Experiences & Adventures with TIA

Dianna Whitby | DEER PARK CONSULTING

THIS MARKS MY last column for 3PL Perspectives magazine. It is time for me to say goodbye, but before I go, I wanted to share some of the things that TIA has meant to me over the past 14 years.

My background is in cargo claims. For 21 years, I was the Risk Manager at H&M Bay and since 2018 I’ve owned my business, Deer Park Cargo Claims Consulting, LLC. I’ve never quoted a rate or dispatched a truck, even though I probably did tell several drivers where to go!

I attended my first TIA meeting in 2007 in Washington, D.C., and my boss asked if I wanted to go to the Saturday sessions. During the TIA quiz show, Debbie Maas asked a question about brokers getting cargo insurance. Since no one was saying anything, I raised my hand and told her that she could get the coverage endorsed on her policy. I won enough money to pay for my dinner on the drive home.

In addition to the $40 in winnings, I had about three pages of typewritten notes to share with my boss and other department heads of what I learned in just one day of meetings! It was the beginning of a great adventure for me.

The following year, I got to attend the entire conference in San Antonio and met many wonderful people. I probably had eight pages of notes when I returned to H&M Bay. I met Ron Usem, who had sent me a letter on behalf of a carrier who was fussing because he hadn’t been paid. Funny, the carrier “forgot” to tell Ron that he had “misplaced” about $10,000 worth of cargo. Ron remembered the incident because the carrier also forgot to pay Ron!

Living only 90 minutes from Washington meant that a couple of times, I was part of the TIA delegation that visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill. I still have the photo taken of me with Congressman Peter King (R-NY), standing on the balcony of his office with the Capitol in the background. These are experiences that can’t be duplicated.

The first time I was asked to be part of a panel discussion, our topic was cargo claims. If a broker or forwarder is going to settle a claim, he must understand he wears three hats. He has on his shipper hat when he’s presenting a claim to a carrier. There is a carrier hat when defending a carrier who has proven he wasn’t liable for the loss (and yes, that does happen). And at the end of the day, he wears his 3PL hat because his main job is to settle the claim and stay friends with both the shipper and the carrier.

I was honored to assist in writing the first Fraud and Prevention handbook and be a part of the panel that discussed these topics at both the fall and spring meetings. I remember a question about identifying the proper driver and advising the member to have the driver take a selfie and a photo of the marks on his tractor and sending that to the pick-up point. She asked what she should do if he refused. My advice was to book another carrier. An honest person wouldn’t have a problem complying with that request.

It’s hard to quantify the importance I place on TIA membership without relating a little story.

About two years ago, I was in an airport in Munich, Germany getting ready to fly home from vacation. On the same plane was a couple from the same tour group. They had found their pastor, who was on his way home from The Holy Land, and another member of the church. One of the couple wanted a picture of the four of them, so I took it for them. Later, the “other member” and I were seated next to each other on the plane. After a few seconds of small talk, the man revealed that he was opening a freight brokerage operation to complement his warehouse operation. Without even pausing for breath, I told him to join TIA. The benefits, especially to someone who was new to the brokerage industry, were unmeasurable. You have access to attorneys, financial people, software providers, human resource people, among others, who will help you grow and protect your business.

THERE ISN’T A QUESTION TOO FAR OUT IN LEFT FIELD FOR SOMEONE AT TIA TO EITHER ANSWER OR PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTION.

The sharing of knowledge is what makes TIA such a fantastic organization. There isn’t a question too far out in left field for someone at TIA to either answer or put you in touch with someone who can answer your question. TIA makes sure that your voices are heard, not only on Capitol Hill, but down to the grassroots of your state government. I urge you to continue your support for this organization until, like me, it’s time to retire.

Thanks to TIA, I’ve made many friends in the industry, I’ve learned a great deal about brokerage and freight forwarding. These are memories that I will cherish. Best wishes to all the members and staff of TIA.

Dianna Whitby is Principal at Deer Park Consulting, LLC. She may be reached at DeerParkCargoClaims@gmail.com.

Image credit: TZIDO SUN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM