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Contributions to containerization and world trade recognized

Long Beach, CA – John Wolfe, CEO of The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Port of Tacoma and Amy Grat, CEO of International Trade Education Programs, Inc. (ITEP), received the 2017 Connie Award presented by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute in Long Beach, CA, on Tuesday, September 19.  In addition, CII presented nearly $20,000 in scholarships to students pursuing careers in logistics and supply chain as well as organizations who are training the future leaders of the industry.

Mr. Wolfe and Ms. Grat were both honored with the prestigious award for their contributions to containerization and world trade and transportation industry, as well as for their innovations within their respective careers and for a positive influence on the up and coming individuals in the industry.

The dinner event honoring Mr. Wolfe and Ms. Grat was held at the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel. This event was held in conjunction with the IANA intermodal EXPO. Edward DeNike, President, SSA Containers and Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles presented the awards in front of some 200 people.

Mr. DeNike and Mr. Wolfe both stressed the importance of being willing to adapt to change as a key to success in our industry.

Mr. Wolfe stated, “This is an exciting time. With change comes uncertainty and risk yet also excitement because it’s the excitement of the unknown. It creates opportunity for us to do things differently.”

Prior to his appointment to CEO of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, Mr. Wolfe served as the Port of Tacoma’s deputy executive director for five years prior to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma combining resources to establish The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Mr. Wolfe brings to the port a lifelong career in terminal operation and management on the west coast. Mr. Wolfe spent 10 years with Maersk Sealand/APM Terminals in Tacoma, in various roles, including terminal operations manager. Prior to joining the Port of Tacoma, he was a director of operations and marine terminal general manager for the Port of Olympia and subsequently worked for two years as the executive director.

“When we stretch ourselves and we extend ourselves beyond what is the norm, that’s when magical things happen like The Northwest Seaport Alliance,” said Mr. Wolfe.

Today, he continues to set the tone for the port, providing visionary leadership and strategy, and guiding the NWSA’s unique customer-focused culture and as an example of how neighboring ports can combine resources for efficient and economic value.

Amy Grat, CEO of International Trade Education Programs, Inc. (ITEP) knows that even future visionaries begin as “clueless youths,” who need guidance and direction. Ms. Grat explained: “Kids need career guidance and look to parents. Parents need help and look to teachers. Teachers need support and look to…well for 13 schools in greater Los Angeles, they look to ITEP.”

International Trade Education Programs, Inc. (ITEP) focuses on educating the next generation of transportation leaders. Since being named CEO in August 2010, Ms. Grat has worked hard to promote industry education by facilitating partnerships with ports, transportation, logistics and related industries, to introduce high school students to diverse career opportunities in high growth job sectors.

A strong believer in the power of mentors, Ms. Grat acknowledged that her life was changed when, as teen, she met her first mentor, who taught her the following: ‘Show up. Speak up. And never give up.’

“Mentors make the difference. When they know someone cares about their success, young people respond,” said Ms. Grat.  “It is the collective responsibility of professionals, companies and industries to nurture our workforce.”

Ms. Grat has also held positions in higher education including Associate Director of International Executive Programs at USC’s International Business Education and Research (IBEAR) Program. She remains an active member within local industry and civic organizations. Her dedication to furthering industry education is manifested in the recognition she has received for her accomplishments working in a leadership capacity.

The Containerization and Intermodal Institute’s mission is to promote and support education for the trade and transportation industry.  At the event, CII continued its industry mission by presenting 14 scholarships during a pre-event reception. Since 1992, under the auspices of CII, more than $800,000 in scholarships have been awarded. The following scholarships were presented:

  • Port of Long Beach Scholarship was awarded to Miles Winston, an outstanding student, who received a scholarship for his endeavors to pursue his Masters Degree in Supply Chain Management from California State University, Long Beach.
  • Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarships from Crowley Maritime Corporation were awarded to the following cadets: Samuel Comerford, Tyler Sayvetz, Kent Treptow and Alex Yonkman.
  • Flexi-Van Leasing IncScholarship was presented to the Harbor Truck Driver Training Program at Long Beach City College. This program addresses the need for more drivers in the trucking industry while encouraging collaboration between trucking companies, drivers and terminal operators.
  • Matson, IncScholarships were awarded to institutions committed to developing young careers: California Maritime Academy and International Trade Education Programs (ITEP).
  • Norton Lilly Scholarship Grant was awarded to the California Maritime Academy General Scholarship Fund.
  • The Journal of Commerce Scholarship was presented to Emily Pahon, a deserving student from the California State University, Long Beach, who is pursuing his Master of Science degree in Supply Chain Management.
  • CII Scholarships were awarded to three exemplary students from the California State University, Long Beach, Andrew S. Kirby, Mikyung Zdybowicz, both pursuing Master’s degrees in Supply Chain Management, and Katelyn Schipske, who is excelling in the Global Logistics Specialist Program.

CII again awarded a grant to International Trade and Education Programs (ITEP) for its commitment to provide high school students with opportunities to learn about careers in international trade, transportation and logistics.


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