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   Vol. 16 No. 86
Thursday October 26, 2017

Richard Malkin Was A Genius

Richard Malkin Was A Genius

      When I started in the air cargo business with Seaboard Word Airlines in the 60s, Richard Malkin was already a legend. 
      He used to come into SWA offices at JFK and interview our top brass.
      People like Richard Jackson, our CEO, John Mahoney, and Al Levinson were community figures Richard brought forward in features. 
      Simply put, looking back more than half a century ago, the younger Bill Boesch thought that if Dick ever interviewed him, it would be the mark of having made it in the air cargo industry.

The Air Cargo Genius

      You see, when it came to reporting, thinking ahead, or for that matter reasoning what was happening and what it all meant to a fledgling industry, including what would happen tomorrow, Richard Malkin was the only voice out there.
      Now looking back at what he wrote, thought, and contributed leaves no doubt that our industry was walking with a shepherd of the air cargo form.
      Richard Malkin was by any measure a genius of air cargo.

He Talked To Me

      And then one day in the 70s it happened.  My secretary told me Richard Malkin was on the line. 
      For a moment I didn’t know what to do and thought it might be a mistake. 
      Nervously I picked up my phone and instead of saying hello, as I normally did, I said my name—just in case the call was a mistake.  Richard said he wanted to interview me about how air cargo was doing and discuss in some detail my ideas about the future. 
      I froze again for a second. 
      The future, I thought?
      I was lucky to know what would happen tomorrow. 
      But I said “sure.” 
      He asked me if I would meet him for lunch at the Wings Club in New York City.
      The Wings Club comprised wonderful, comfortable rooms lined with leather chairs and aviation pictures and trophies inside the Biltmore Hotel in Manhattan. Lunch with Dick Malkin—what more could I have dreamed would happen? And me as the story subject.
      I showed up at the Wings Club an hour early just so I wouldn’t be late and waited for Dick in the lounge area outside of the dining room. 
      The pictures on the wall of the past Presidents of the Wings Club and a framed note from Charles Lindbergh added to my apprehension over what the hell I was doing there, and I almost left. 
      But just then, Dick walked in wearing his signature grey suit. 
      He knew my face, which surprised me, and said “Hi, Bill” with a big smile. 
      Immediately I felt at ease. We walked into the dining room together and all the waiters stood at attention and almost saluted him.

Lessons Learned In Word Pictures

      We sat down and Dick took out his notebook where he had a series of questions already prepared.
      For over an hour I tried to suppress all the angst and answer his questions. 
      Thinking back over the years parts of that day are still crystal clear and I imagine will remain so for the rest of my life.
      I recall being OK when he asked me what was happening, but when he got into what might happen ahead, I had to admit I didn’t have any answers. 
      But that didn’t faze Dick. He just nodded and went on with the next question. 
      But I swore to myself that I would never again be put into a position where I wasn’t thinking about how we could make air cargo better.  That one interview with Dick shaped the rest of my life in air cargo. 
      How could we make air cargo better?

Life & Beyond

     Over the years Dick interviewed me many times on the future of air cargo, but that first meeting with the man who witnessed and wrote brilliantly about that first great air cargo movement, the Berlin Airlift, is burned into my memory. 
      Our industry has lost one of its greatest supporters and founders. 
      I can only hope all the people coming up in this great air cargo industry can find the space, time, and sensibility to respect its founders and brilliant thinkers like Dick Malkin.

History Alive

      Keep his memory alive and remember his one question to me a long time ago: 
      “How can we make our industry and products better?” Dick wondered.
      So I remember Dick and he lives in my heart and in all the hearts of those who work finding the path to make air cargo better.
      Rest easy, my friend.

Bill Boesch

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

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