CLDA Magazine - Fall 2016 1 - Page 27

F E AT U R E Two years later he left Velocity to work for AirNet. As Vice President of Sales for the Eastern US, Chris helped grow the company, which focused on the banking industry. “The company owned and operated 138 airplanes. Our charge was to move cancelled checks around the US,” he says. “The operation was impressive. In fact, the best way I had to close a sale was to bring them to our facility in Columbus, OH so they could watch our planes take off at 70 second inter- vals starting at 3:30 a.m. They were headed for every major city in the US. It was an amazing system. When you think of how much money was involved, it’s breathtaking. We were moving checks that were presented to the banks all over the country. It’s something you couldn’t help but be impressed with.” All that changed on September 11, 2001. AirNet had the last plane up before the attack and the first plane back up when flying resumed. But the impact for the industry long- term was significant. “I think 9/11 really pushed the Check 21 and Imaging process changes along and that changed our business model dramatically,” he says. Chris stayed with AirNet for two years and left in 2004 to work for CD&L For the next two years he built their sales organization. By 2006, he was ready to start his own company. “I met Dan Ayer at CD&L and when it was purchased by Velocity we decided we were ready to strike out on our own,” he says. “On Sept. 16, 2006, we started Customer Courier Solutions, Inc. in Saratoga Springs, NY. We worked out of my home and on Dan’s kitchen table. One of the first things we did was to become part of the Dynamex Franchise network. I met them through the association (which was then called the Messenger and Courier Association) and I felt it would be a productive relationship. It has been.” Today, Customer Courier Solutions provides full-service courier and distribution services to Upstate New York, New England and the Mid- Atlantic. They offer their customers scheduled service, on-demand, dis- tribution services, and warehousing, home delivery and full logistics ser- vices. Among their high profile cus- tomers are those from the banking, pharm, office products, retail, auto- motive, manufacturing and freight forwarding. The company that started from Chris’ Home now has 11 locations, 225,000 square feet of warehouse space and is responsi- ble for 11,580 scheduled deliveries per week. They now provide service from the Canadian border down to Virginia Beach. ASSOCIATION INVOLVEMENT Chris credits his relationships with CLDA as a key part of his growth. Rob Slack introduced him to the association in the mid-1980s when it was the MCAA. Chris held leader- ship posts culminating in his presi- dency from 2011 to 2012. He was an active member of the board before that. One of his most long-stand- ing commitments was his 12 years term heading up the association’s Government Affairs Committee. As part of that work, he served as the voice of the industry, testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Employee and Workplace Safety in favor of the independent con- tractor model in November 2013. “It was one of the highlights of my pro- fessional life,” he confesses. “I was honored to represent this industry as the only witness for the Republican minority.” 27 By then, Chris had become the association’s president, having moved through the positions as the board’s secretary, treasurer, second VP and heading up the Annual Meeting Committee. The award was presented to Chris by the man who hired him as he moved up in the industry, Rob Slack. “We owe this man a debt of gratitude for all he’s done for the industry,” Slack said. In accepting the award Chris said, “This is an extreme honor but something I could not have done without the people around me, including my business partner, Dan Ayer and all the friends in this association I’ve made over the years. This association wouldn’t be where we are at a national level without the people it his room who have given their time and their financial support. When I started as a driver in 1982 I never would have dreamed I’d be up here one day!” His remarks were greeted with a standing ovation. As he looks back on his career and his role with the association, Chris says induction into the CLDA Hall of Fame is one of the high points. “This award recognizes the efforts that members of the Hall of Fame have put forth for the organization