in 2017 we are focused on identifying companies who serve the air cargo community and securing agreements that provide services, offer discounts or other considerations exclusive to our membership. We will have one such announcement later this month that is important for anyone who works with hazardous materials. Stay tuned.

Join or renew for 2017 today!

We'll be beating the drum for this, but with all these exciting things coming this year, don't miss out! Membership is only $50 for individuals and $130 for corporations with up to three votes and points of contact. You can do it online or do it on paper. Either way, do it today!