CHICAGO (April 7, 2011) - Rick Gabrielson, Director of International Transportation for Target Corporation and George Schember, Vice President Corporate Transportation and Logistics for Cargill were each presented with Connie Awards by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) at an industry-wide dinner at the Marriot O'Hare.
Each recipient was recognized with the prestigious award for significant influence on containerization in world trade and transportation. Anthony Chiarello, president of American Shipping Group, presented the award to Mr. Gabrielson. Allen Clifford, CII president, presented the Connie Award to Mr. Schember.
CII, founded in 1960, has been presenting the Connie Award since 1972, and it has become the most coveted honor in the field of containerization and its ancillary industries. Among some 40 recipients to date are Captain S. Y. Kuo, Phillip Yeager, Ronald Widdows, Malcom McLean, Thomas B. Crowley Sr., Anthony A. Scioscia, James McKenna, James Newsome and the Honorable Helen D. Bentley.
"Without the cargo, there is no industry," said Mr. Clifford. "CII determined and the votes indicated that honoring a major importer, such as Target, and a significant exporter, Cargill, was appropriate at this time. It also allowed us to bring the Connie Awards to America's heartland." Both recipients were honored for innovative spirit in their careers and at their respective companies, as well as for the positive influence on the industries they serve.
In accepting the award, Mr. Gabrielson said: "This is a time of tremendous change and opportunity within the entire shipping industry. Our nation's infrastructure-- ports, roads, bridges and last mile connectors-- is not able to handle our future growth. Many of our locks and dams on our inland waterways have aged well beyond their useful life. Without improvements to our physical supply chain, we could see further impacts to our economy. The completion of the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014 will be a game changer." He continued, "East Coast and Gulf ports could begin to see more discretionary cargo when it's completed. But beyond the developments in the ports themselves, the last mile connectors and inland infrastructure must be in place to truly capitalize on the benefit."
Gabrielson continued: "I believe that now is the time to collaborate together as shippers and service providers- to work with our leaders at the State and Federal level to develop the comprehensive goods movement plan that we need. This will begin to lay the groundwork for infrastructure changes that will meet our current and future needs. We all know resources are tight for our government partners, so as leaders we must work to prioritize those projects that will have the biggest impact on our industry and our economy."
In closing, Mr. Gabrielson said: "And as leaders in this industry, we also have a responsibility to help develop tomorrow's leaders. The education, scholarship and outreach programs that CII and others are doing are helping to lay the foundation for that to become a reality. I would encourage all of us to get engaged in these programs and make them a priority."
Mr. Gabrielson is responsible for the management and movement of all imported product for Target Stores and Target.com.
Mr. Schember is responsible for the Global Container Group, Cargill's Warehouse and Terminal Group, has over 25 years experience in the logistics industry.
In accepting his award, Mr. Schember said: "I am here representing Cargill and its 1,200 transportation and logistics professionals worldwide." Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural and industrial products and services.
Mr. Schember noted: "The rise in global population and the recent commodity price spikes bring renewed attention to the issue of food security around the world. We believe food security is a basic human right. One dimension of the issue is addressed by free trade and the movement of food from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. Cargill works hard at this every day, and this fits well with Containerization & Intermodal Institute's mission to promote international trade as well as advance awareness and understanding of the industry and its benefits."
"This industry is extremely vibrant and sometimes even volatile. Events such as tsunamis, financial meltdowns, and political unrest impact our transportation and supply chains often. They also take most the headlines as well. Yet, we should also recognize the challenges all of us face in running effective businesses, collaborating, serving customers and meeting requirements on a day-to-day basis," he added. "The industry needs to attract and retain top talent with both the technical as well as commercial and cross-functional skills to innovate and lead in the future. For that reason, I am pleased CII supports scholarship and the education of the next generation," Schember concluded.
In addition to the awards, CII presented four scholarships to students studying at Northwestern University's Transportation Center. The scholarships were donated by The Journal of Commerce, Global Container Terminals, History of Containerization Foundation/BSY Associates Inc. and CII. Christopher Lindsey, Luis de la Torre, Bill Pun and Ken Fuller were the students honored.
CII, a non-profit organization, promotes industry awareness, preserves the history of intermodalism and engages scholarly interest in the field by organizing educational conferences and seminars, serving as an information resource, providing networking opportunities, offering career guidance, arranging internships and facilitating scholarships.
CII is dedicated to promoting the international intermodal industry in education outreach and co-published with Commonwealth Business Media the book, "The Box That Changed the World."