See You in Savannah!

FIRST AND FOREMOST, I hope that all of my fellow IWLA members had a great holiday and have a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

2015 marks the 124th year for the IWLA and, as we approach our quasi-centennial anniversary, it seems very fitting to have our convention in the oldest city in Georgia… and one of the oldest cities in the country.

Savannah – “The Garden City” – awaits us, and I am very humbled and ex- cited to be the chairman of the 2015 IWLA Convention Planning Committee. I hope to see you all at the convention from March 8 to 10.

The committee and the IWLA staff have been working hard to make sure our time spent in Savannah is fun, informative and memorable. We have top-notch speakers lined up that will inspire and educate. Of course, we have many social events planned to allow us to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

The three general-session speakers will inspire you:

  • Keynoter Bill Courtney is CEO of American Hardwoods and the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated. His best-selling book is Against the Grain.
  • Libby Gill will speak about innovation, leadership, brand development and communication.
  • Author and futurist Michael Rogers focuses on change for business and individuals, blending technology, economics, demographics, culture and human nature.

In addition we have a strong list of breakout sessions with speakers who are warehouse logistics experts – in law, planning, safety and marketing.

The 2015 convention theme is Connect, Discover, Innovate. The lineup of speakers and our social events should allow us to do all three!

In regards to innovation, we are excited to announce that our first-ever IWLA Innovation Awards will be given to the exhibitors that offer the most innovative product and service. (See sidebar.) Winners will be chosen based on the votes of our warehouse members. This is a great opportunity for our partners to showcase their products and services, and to allow greater interaction with our warehouse members. This is also an opportunity for us to see the latest and greatest our partner members have to offer, as we continually try to evolve and keep up with our customers’ needs while increasing revenue and profit.

IWLA Chairman Tom Herche did an outstanding job in picking such a great city and location in the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. The resort sits right on the Savannah River and is adjacent to the histor- ic Savannah River District, which is filled with great restaurants, nightlife and a variety of historical sights to see. There will be no shortage of options for those who seek after-hours entertainment and networking, as well.

The Majestic Realty IWLA Golf Classic Tournament will be played at an amazing golf course right on the property. It is a rather forgiving 18 holes for those, like me, who will not be playing on the PGA tour anytime soon. Golf-tournament co-chairmen Mark DeFabis and Chip Scholz have a great tournament planned, and I can- not wait to hit the links.

In addition, plans for the annual IWLA Political Action Committee dinner have been finalized. You won’t want to miss the great entertainer, and the food will be excellent. Many thanks to Mark DeFabis, Bob Bianco and Mike Christie for organizing this evening.

I am excited to also announce that the IWLA Emerging Leaders pro- gram will be highlighted at the 2015 convention. There will be a breakout session at which 15 to 20 of our tal- ented young professionals will have a chance to meet. The session will serve as a kick-off point for what is going to be a very thorough and thoughtful training and mentoring program for them. These are, after all, the people who will sustain our companies and our association for the next genera- tion and beyond. Anyone under 40 can attend this event and be part of the re-energized emerging leaders program. Look for this event on the convention schedule.

I look forward to seeing you in Savannah for what promises to be a great event. I want to thank the entire IWLA Convention Planning Commit- tee for ensuring this will be an exciting, fun and worthwhile few days. You will be able to identify members of this hard-working committee by the colorful ribbons on their name badges. If you think of it, thank them, as well; any success this convention has is due to them and the IWLA staff!

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