The Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibition Hall brought all conference participants together . They reconnected with others in the industry , welcomed first-timers , met up with shippers and got the chance to check out the industry ’ s latest products and services from over 40 exhibitors .
The highlight of the evening was the 2022 Hall of Fame award to industry veteran John Benko . Conference chair Tom Jowers did the honors for his long-time mentor , friend and recent business partner . “ The Hall of Fame recipients are not just leaders who have a positive impact on the industry or association but those who have dedicated their lives to our industry . They give back to our industry every day ,” Jowers said in recognizing Benko , a man he called ” my friend and my guidance counselor .”
FINAL MILE FORUM & EXPO22
Admitting that talking about himself was not his strong suit , Benko acknowledged his love of the association and the people in it . “ Some of my strongest friendships have been born out of this association ,” he said . “ Pretty much all the good things in running my businesses have come from this association . I ’ ve connected with good , good people who have helped me personally and professionally . Many of them are in this room .” Then he turned to the members of his family who were beaming from the back of the room - his wife Sandra , his eldest son Kyle , his daughter Cooey and his father-in-law Mario - saying , “ I would be remiss if I didn ’ t mention the folks who are standing there . They are really the ones who sacrificed everything for what I do ... I ’ m just very , very blessed to have good people surrounding me . I say to all of you thank you for your support , your trust , and your friendship .”
[ Read more about this year ’ s Hall of Fame honoree and his journey on page 72 ].
The Final Mile Forum officially kicked off with a rousing speech by CLDA President Jason Burns . It was his first conference as the association ’ s president , having been elected by the board in February . He offered an enthusiastic thank you to the architect of the Final Mile Forum , its chair Tom Jowers , followed by acknowledgement of the critical role the conference sponsors play in making it happen . The event ’ s premier sponsor , Openforce , received a round of applause . He also thanked the rest of the event ’ s sponsors , Adgile Media Group , ADL Final Mile , American Expediting , Aria Logistics , Blaze Express Courier Service , Capstone Logistics , Custom Courier Solutions , Drivv powered by Courierboard , Dropoff , Global Messenger and Logistics , Jobcase , Key Software Systems , Logistics Technology HQ , Now Courier , Pearl Transportation & Logistics , Pillow Logistics , Priority Dispatch , Risk Strategies , Smith Eilers PLLC , Swift / Currie and TrueNorth Insurance and Financial Strategies .
He also acknowledged the year-round support of members of the association ’ s Industry Leadership Advisory Group ( ILAG ). This advisory group brings together the voices of those in the industry including carriers , shippers and affiliate partners . The group includes Key Software Systems , Logistics Technology HQ , Openforce , Risk Strategies , SCI and Scopelitis , Garvine , Light , Hanson & Feary .
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