It ’ s been a big year for John Benko .
He and three CLDA board members have joined forces to form a nationwide network in the final-mile space . He and his wife Sandra sent their daughter off to college , making them empty nesters with the freedom to live anywhere in the country . And he became the 30th member of the CLDA Hall of Fame .
It was a journey that started for John when he was 17 and one that took him to this year ’ s Final Mile Forum in Miami where his long-time friend and new business partner , Tom Jowers , served up the honors .
Here ’ s some of what Tom said about the man who introduced him to the benefits of industry associations : “ Around 15 years ago , my personal life changed for the better . Although I ’ d been in the industry for over 15 years , I had no idea about associations . I went to the ECA conference in Chicago , and I met a guy who introduced me to his boss , John Benko . Soon after that , Benko calls me up and says , ‘ Hey , you like hockey ?’ And I say , ‘ No ’. To which he responds , ‘ Well , you ’ re gonna go to a game with me .’ We sat and talked about business the entire time . So , five years go by , and we stay in touch , but I ’ m struggling in my business . John says to me , ‘ We ’ ve got to get you out of that situation . But before we do that , why aren ’ t you involved in any of the industry associations ? You need to get involved .’”
John introduced Tom to members of the Florida Messenger Association , which at the time wasn ’ t very active . Together , the two men rebuilt it and eventually Tom became the president . Next , John wanted Tom to get involved with MCAA ( CLDA ’ s predecessor ). Tom continues the story : “ John says , ‘ Hey , there ’ s this group , the MCAA . You need to be part of it .’ And I ’ m thinking ‘ How am I going to do that too ?’ But John insists , so I go to a meeting and it ’ s so good that I stick with it . Then he says ,
‘ You need to join the board .’ And I ’ m like , ‘ You ’ re crazy . I can ’ t do that ! I don ’ t know the things that all the people in that room know .’ His answer was , ‘ You have no idea what you know until you get in the room with those people and start creating relationships .’ That was 16 years ago and I ’ m still here , on the board because John Benko pushed me to take that leap . He ’ s my friend my guidance counselor . Now my business partner and I love him and want to be the first to congratulate him on joining the CLDA Hall of Fame .”
While the intro gave John a few minutes notice that he was about to be center stage to accept his award , he wasn ’ t quite sure how to respond . Here ’ s what he came up with : “ All right , full disclosure : I suck at this . I ’ m not usually at a loss for words but not when it comes to talking about myself . I ’ m no good at acknowledging praise of any kind . I ’ m very easy to talk to , I think , and I ’ m happy to talk about anything you want to talk about , but when it ’ s about me , I ‘ m not that comfortable .
Where I do feel comfortable is when I ’ m talking about my passion for this association . Some of my strongest friendships have been born out of this association . Pretty much all of the good things in running my businesses have come from this . There are just good , good people who have helped me personally and professionally in this room tonight . I have enormous affinity for the CLDA and the MCAA prior to that . I wouldn ’ t be standing here today absent the people in this room . I stand on the shoulders of some very , very smart folks who really helped me . I truly genuinely thank you for inviting me in . I very much appreciate everything that you ’ ve allowed me to participate in . But I would be remiss if I didn ’ t acknowledge the folks who are standing behind me , my family . They ’ re really the ones who have sacrificed everything . Sandra , my wife , sacrifices today and has over the years allowing me to do this .
FALL 2022 customized logistics & delivery Magazine 73