This annual event is put on by four associations. I serve as a board member for one of them, the Airforwarders Association. It is a pleasure to not only serve on the board, but also to be one of seven women on a fifteen person board which is comprised of professionals from across the air cargo supply chain.
Along with one of my fellow board members, I have been the co-planner for the Women’s Networking Event, an event which continues to draw more attendees each year as the conference kicks off. We heard this year from a remarkable speaker from Washington, Kristina Tanisichuk, who shared her perspectives and tips for career women in the logistics industry.
The opening keynote was courtesy of Pete Mento, a Harvard educated industry thought-leader who also spent time as a writer for Saturday Night Live. Pete shared his perspective on what America does best – we innovate. In Pete’s words, “If we can get out of our own way, America can own the innovation economy for the next two or three generations.” He also strongly advocated that students be taught skills and not theory, because skills are what will win the day in the future.
Along with Pete’s thought-provoking keynote were panels on e-Commerce, something we do a fair amount of here at RIM and the challenges of moving to smaller and smaller packages at facilities like airports that were built for pallet loads instead.
There was an SSI-session where the Transportation Security Administration answered questions from the audience about the security programs we adhere to and a conversation about airport congestion. Airport congestion was an important topic moving into the final day as well where a panel discussed the perils of contracting in the environment of reduced trucking capacity and ELD deployment.
Finally, there was a great session on giving at-risk youth a chance in the workplace. Speakers from a number of programs that train young people for placement in the workforce spoke, as well as a Chicago-based recruiter who specializes in logistics. One audience member from a major domestic airline shared a story of how a young person with these life experiences made a suggestion that was put to use in Newark and how he is now mentoring that person. It was a touching, thoughtful story.
The number of ideas and tips I picked up and plan to bring back to discuss and implement with our teams will help RIM be a better logistics provider for our customers as well as be a better workplace for each other. I look forward to deploying them and sharing our successes in the future.
-Sandy Gregory, Director of Trade & Compliance