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PAIMA conference adds depth with excellent industry speakers

Nov 05, 2019
PAIMA rightly prides itself on its conference. Not because it is sophisticated or high budget, but because it allows its members to get together and spend real quality time with each other in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

PAIMA Conference

By Steve Jordan

PAIMA deligatesSo here I am, sitting in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago, basking in the afterglow of another successful PAIMA (Pan American International Movers Association) conference.  PAIMA conveniently organises its conference to immediately precede IAM (International Association of Movers), saving members time and money. It works and is a relaxing and enjoyable prelude to the organised madness that is to follow when the rest of the moving industry joins in.

PAIMA rightly prides itself on its conference.  Not because it is sophisticated or high budget, but because it allows its members to get together and spend real quality time with each other in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  Nor is it all about swiping a golf ball or sitting around sipping cocktails.  There’s plenty of work to be done over the two business days and, it seems, as the organisation continues to grow at an impressive rate, an increasing number of new faces to welcome and embrace.

The business sessions have always traditionally been dominated with internal matters: the PAIMA tonnage programme that logs tonnage exchanged between members and acknowledges and applauds the most active contributors; the Juan Peralta ecology award for the company that has done the most, in the opinion of the Board, to make sure our planet is capable of sustaining life for another year or so; and the presentation of the new members, 17 of them this year, inducted into a fraternity in which they are encouraged and cherished.

This year, however, three guest speakers took the limelight and added a different dimension to proceedings. 

Joleen Lauffer, Aires, Asia Kieffer, Airbnb, Robert White, US Customs and Border ProtectionJoleen Lauffer, Executive Vice President of Aires and Asia Kieffer, Head of Global Mobility & Immigration at Airbnb took the lead. As RMC and customer respectively, they gave the group an inciteful and often uncomfortable assessment of changing customer profiles, the ways in which technology was impacting the industry, and a glimpse into what the future of mobility may hold.    

Dali the CBP Labrador identifying a box containing fruitRobert White, Director of Field Operations for US Customs and Border Protection, was second on stage.  He offered a comprehensive and often very amusing presentation on the methods and objectives of his department.  Although he had an obvious command of his subject and despite his imposing authority and stature, the educated audience made him work, bombarding him with questions that tested even his extensive knowledge.  I’m not sure he expected quite such an experienced and well-informed audience.  To close his presentation Robert, with the help of Anita, a CBP Canine Officer, and Dali, her two-year old Labrador, explained the role of dogs in border protection and Dali demonstrated his abilities, easily identifying a box containing fruit, a potential source of infestation.

The whole event was ably moderated by PAIMA President Lars Lemche and Executive Director Antonio Tremols.

One-to-one meetings have become the fashion and PAIMA fitted in an afternoon of this ‘speed-dating’ format, following on from its successful introduction a couple of years ago. PAIMA delegates on a boat trip up the Chicago River, Goose Islad Brewery, Cutting the cake

Of course there was a social side too with plenty of food and wine served first on a boat trip up the Chicago River on an unseasonably hot October afternoon; and a trip to the Goose Island brewery for a swift half, a guided tour, dinner and the cutting of a cake, in the form of a stack of shipping containers, to celebrate the organisation’s 35th anniversary. 

PAIMA is always fun, always friendly, but this year the externa speakers added a new dimension giving vital information to a willing audience.

Photos (top to bottom): Antonio Tremols; One-to-one meetings; Lars Lemche; business session; Joleen Lauffer; Asia Kieffer; Robert White; Dali the CBP Labrador; Goose Island Brewery; boat trip; cutting the cake.

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