Promoting the growth and success of movers, shippers, and logistics personnel around the world
Terry Head is the President of the International Association of Movers, the moving industry’s nonprofit trade association. Located in Washington, DC, IAM has over 2,000 members, representing more than 170 moving, shipping, forwarding, logistics, and cargo auditing companies around the world. The organization provides its members with exclusive education and professional development programs, political advocacy, and global networking opportunities. Since 1962, IAM has hosted an annual meeting and trade show—the largest in the industry.
Tell us about IAM and what functions it serves.
TERRY HEAD: The International Association of Movers is a trade association nonprofit located here in Washington, DC, but with members in 180 countries around the world. We started back in the early 1960s, representing movers who moved US military personnel, but the Association has grown to now encompass the entire international industry. We serve as an advocate with the US government, the EU, and other national organizations that have regulatory and enforcement authority over our industry, but we also serve as a training entity for our industry and perhaps, more importantly, a business development entity. The networking within our industry is tremendous. The IAM annual meeting and expo is certainly the biggest thing we do every year. We have smaller events for training and opportunities—we meet with a variety of other stakeholders within the industry—but the IAM annual meeting is a good size. There are about 2,000 people paid registrants that attend. The exhibit hall is about 50,000 square feet and we average between 150–160 vendors, but their booths vary in size.
How has the organization changed over the years?
It’s interesting to see how it transpired over the years. It started out with just movers, and now I would say the technology side of our industry dominates it. Because just like any industry, the data that we handle is probably almost as important as the stuff we move, so technology has become a big thing, lots of vendors there. But, of course, our organization represents a variety of people that are involved in the moving business, not just movers. We have insurance companies, we have customs brokers, we have port agents, we have trucking companies, we have ocean carriers, we have airlines. You don’t really think about the moving business involving that many parts, but it does, particularly when you look at it from an international perspective. All these people come to the annual meeting to obviously meet, see each other, and sell to each other, so it’s a very active four days. As a matter of fact, I often joke I wouldn’t really have to charge anybody to come to the meeting if I could just get a dollar for every business card that’s exchanged during those four days.
People ask me all the time: “How do you keep keep IAM relevant?” It’s a good question. It’s one I struggle with every day, and I’m always challenging my staff with that same question. We try and always gauge: What does the member need? As a matter of fact, we do formal member needs survey on a regular basis.
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