President’s Letter: September, 2019

It's been a few months since I've written - or since a Pallet has been published. We have a commitment here at the IACAC to keep our members informed and engaged and while we've been busy with programming and utilizing other channels to communicate, we've neglected the blog and The Pallet. Please accept my apologies for that and know that we're back on track as we enter the fall.

It's been an active year of programming, both with our luncheons and our networking events. We recently concluded the golf outing last month which raised a ton of money for our scholarship fund and had record participation from golfers, sponsors and lunch attendees. We're humbled by the support the community shows this event every year and the increasing participation only reinforces that we're providing a fun venue for golfers, sponsors and everyone to get together and enjoy a wonderful day on the links.

The programming isn't abating as we enter the final quarter of this year, either. We've got a bunch of great stuff in the pipeline including a luncheon next Tuesday covering the important and impactful issue of legalized marijuana in the workplace, our annual Oktoberfest event at Church Street Brewing, elections in November and our annual holiday luncheon in December.

Along the way, we're dealing with the increasing uncertainty of Brexit in Europe and the ratcheting up of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China with another few rounds of duty increases coming on October 1st and December 15th. On the bright side, there might be hope of a US - Japan bilateral trade agreement to be announced in the next month or two - so there is hope.

Stay tuned for continued programming announcements - we're trying to finalize October's luncheon / member event which will be a tour of the International Postal Facility. The date is TBD and the spots will be very limited - but we'll be sure to communicate when registration opens. The tour will also require submission of a copy of either a driver's license or passport - CBP's rule, not ours.

President’s Letter: December, 2018

Seasons Greetings, everyone.

As we bring down the curtain on 2018, I have to say thank you to a remarkable group of people - your IACAC Board of Directors - who worked tirelessly through the year to make this one of our most successful in recent memory. We cranked out an amazing number of events and membership is on the rise - and this is all thanks to them and their hard work.

2018 events:

  • Punch Bowl Social Networking Event
  • February Luncheon
  • March Luncheon
  • March Madness Networking Event
  • March Chicago Wolves Networking Event
  • April Luncheon with Mike White, CNS
  • May Luncheon
  • June Luncheon
  • July Luncheon
  • July Picnic in the Park
  • August Golf Outing
  • September luncheon
  • September Oktoberfest
  • October Luncheon with Brandon Fried
  • November luncheon
  • December Holiday luncheon

That's a pretty substantive list of activities when you go back and look at it - and we're not slowing down in 2019.

Speaking of 2019 - have you renewed your membership yet? With a near-record attendance of ninety people at the luncheon, the overwhelming majority raised their hands as members. Thank you for your membership in 2018 - but with the change of the calendar you need to join again next year. Please visit here to renew for 2019.

Scholarship winners

At our holiday luncheon (did you check out the gallery) we gave out four scholarships. Congratulations to Jordan Brown, Eric Ripley, Grace Gadow and Vincent DiVenere. If you click here you can download all four winning essays in a single .pdf file. The scholarship, which is open to IACAC members and their families, is another way we give back to our members. We awarded more than $7,000 in scholarships this year - money raised from our holiday party and golf outing.

Board of director elections

Congratulations to Ben Pecoraro of Basic Crating & Packaging who was elected to the board in our November elections. Ben is our newest voting board member along with Pamela DeSalvo and Maureen Schmitt who were re-elected. Therese O'Sullivan was also elected as a non-voting board member.

A big thank you to outgoing board members Chris Aguirre, Laura Candella and Treasurer Mike Cohen. We are thankful for your contributions over the past years to the Association.

2019 events - mark your calendar

On Thursday evening, January 17th, we're kicking off the year with a networking event at Punch Bowl Social in Schaumburg. It's free for members, $25.00 for non-members. Registration is open now. Thanks to MSA Security who are one of our first sponsors for the event!

On Tuesday, February 19th, our first luncheon will feature a team from K2 Solutions, Inc., a provider of canine teams certified by TSA to perform screening in Certified Cargo Screening Facilities. We're working to get representation from TSA as well. This will not be an SSI-session, but will be a good chance for companies to familiarize themselves with how the canine screening process can work for IAC's and determine if it is a worthwhile investment for their companies.

President’s Letter: November, 2018

As I teased in The Pallet, November's a big month for voting. On the first Tuesday of the month, we vote for state and federal candidates. On the second Tuesday of the month, we vote for board positions for the IACAC. It is humbling to see new faces running for the board - it tells us that the energy the group is generating makes people want to be part of it and advance us even further. We are fortunate to have guidance, advice and support from many past presidents and board members - and what those people have to say and offer is extremely valuable and informs us as we debate and consider new opportunities for our members.

The annual election luncheon will be held Tuesday, November 13th, at the Department of Aviation. We encourage all our members to attend not just to network, but to meet our candidates, all of whom will be speaking and presenting themselves at the event. If you can't make the event in person but are a member in good standing of the IACAC, you can vote for the candidates by absentee ballot.

All you need to register for the luncheon or download and submit your ballot can be found right here.

December Holiday Luncheon

Mark your calendars for Tuesday - December 11th - a little over a month from now - to join us for our annual Holiday Luncheon at Belvedere Events & Banquets in Elk Grove Village. As always, we encourage everyone to bring an unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots collection that IACAC Board Member (and Marine) Maureen Schmitt arranges. Please also bring items that we can raffle off to raise money for our Scholarship Fund. Tickets are a very affordable $35 for members and non-members alike and we encourage everyone to join us and participate. Registration is open for the luncheon at this link.

IACAC Board On The Road - TIACA and WESCCON

Chuck Menini and I were both in Toronto for TIACA's Air Cargo Forum 2018 - it was extremely informative and gave us a few great ideas for topics to have for our upcoming luncheons, including UAV's and explosive-sniffing dogs. Along with this were very interesting sessions, some of which are available on TIACA's Periscope page that were live-streamed or by going back through TIACA's Twitter feed from those few days. 

If you're interested in hearing what Chuck and I had to say, why not check out this video from the IACAC Facebook page? 

I was also fortunate enough to score an interview with TIACA's Secretary General Vladimir Zubkov. That video is also on the IACAC Facebook page - but go ahead and use this direct link.

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Brian Bartolotta was exhibiting at WESCCON and the word everybody was buzzing about was tariffs and what it has meant for importers as well as freight forwarders.

Join us (or join us again) in 2019

We are very excited to be kicking off membership renewals for 2019. We have plenty of great things planned for 2019 including members-only events, discounts and service offerings from vendors who want your business. We're extremely affordable at only $130 for a corporate membership and $50 for an individual membership. Don't wait - renew today.

President’s Letter: October, 2018

It is a sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to write this column every month. Despite having left the transactional side of the business now six year ago, the degree to which I remain involved in the day-to-day issues that affect the industry is amazing and wonderful. I stand by my firm belief that there are fewer industries where we rely on each other more - both asset and non-asset owning companies - and where individual friendships and relationships are forged and remain in place for decades. People that fall in love with logistics don't necessarily go to school for it. Maybe they answer an ad, have a friend who ropes them in or have a family member who is already "in it". However people come to it and for whatever reasons they remain, makes me more proud of our industry with each passing day.

London & Brussels calling.

In September, I traveled to the UK and Brussels and had the pleasure to meet and network with people like the publisher of The Loadstar, Alex Lennane and the head of BIFA, Robert Keene. We talked congestion, Brexit and the issues that forwarders deal with on a daily basis and rest assured, they are the same things, just on the other side of the pond.

In Brussels, I spent a day and a half with the amazing Steven Polmans, head of cargo and logistics for Brussels Airport. With a staff of seven, Brucargo has taken a number of steps to alleviate congestion and to work more closely. It took them a number of years, but Air Cargo Belgium is now the group to which everyone belongs and has a paid staff that manages technology, working groups and collaboration and problem / conflict resolution. It is my personal belief that for airport communities to have the success of Brussels, the airports must take the lead as the facilitators. Dedicated staff who act as the mediators, facilitators and advocates are best positioned to represent these groups. 

Brussels also operates Brucloud, a technology platform which companies connect to and is growing through the use of things like slot booking and information sharing. I took a video with Sara van Gelder from Steven's team and it's here on Facebook

It took Brussels seven years and while I hope that here in Chicago and elsewhere it doesn't take that long for us, they've given me a blueprint in my mind for how we can work better together.

Two more events - Elections and our holiday party.

As we move into November and December, we only have two major events remaining on the calendar - our elections which are on Tuesday, November 13th, and our holiday party on Tuesday, December 11th. Please mark your calendars to attend both. Watch for the emails reminding you and providing a chance to register. If you are interested in running for the IACAC board - and I believe we have at least four, possibly five declared candidates as of this writing, we welcome your engagement and participation.

Membership renewals coming for 2019 - and get the rest of 2018 if you join now!

In November you will start to see an earnest push for membership - whether getting our 2018 members to renew, getting former members back or finding companies and individuals to join us for the first time next year. The IACAC is making internal improvements to increase the value of membership in our organization. I personally promise that while you may have seen benefits of membership to date, it will ramp up even further next year.

September, 2018 President’s Letter

As we enter the final quarter of the year, we're all wondering what the peak will look like this year. There is, of course, the usual reliable shipments of new consumer electronics such as the latest offerings from Apple and other tech companies, the holiday toys that make an impact and the exponential year-on-year increases in eCommerce packages that are changing the composition of forwarders consolidations.

Here in Chicago, with the announcement that Mayor Emanuel will not seek re-election, we wonder what things will look like over at the Department of Aviation and whether or not there will be turnover in leadership and what that means for cargo and cargo development.

What we do know is that we will work closely with the city and our airline and ground handling partners to ensure that we have an open dialog for staffing and service and if issues arise, we've got someone to talk to and communicate to our members quickly and effectively.

September luncheon - Kyle Matousek

This one will be a treat. We are normally very focused on industry issues that sometimes we forget what is necessary for our businesses or for our own professional development. Kyle's experiences as a firefighter and in the military position him to talk about leadership from some fairly life-and-death positions. While those who haven't faced that kind of danger cavalierly throw around the term "I nearly died because of 'x'," in Kyle's case this is the literal truth. Register for the event here.

September networking - Oktoberfest!

With thanks to DHL Aviation, AOT Group, Tax Air and TransChicago National Lease, we're going to have a great time on Thursday, September 13th at Church Street Brewing in Itasca. We've got a pretzel truck, we've got Oktoberfest beer and we've got a great night with friends and colleagues. Free for members  - $25.00 for non-members. We'll be offering memberships for 2019 that includes the balance of 2018 - so don't miss a chance to get some value for dollar. Register here.

October luncheon - Brandon Fried

With a pretty key election coming up in November, Brandon's insight sitting just a block and a half away from the White House and the Capitol are always welcome. There are still important things happening in regulatory agencies such as ACAS and the FMCSA taking a look at the Hours of Service issue. Brandon's insight will be welcome and note that he'll be at the Chicago Department of Aviation's facility. Registration is open - click here to get registered now.

Visiting London and Brussels this month

This month I will be traveling to both London and Brussels over the course of a week. In the UK I will be meeting with representatives of BIFA, the British International Forwarders Association. My plan is to talk Brexit, a third runway at Heathrow and how they deal with congestion owing to very tight real estate and ground handling challenges. I hope to meet with a representative of London Airports as well. Across the channel, I'll be meeting with Steve Polmans, head of cargo at Brussels Airport and getting a tour and understanding of a Cargo Community they've created called Brucloud. I hope to speak to several global ground handlers who are in both Brussels and Chicago to find out how they manage and interface with their local air cargo communities to improve productivity and communication. Watch for some trip reports from the road.


President’s Letter: August, 2018

A week ago, the IACAC held our annual golf outing, and I have to say that it was a success. This is thanks to the participation and generosity of our sponsors, golfers and everyone who came out for lunch and brought items to raffle off. We are extremely fortunate to have such an amazing community here in Chicago and words fail me sometimes at how we come out for a cause. We've got the photo gallery here on the site - check it out.

THANK YOU to our hole sponsors:

  • Cathay Pacific
  • Alliance Ground International
  • Fastmore Logistics
  • Midwest Express
  • AirBridge Cargo
  • Air Canada Cargo
  • Charity Golf
  • Land Air Express
  • IAG Cargo
  • Basic Crating & Packaging
  • BCS Placement
  • Riege Software International
  • Avalon Risk Management
  • Heavyweight Air Express
  • Quick Caller

THANK YOU to our course sponsors:

  • Rockford Airport
  • Alliance Ground International
  • Forward Air
  • Rank Transportation
  • Freight Force
  • Cargosprint

THANK YOU to our game sponsors:

  • Longest drive: Archgate TMS
  • Closest to the pin: Cargosprint
  • Longest putt:

THANK YOU to our beverage cart and halfway house drink sponsor:

Alaska Air Cargo

THANK YOU to our airline sponsors who donated tickets or miles:

Air Canada

Alaska Air Cargo


Southwest Cargo

THANK YOU to our golf committee and volunteers - this couldn't have happened without all of you before, during and after the event.

We put together two fliers for the golfers and a raffle thank you sponsor sheet. Download them here and if you won something, drop the sponsor a note and say thanks - it really means a lot and lets them know you appreciate their contribution.

SAVE THE DATE - TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2019 - We'll see you out there.

The money we raise at the golf outing goes to support our IACAC Scholarship which is now open for applications! We set a page up here on the site and will also be sending emails to our members reminding them that immediate family members of both individual and corporate members are eligible to apply. Details are in the application and applicants need to provide a transcript and answer the three essay questions. Applications are due by the end of October, winners will be announced mid-November and we hope they can also join us at our holiday luncheon in December.

If you're looking ahead to what comes next on the calendar - we'll keep you busy at lunch on September the 11th and networking after work on the 13th. Come hear Kyle Matousek speak about the important qualities of leadership - as a former soldier and firefighter, Kyle's well positioned to share what he has learned and has to offer. $25/members, $35/non-members and those without registrations at the door at the Wyndham. On Thursday night, we're at our favorite after-work haunt, Church Street Brewing Company for an Oktoberfest party sponsored by DHL Aviation, AOT Overseas and TransChicago NationaLease. Free for members, $25 for non-members. Come join us for two Oktoberfest beers and complimentary pretzels from Gnarly Knots Pretzel Truck. RSVP here so we know how many will attend - we will not be taking payments at the door so if you're not a member and you plan to attend, registration must be paid in advance.

If you're interested in joining the IACAC Board of Directors, elections are coming up in November - now's the time to ask questions of any of the current board members and see if you would like to join us.


President’s Letter: July, 2018

I'll admit it - having a son who plays football (futbol) means that our house has been gripped by World Cup fever. The tournament has been a tremendous amount of fun to watch, especially given the number of upsets and matches that were decided on shootouts after 120 minutes of hard-fought play. My friend Steve Polmans with Brussels Airport is quite excited about their prospects, especially after knocking out Brazil just today.

We're entering that part of the year when things slow down a bit - people are taking vacations and having the 4th of July sit right smack in the middle of the week meant that people were really dividing-and-conquering with vacations. Some the weekend before and the holiday, some the holiday and the weekend after. It's part of the reason that we put the luncheons on snooze for July and August - people going a bunch of different directions and getting both interest and a full house is a challenge.

This month, we're planning a social event so watch your inbox - it'll be the evening of July 19th in Rosemont - we had a great time last summer taking in a concert and have designs on doing the same again later this month. The featured musical act that night is a Bob Segar tribute band - it promises to be a rocking time for all.

We're also booking quickly for our IACAC Golf Outing - with a month to go until the event we've got nearly all our holes sponsored and golfers filling our foursomes. If you've not registered, the early bird deadline is Monday - what are you waiting for? Sign up today.

Remember - this event benefits our scholarship fund, so we welcome raffle items and donations for our luncheon after golf. We know that your time is valuable and after a great day on the course that the last thing you want to become is a prisoner of the banquet room - so we promise to feed you and get you out the door with a prize and a full stomach as quickly as possible afterwards. Our IACAC Scholarship Fund is also a 501(c)(3) charity and can provide you with a letter for your tax deductible charitable donation.

We covered as well in The Pallet that CBP finally published about ACAS in the Federal Register. Don't miss knowing what that is about because while it is targeted at inbound air cargo right now, there are a number of countries to whom CBP is going to give access to their targeting engine and it may only be a matter of time before we're filing it for export.

That's all from here - thanks for your time and I look forward to seeing you at our events in the coming months.


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.


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: 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.