E-Communicator Article

2015–2016 Chairman Pat Longo Formally Installed at CMSA Convention in San Diego

CMSA members charted their course to excellence from the various talks and presentations given at the 97th Annual Convention from April 28 to May 3. Held at San Diego’s Paradise Point Resort & Spa, the CMSA Convention had more than 330 moving and storage professionals in attendance.

Kickstarting the Convention was the Executive Board Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, followed by the Movers and Shakers Reception/Dinner that night. The Movers and Shakers Reception/Dinner was an appreciation dinner for all CMSA Board members, committee members, chapter presidents and special guests for their hard work and dedication to the Association during the year. The reception was sponsored by Gateways International Inc. and the dinner was sponsored by TransGuard Insurance Company of America.

Committee members gathered on Wednesday morning for the Insurance, Government Affairs, Membership and Military Affairs Committees to discuss hot industry topics and address industry concerns. In the afternoon, the 2014–2015 Board of Directors, led by Outgoing Chairman Jay Casey, and the incoming 2015–2016 Board of Directors, led by Incoming Chairman Patrick “Pat” Longo, convened to finish up old business and review new industry issues. Outgoing Chairman Casey thanked his directors for their contributions to the meetings and overall well-being of the Association. The Casey Board also approved the Chairman’s Choice Charity program: A program that will allow every new chairman to select a charity, with Board approval, to make a one-time $5,000 contribution on behalf of the CMSA. Incoming Chairman Longo convened his first board meeting and chose his Chairman’s Choice Charity as the Alzheimer’s Foundation with unanimous approval from the Board.

On Thursday, CMSA members grabbed their clubs to participate in the annual Convention Golf Tournament at Riverwalk Golf Course. The golf tournament, sponsored by Pioneer, had more than 70 members in attendance. Members were met with great weather and great company. TransGuard Insurance Company of America sponsored a $10,000 hole-in-one contest on the eighth hole for members to win.

The Exhibitors Welcome Reception, sponsored by New Haven Moving Equipment Corp., is one of the biggest events of the Convention. Movers mingle with exhibitors to review new and improved products and services available now in the industry marketplace. Gary Blower of Pioneer and Lenny Gollnick of Pioneer also presented the golf tournament awards to the winning teams.

On Friday morning, master of ceremonies Chris Higdon of California Moving Systems thanked CardConnect for sponsoring the Paradise Point Breakfast and thanked all the delegates for attending the Convention.  Higdon introduced the incoming CMSA Secretary/Treasurer John Lance of NMS Moving Systems Inc. to the podium to give the invocation. Lance said a few words about American troops serving around the world and read off the list of CMSA members who passed away this year. Higdon then conducted the annual roll call of delegates and introduced Alvin Law, this year’s 2015 keynote speaker.

Law, with his blazer sleeves tucked into his side pockets, gave a luminous smile to the crowd. Removing his blazer, he explained that being born without arms is not a tragedy, but circumstance: “It’s life: What happens [to you] and what you do back.” Because of his handicap, he learned from an early age to be self-reliant. His adoptive parents held back from coddling to instead nurture him to be a problem-solving, independent person. Through this learning style, he was faced with many challenges without arms, but he soon adapted to perform daily tasks as well as learn to appreciate things more.

In addition to becoming independent, Law also realized the importance of relationships in his early life. “People matter, relationships matter,” he said. “I don’t care about what you do. I [only] care about you.” Being able to connect with people on a personal level improves your life as well as theirs. The human connection is what bonds us all and gives you the internal fortitude to overcome obstacles personally and professionally. He demonstrated his conquered obstacles by playing the piano and the drums with his feet for CMSA members.

Outgoing Chairman Casey was next to speak to delegates about his journey with CMSA President Steve Weitekamp zigzagging across the state to visit moving companies and speak at chapter meetings. Using his photo slideshow as his guide, he introduced attendees to members he forged lasting friendships with and how inspired he was about the men and women who contribute to the betterment of the industry.

Next, Higdon introduced Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Director Daphne Jefferson, Special Agent in Charge William Swallow of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Deputy Director of Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services Jennifer Gartlan from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to give their presentations on what programs their agencies have enforced to curb rogue operator activity. Jefferson first relayed how important licensed operators are to the agency in targeting unlicensed operators and how the agency itself will be releasing a PSA announcement to the moving public on the pitfalls of selecting an unlawful mover. The PSA video was aired during the business session for all attendees. Next, Swallow came to the podium to discuss the various investigations the DOT Inspector General’s office has conducted and the positive results that have come from the investigations. He also reviewed with delegates the numerous fraudulent activities he has encountered in his career that licensed operators should be aware of. Gartlan then gave her presentation of the number of ways that the Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services can help consumers as well as moving companies during the shipping process.

Next, CMSA President Weitekamp thanked his staff, Chairman Casey, CMSA Counsel Mark Hegarty and all members for their support in the past year. He then asked the newly elected and re-elected Board members to come toward the stage to be recognized as the faces of CMSA leadership. This year, the re-elected and newly elected Board members include: CMSA Secretary/Treasurer John Lance of NMS Moving Systems Inc., Mark Andersen of Andersen Van & Storage, Karl Anderson of Anderson Bros. Movers, Sally Bolger of Grace Moving Company, Cal Farnsworth of Farnsworth Express, Alan Freese of Miller Moving & Storage, Tim McCarthy of McCarthy Transfer & Storage Inc. and Maribeth Wolf of Golden Gate Moving & Storage Co.  Board members that are continuing on for one more year include: CMSA Senior Chairman Jay Casey of Casey Moving Systems, CMSA Chairman Pat Longo of Andy’s Transfer & Storage, CMSA Vice Chairman Robert Fraser of Redwood Moving & Storage, Ken Armstrong of Ridgecrest Moving & Storage, William Arvidson of Sav On Moving & Storage, Vince Cardinale of Cardinale Moving & Storage Inc., Jesse Chabot of Golden West Moving Systems Inc., Mark Larson of Mother Lode Van & Storage Inc., Thomas McCarthy of McCarthy Transfer & Storage Inc., Brad Metzner of Jack & Jeff Transfer Co., Terry Pettigrew-Rolapp of Beverly Hills Transfer & Storage and Mark Hildreth of New Haven Moving Equipment Corp.

Outgoing Chairman Casey led the afternoon’s Friday Mission Bay Luncheon, sponsored by Paul Hanson Partners Specialty Insurance, as the event’s master of ceremonies. Casey introduced luncheon speaker American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) President and CEO Scott Michael, who spoke about the current outlook of political tensions between citizens and law enforcement as well as industry trends occurring in the interstate moving market. Casey then invited attendees to the Military Affairs Breakout Session after lunch for a lively discussion on the DP3 program.

Tim McCarthy of McCarthy Transfer & Storage Inc., the Military Breakout Session moderator, started off the program by first introducing International Association of Movers (IAM) President Terry Head and AMSA President and CEO Michael to present their analysis of the persistent issues with the DP3 program. Next, McCarthy introduced U.S. Navy Household Goods Program Manager Deborah McGlennon to speak with attendees about what her office’s initiatives are in 2015, including streamlining the process for billing and communications from base to base and base to moving companies. Then, McCarthy introduced delegates to this year’s military move panelists: Tim Helenthal of National Van Lines Inc., Scott Kelly of The Suddath Companies — SGS and Tim Vandagriff of Total Military Management. Panelists answered questions developed by the CMSA membership and also opened the floor for some impromptu questions from the audience. Refreshments served during the Military Breakout Session were sponsored by National Van Lines Inc., The Suddath Companies — SGS and Total Military Management.

On Friday evening, attendees took a break from industry shop talk to socialize at the off-site dinner at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar. All attendees were bused to the base. Servicemen entered each bus to direct the shuttle drivers on a base tour and then back to the officers’ club for dinner. The dinner was sponsored by Kentucky Trailer, Montway Auto Transport, Andy’s Transfer & Storage, Arpin Van Lines Inc., Atlas Van Lines Inc., National Van Lines Inc., North American Van Lines, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines Inc., UniGroup Inc. and Wheaton l Bekins. Shuttle transportation was sponsored by DEWITT Co./Royal Hawaiian Movers.

Master of ceremonies Maribeth Wolf of Golden Gate Moving & Storage Co. began the Saturday general business session by thanking Cannon Moving & Storage for sponsoring the Presidio Breakfast that morning and asked Brian Larson, the van line panel moderator, to step on stage to hold the van line panel discussion. This year’s panelists included Conrad Swanson of Arpin Van Lines Inc., Steven Hermann of Atlas Van Lines Inc., Tim Helenthal of National Van Lines Inc., Andy Kroll of North American Van Lines, Morrie Stevens Jr. of Stevens Worldwide Van Lines Inc. and Patrick Baehler of UniGroup Inc. The panelists shared their thoughts on the DP3 program, the improvement in IT technologies for drivers and strategies for handling capacity concerns for the peak season.

Next, Wolf introduced Move for Hunger Founder and Executive Director Adam Lowy to the stage to talk about the program and to congratulate AMS Relocation Inc. as the 2015 CMSA Move for Hunger Mover of the Year. Next, Head spoke with attendees about the current trends in international shipping as well as the positive predictions in the national employment rate. Head also said that the driver shortage will continue to become a problem as there are fewer drivers available as driver demand rises. One factor is that there are fewer younger drivers to replace the aging workforce of existing drivers. Another challenge is long-distance driver retention as many in the newer generations wish to stay close to their families. Following Head, CMSA President Weitekamp, CMSA Legislative Advocate Chuck Cole and CMSA Legal Counsel Hegarty held a legislative discussion on the complicated process of sponsoring a state bill, and the triumphs and challenges that the Association faces to improve the industry for its members.

In the afternoon, master of ceremonies and CMSA Secretary/Treasurer Lance thanked Champion Risk & Insurance Services, L.P. and Vanliner Insurance Company for sponsoring the Saturday’s Excellence Awards Luncheon. Lance introduced Special Olympics Athlete and Global Messenger Thomas Selbe, his mother Beth Selbe and Southern California Special Olympics Assistant Vice President Kris Drummond to the stage to say a few words about the organization. Thomas Selbe won numerous medals in many competitions and has made long-lasting friendships because of his involvement in the program. Drummond thanked the membership for its continued contributions to the Special Olympics and invited all to attend the Special Olympics Summer World Games in Los Angeles this summer to cheer for the athletes. CMSA President Weitekamp presented the Special Olympics representatives with the $7,500 presentation donation check to the Southern California Special Olympics. Besides the annual $5,000 donation, CMSA members have made additional contributions to the program in honor of 1997–1998 CMSA Chairman Sue Geissel who passed away in November 2014. CMSA President Weitekamp announced this year’s college and vocational scholarship recipients, which includes the renewal of the Patricia Andrews Memorial Scholarship and the CMSA Chairman Sue Geissel Memorial Scholarship funded by the Geissel family. Students and their parents who attended the luncheon thanked the membership for their awards and spoke about the scholastic programs their children are involved in.

In addition, the 12 CMSA chapter presidents were also recognized and awarded certificates for their leadership and support of the Association. The coveted Chapter of the Year award was given to the San Diego Chapter. San Diego Chapter President RaeDeane VanMeter of Republic Van & Storage, who accepted the award on the chapter’s behalf, thanked San Diego Chapter Board Member Thomas McCarthy of McCarthy Transfer & Storage Inc. for planning another successful golf tournament, her team and to all the chapter members for their contributions to the chapter’s success. VanMeter announced that the chapter was donating $25,000 to the Scholarship Fund and $500 to the Special Olympics this year.

Weitekamp also recognized and presented plaques to retiring members PJ Welch of Cardinal Van & Storage Co., Nat Prassel of Atlas Transfer & Storage Co., and Jim Weiant of Chipman Relocation & Logistics.

The final Convention event was the Chairman's Reception and Dinner/Ball, sponsored by CDS Moving Equipment Inc. Master of ceremonies and CMSA Vice Chairman Robert Fraser of Redwood Moving & Storage announced Longo as the incoming CMSA Chairman. Longo was escorted into the ballroom by a long precession of former CMSA Chairmen while attendees clapped and cheered him on. CMSA President Weitekamp then presented Outgoing Chairman Casey his honorary lifetime membership and Chairman's gift for his dedication and contribution to the Association. Casey thanked the CMSA staff and gave Longo some humorous advice for his one-year journey as the next CMSA Chairman.

Fraser then asked 2005–2006 CMSA Chairman and Pat’s wife, Jill Longo, to speak about the CMSA’s new Chairman. Jill Longo spoke about how he has been a loving, reliable husband who has taken on more at the family business to allow her the flexibility to spend more time at home with their children. She also spoke about how wonderful it was to have all of his siblings attend the Chairman’s Dinner to support him. Even though his father had passed away recently while suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, Jill Longo said that he would have said how proud he was of his son. With pride and adoration, Jill Longo introduced the membership to its new CMSA Chairman.

Pat thanked his wife and his siblings for their support, especially for the health challenges they have faced. He also thanked Dan Robertson, former North American Van Lines executive who attended the dinner, for guiding him in his professional career. As the 2015–2016 CMSA Chairman, he said his first order of business was selecting the Alzheimer’s Foundation as this year’s Chairman’s Charity Choice in honor of his father. Delegates celebrated the new Chairman and the new year by dancing to the musical stylings of the Jo Jo Leone Trio.

Thank you to all attendees who made this an unforgettable Convention! We hope you all can join us next year for the 98th Annual CMSA Convention May 10–15, 2016, at Resort in Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California.

2015–2016 Chairman Pat Longo Formally Installed at CMSA Convention in San Diego

- CMSA Communicator

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