We were saddened to learn of the death of Alfred
Kuehlewind this past weekend in Los Angeles.
In 1974 Alfred opened Commodity Forwarders
Inc. (CFI) as a one-man office in Los Angeles specializing in perishables
products, especially strawberries to Europe by air.
In 1981 the CFI Hilo office opened with
focus on pineapples, papayas and flowers.
After that came CFI San Francisco In 1998 and MIA in 2003, Anchorage and
Seattle in 2007, New York in 2012 Chicago and Boston in 2016, with focus
expanded to seafood and finally in 2017, CFI became part of Kuehne+Nagel.
In October 2019 The Air Cargo Association
of Hawaii presented Alfred Kuehlewind with Air Cargo Person of the Year
at their annual Air Cargo Day event in Honolulu.
Fred Spencer of TransPacific Associates
and the President of the Hawaiian Air Cargo Association said of his friend
and former employer at CFI:
“Alfred was a partner in the air cargo
community here for many years.
“He always took the time to assist
shippers on The Big Island here but beyond that he helped growers develop
markets and systems to keep their goods moving.
“Beyond all else he was a good friend
“He will be missed.”
“I began,” Alfred said, “with
an investment of just $1000.00.
“We built our company to 14 locations
in eight States and 400 employees,” Alfred Kuehlewind said in 2019
in his quiet subdued voice.
“I owe my success,” he assured,
“to the great group of people we gathered across our system.
“I have no doubt about that.”
Indication of the impact his CFI had on Swiss
giant Kuehne+Nagel with its 9,000 employees can be seen in the spike K+N
had, driven in some part by CFI perishable business worldwide in 2019.
“He was a true gentleman,” said his
friend and colleague Tim O’Neill, former VP Cargo The Americas,
Alitalia, currently serving as Director EZ Italy / EZ Europe.
“It’s hard to know where to start with Alfred’s life,”
said Chris Connell (left) who works at Commodity and of course
is a genial presence at trade shows for the company.
“He grew up in war-torn Germany and strongly
believed in what was known as the 'American Dream'.”
Arriving in the United States, knowing very little
of the English language and with less than twenty dollars in his pocket,
he embarked on a journey that would become the start of his dream and
ultimately end as his proud legacy.
“CFI was more than a company to Alfred,
it was his extended family.
“If you asked him how he accomplished so
much, he’d tell you it was because of the people who surrounded
him. Alfred would talk about the people who mentored him, friends in the
industry that helped open a door, employees that stepped up to support
his dream and somehow fail to take much credit for what it all turned
into as he lead the way.
“Alfred prided himself on bringing a family
feels to the company. Something, over his entire career, he continued
to discuss as the company grew into something larger than he could’ve
“Alfred always believed there wasn’t
anything we couldn’t accomplish if we worked together. He never
met a challenge he wasn’t willing to take on and wouldn’t
quit or accept failure as an option.”
Here are some thoughts we share about Albert:
Sue Lamy, Director, Global Business Development-Wen Parker Logistics:
“Another Legend leaves us.”
Michael Randall Director International Sales
- West at Pilot Freight Services: “A truly nice man.”
Rod M Director Cargo USA at APG USA: “Full
speed ahead with tailwinds from the Blue Skies, RIP Alfred!”
F. Dave McInerney Director Sales and Marketing
SAB at SENATOR INTERNATIONAL Freight Forwarding: “God Bless. Wishing
comfort and strength to the family.”