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   Vol. 19 No. 1
Wednesday January 8, 2020
Brandon Lets It All Hang Out
Brandon Fried Leadership

Brandon Fried, longtime Executive Director of the Airforwarders Association is one air cargo executive in a world of change that seems to transcend time.
     While it has become fashion and even rule to flip and change top executives regularly at other industry associations, there goes “Steady Brandon” out there seemingly unflappable as counterpoint to that action.

Airforwarders Association

    As 2020 debuts, Brandon with The Airforwarders Association Board Members, from left to right— Richard Fisher, BTX Global Logistics; Sandy Gregory, RIM Logistics; Chris Connell,
Commodity Forwarders; Jennifer Frigger-Latham, EMO Trans; Rick Bridges, Roanoke Trade; Sasha Goodman, Rockit Cargo and John Peery, Mercury Air Cargo, keep AfA, not the biggest organization of its kind in the world, punching above its weight.

FT:   What are the most important attributes of a leader?
BF:   Never, ever, fall in to the trap of thinking you’re the smartest guy in the room because the odds are you will be wrong, and the results can be embarrassing. Also, you need to be passionate, committed and positive with a strategic focus since those working with you depend on your outlook and vision for their own success. Treat your team members well by listening to their opinions and providing feedback to help them in achieving overall objectives.

FT:    Why is mentorship important?
BF:   In the history of man, no 12-year-old ever said, “I want to be a freight forwarder when I grow up”. Those who do stumble into forwarding often find themselves fascinated by the daily variety and challenges and those are precisely the folks we want to attract. Teach them right, instruct them well, and they will become tomorrow’s leaders.

FT:    How do you handle customer experience?
BF:   Rule #1 is shut up and listen because this is not a one-size-fits-all world. Every customer has their own hot-buttons, their own needs, and their own unique perspective on what’s important. As important and exciting as the new technology is that is rolling out across the supply chain world, they are after all only tools and, be it a hammer, a saw, a wrench, or a scalpel, are only as good as the hands that wield them. Craft solutions that fit your individual customer’s needs and you will succeed.

FT:    There are many venues along the service chain, including outsourcing that forwarders cannot control, but impact the customer and service partners impressions.
BF:   That’s what successful forwarders do – they manage relationships and must understand that vendors, just like customers have unique needs. As much as we are focused on technology in today’s world, we must never lose sight of the fact that relationships matter more so.

FT:    How can forwarders extend influence to touch points that you do not even have responsibility for?
BF:   Build true and meaningful partnerships with your service providers and understand that loyalty is a two-way street.

FT:    How do you promote great collaborations?
BF:   Foster win-win relationships in which the vision is clear and the strategy concise with easy to understand objectives. If the mission is too complex for the group and its people, many will simply give up in achieving the overall goal.

FT:    What is your idea of happiness?
BF:   Being interviewed by FlyingTypers, but a close second would be a love of commercial aviation and vintage automobiles. I love airports and cargo and am a sucker for the old school style of driving where I’m still in charge and not some damn computer buried under the dashboard somewhere. But the most happiness is spending time with my family and good friends because no plane or car beats those moments.

FT:    Your idea of misery?
BF:    Doing just about anything else for a living. I am passionate about the freight forwarding industry and the Airforwarders Association and am honored to be associated with such a wonderful group of people.

FT:    What do you consider your main fault?
BF:   I worry too much and have come to realize that most of what we worry about never really happens. On the other hand, being concerned drives the passion that helps us accomplish important objectives.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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