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.
- A new iacac.com 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 www.thechitchatgroup.com.
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.