great man of the logistics business, both in Atlanta and worldwide, Harold
Hagans, died September 10. He was 82 years old.
Harold and Gail Hagans created Atlanta Customs
Brokers (ACB) in the early 1980’s and grew it from a small customs
brokerage operations to a legendary international freight forwarder and
customs brokerage firm that is today, as their slogan says “locally
grown, internationally known”.
Harold was instrumental in getting Fish
and Wildlife federally funded and making Atlanta a Designated Port.
He also helped get UDSA in Atlanta set up
as a PPQ.
Harold was a great community builder, serving
as President for both the Atlanta International Freight Forwarders and
Customs Brokers (formerly IFFCHB) and the Atlanta Air Cargo Association.
His friend and colleague Donna Mullins of
Mullins International Solutions remembers:
“Harold was a man of honor who served
his country courageously.
“On the day of his death, just hours
before he took his last breath, Harold was awarded an Achievement Medal,
the 2nd highest honor given to our Vietnam Veterans.
“He wore his pin as he left his home
and journeyed to heaven,” Donna said softly.
“Hubert Harold Hagans retired Sergeant
Major from the Army receiving a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, and finally
his Achievement Medal.
“He was a sweet man.”
We recall meeting Harold several times over
the years and being at once impressed by his decency and kindness and
the sense that whatever happened, Harold would be there and lend a hand.
The offices at ACB were always warm and
friendly with business going on for sure, but via a large female population
of workers that when created, was quite uncommon in our business.
Everyone we noted moved quite nicely, around
and through the work spaces, which featured warm touches, including oriental
carpets and places to sit, take a break, and think about things.
That kind of pride of place meant to us
that ACB would be a good company to ship with.
Harold, surveying the landscape one day,
decided that what Atlanta air cargo needed at Thanksgiving was an open
house invitation to every single member of the local industry to come
over for a genuine southern fried turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
So began a tradition that continues to this
day, of a great meal open to everyone every year in late November.
“The turkey is fried in peanut oil
at high temperature, and is a delicious way of bringing people together,”
Harold told me.
I thought of Harold and his sense of sharing
and giving earlier this year when Donna and her team, garbed in mask and
gloves, stood out on the trucking lines at ATL, giving away chicken dinners
to big rig drivers, who during the early scary days of the pandemic with
everything closed had nowhere else to go.
One good thing leads to another, I thought.
Thanks for leading the way, Harold.
“Today we lost a great man,”
Harold’s wife Sylvia said.
Harold and Sylvia were married after Gail
“He never quit and he was not a quitter,”
“He was fighting a beast without a
“Men like Harold do not come along
very often,” she said.
Deborah Torma, (right) Harold’s
oldest daughter, who today is President and CEO of Atlanta Customs Brokers,
“Dad was a true American, an honored
veteran who served his country, a father, husband, friend, leader and
a true Southern Gentleman.”