T he conference theme was “ Staying Relevant in the Final Mile .” And , by all accounts it delivered . It featured 10 hours of workshops and panels and more than 15 hours of pure networking . Participants went home with new contacts , new knowledge and new connections with shippers who specifically came to the conference to connect with new carriers .
Pre-event activities included a golf tournament and a South Beach Culinary and Art Deco Tour .
The conference officially kicked off with something new : A Power Hour presented by CLDA ’ s Diversity & Inclusion Committee . It featured an intimate fireside chat with Ronnie Burns , Founder of QCS Logistics ; George Pillow , Founder of Pillow Logistics and Kelly Picard , CEO of Hackbarth Delivery . All three companies have been involved with the association since its early days . They have been active participants in the association ’ s evolution , shaping its progress over time . Ronnie was the first Black member of the board and is a member of the CLDA Hall of Fame . His son , Jason , is the first Black president of the CLDA . George was a member of the board and his son , Eddie , currently serves on the board . Kelly , also a second-generation board member , co-founded the Diversity & Inclusivity Committee along with Jason . They had a frank discussion about the industry , the changes around diversity and the impact this has had on them and their companies .
Then it was on to the New Attendee Reception and Ambassador Meet & Greet . There first-timers were paired up with their own ambassadors . These experienced members helped those attending the conference for the first time to make the connections they needed to succeed during and after the event . Participants also got some tips on making the most of the conference and other networking events .
The highlight of the New Attendee Reception was an emotional speech by Ohio-based courier Holly Sturgill . She spoke about the dramatic impact her business received when she attended her first Final Mile Forum in 2021 . Although she ’ d been in business for almost 30 years at that time , she hadn ’ t been to a CLDA conference until the 2021 Final Forum . She described that conference and its aftereffects this way : “ That was a huge eye-opener to us . … We made huge alliances and friendships … We found out that everybody here has the same struggles . We were defeated before we came to the CLDA meeting last year . Twenty-twenty was one of the worst years for our business . But after the meeting we reignited our purpose and our future . And this year , we ’ re on pace for the very best year ever . And that ’ s all entirely due to the connections we made here .”
FINAL MILE FORUM & EXPO22
The Shipper Meet & Greet followed the New Attendee Reception . It gave shippers an early opportunity to make connections with the carriers they need to expand their networks . Later in the conference , they were able to link up with carriers at Shipper Roundtables . Many came to the conference looking for ways to round out their capacity in specific geographic areas or in target verticals . Because of the wide representation of those in the industry at the Final Mile Forum , many went home with personal connections that will help them meet the needs of their customers .
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