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Frank Eugene Watson III: A Tribute From Your Friends

It is with heavy hearts that we report the loss of a man we have had the privilege to know and love for nearly three decades – a man that could make you cough up your socks laughing at his endless stream of jokes while standing in awe of his charisma and fearlessness. Frank Watson is a name and personality known and admired by thousands across the United States and the world.  While his life-long occupation was transporting goods of every description for customers large and small, one never lost the sense that his true business was people. The Trade Show industry gave him a vehicle to move amongst people from every nationality, race and creed, which may be why he loved it so much. We never failed to observe his uncanny ability to transpose his southern soul and easy manner into a moment of humor or a genuine sense of well being for people – no matter their culture or class standing – when he walked into a room. We wish you smooth flights as you go on without us, but we will miss you Frank Watson III.



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Employee Spotlight: Josh Brumley

This week before Christmas, we are spotlighting one of our unsung heroes, Josh Brumley.  If you happen to be in procurement for a nuclear power plant located almost anywhere within the continental United States, Josh has probably assisted in pulling off some logistics miracles for you at some point. Keeping up with the demands as a part of the Airways Utilities Division headed up by Devin Scroggins is not for the faint of heart.


Josh is a relative beginner with Airways, having completed 3 years in September and heading into his 4th year with the company, but after only a year working in night operations, Josh was recruited by the Utilities Division – primarily because of his excellent work ethic and eagerness to learn.
Says Scroggins, “Josh has quickly become an integral part of the Utilities Division, and we are happy to have him as a part of our team.”  High praise from the Director that manages some of the most highly expedited and demanding shipments handled by the company.  The feeling is mutual too; Josh says one of his favorite things about his job includes the people he works with.
Logistics is nothing new to Josh.  Prior to Airways, he was coaching elite baseball teams in Dallas, TX – a total of 5 to be exact – one 8 year-old team, two 12-13 and one 15-year-old team. In addition, there was a 16-18 year-old team – the showcase team – which along with the others – traveled all over the U.S. playing in Select Tournaments.  Josh also provided private baseball lessons to youngsters while on the road. Having made baseball his life for a number of years, it wouldn’t be an understatement to say, Josh Brumley is “a total baseball guy” when he’s not doing his now favorite thing –  hanging out with his wife Tori, and his new baby girl, Chandler.
Nowadays, when Josh isn’t busy “hitting one out of the park” for Airways on a shipment for a power plant, he aspires at some point to “be the old guy in the chair falling asleep to baseball.”  Well earned Josh!
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Airways Hosts the 2016 Board of Management Meeting for IELA

Airways Freight Corporation, as an active member of the International Exhibition Logistic Association (IELA), was proud to host the IELA 3rd quarter Board of Management Meeting in October.  The current IELA organization is comprised of 155 company members representing 55
countries.  The association provides a networking and educational platform for companies like Airways who are involved in the transportation, customs clearance and on-site material handling in the exhibition industry.  Unlike other industry organizations, IELA also sets and measures standards of performance for its members through an annual peer review,  and we have benefitted greatly from the process.  The IELA Board of Management is elected by the IELA General Assembly and is charged with execution of the objectives and administration of the organization towards that end.  Current Board members who participated in the meeting at Airways shown in the photo below include:

  • Mariane Ewbank, Fulstandig Shows & Events, Brazil
  • Ulrich Kasimir, Vice Chairman & Treasurer, Schenker Deutschland AG,  Germany 
  • H.S. Bedi, Member, PS Bedi Group, India 
  • Feyzan Erel, Member, Gruptrans Co. Inc, Turkey
  • Jim Kelty, Member, Airways Freight Corp., USA 
  • Achim Lotzwick, Member, Cretschmar Messecargo, Germany 
  • James Ng, Member, Transit Air Cargo, Singapore 
  • Christoph Rauch, Member, BTG Messe-Spedition GmbH, Germany
  • Ravinder Sethi, Member, RE Rogers India Pvt.Ltd., India

Also included in the photo are Ms Elizabeth Niehaus of the IELA Secretariet office,
along with a portion of the hosting staff at Airways.  Obviously this group
traveled a long way to get to here and we appreciated the great
opportunity to get to spend time with these industry leaders and show
them our well known, Airways Hospitality!

*You can see more about IELA and its leadership at 
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Employee Spotlight: Andrew Brown

One of the things people comment on most after visiting the Airways headquarters in Fayetteville is how they feel comfortable with the people they meet here and how nice everybody is. It’s a great thing to hear, but truth is, we rarely give it much thought.  It’s just the way things are around here (most of the time). But when people at Airways think about downright nice and truly likable fellow workers, Andrew Brown’s name would most certainly be mentioned in the top 5.
At a young age, Andrew started with Airways (16 years ago to be somewhat exact), and like many, his initial job was on the night operations crew. With only one work reference under his belt, having worked five years in grocery retail, he remembers the days of scanning coupons and stocking dog food – a job he apparently didn’t find very interesting. So when the Airways opportunity came along, he took it.  Having lived his entire life in Northwest Arkansas, the world of freight forwarding appealed to him, and soon Andrew showed an interest in the specialized market of trade shows. Today he leads the entire group of trade show operators as the division manager under the direction of Hal Poole (the VP of trade shows) who frequently travels. Andrew says, “I really enjoy the people I work with,” but it’s a mutual respect on behalf of those that work with him that makes Andrew an effective leader.
Airways asked Andrew to say a little about himself and his interests, and he came back with some standard answers we hear from a lot of college sports fans around here.  “I like watching college football and spending time with the family.”  But what about other interests?
Well when we asked Andrew to tell us something most people don’t know about him, he said “I’m sarcastic.”  Uhhh…sorry Andrew, we already knew that one!  But then he just nonchalantly throws out there that he’s a big Metal fan.  Huh? Now take a look at that picture above and tell us this

looks like a heavy metal aficionado.  Are you seeing it?  Neither do we.  But apparently it’s true because tops on Andrew’s bucket list is to attend the annual Wacken Open Air concert.  Think 4-day scream fest for 85,000 metal heads out in the middle of nowhere Germany. Bands with names like Orange Goblin and Napalm Death will be there to regale their fans with ultimate loudness in 2017 – possibly with Andrew (The Crusher) Brown in attendance.

“Unfortunately” Andrew says, “I burned my *10-year trip on my family.”
There’s that sarcasm again Andrew.
*Airways has long sponsored an all expenses paid trip for employees and their families after they have reached 10 years on the job.
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Employee Spotlight: Hollis Hatch

In the relatively short time he has been with Airways (celebrating his third year on September third), Hollis Hatch has consistently shown the qualities of “can-do” that make people sit up and take notice. Not that he’s hard to pick out of a crowd with an imposing stature that leaves the majority of us looking up to say hello.


Ironically, says Hollis, despite his multi-XL size, he was regarded by his family as somewhat diminutive as compared to his identical twin brother, who is two inches taller than Hollis. This left Hollis with the unlikely nickname “Pee-Wee”, which was given to him affectionately by his mother because he was the so-called “runt of the litter.” Without a doubt though, his fellow workers consider Hollis a giant of a man in more ways than one.

Showing an immediate aptitude for operations and a team-player attitude put Hollis immediately in line for opportunity at Airways.  Moving from night operations to a position as an Ocean Account Manager on the day shift gave Hollis a strong base and broadened his skill set. When the Night Operations Supervisor spot became available, Hollis was at the top of the list of candidates and was promoted to the position in May of this year. As Night Supervisor, Hollis is responsible for mentoring a large number of our most inexperienced operations staff – a job that can literally set the tone for the future of Airways.  Fortunately, Hollis Hatch, in addition to being knowledgeable, is also a self proclaimed “people person.”  Hollis says, “I really enjoy the people (at Airways). I love dealing with the Agents and the customers, and I happen to be working with an excellent crew!”
Perhaps his ability to connect with others was nurtured at an early age by growing up in a military family.  Hollis’ father was a government contractor, which allowed he and his family to live and visit places all over the world. A little known, and interesting fact about Hollis is that he actually graduated High School while living in Cairo, Egypt, making him one of a very few Americans that can say they attended their high school graduation while standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza.
While Hollis lists his favorite things in the category of outdoor interests such as grilling, fishing, camping or just mowing the lawn, he still yearns for travel.  One of the top spots on the Hollis Hatch bucket list is occupied by a desire to someday make a return visit to Europe with his wife.
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David Hood Completes 35 Years with Airways!

Anyone who follows Airways on Social Media or visits our website knows how proud we are of the average tenure of our corporate staff here in Fayetteville. We seem to have an abundance of people that have chosen to make Airways their last career stop.

At the very top of the pinnacle is Dave Hood, the longest serving employee of Airways, having started his first day with the company back on June 15, 1981 – just one year after Airways was formed. Over the years, Dave has been tasked with numerous responsibilities, which include Operations Manager, VP of Domestic Operations, and now as Vice President, Compliance Officer and Vendor Relations. We would like to wish Dave well as he continues his career at Airways into the future.
Congratulations Dave!
Dave Hood
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Introducing Our New Corporate Marketing Literature

Airways Freight is releasing a new corporate brochure design. The new literature is now available in both print and digital media.  The printed version can be obtained on request through your national agent representative or direct from corporate headquarters by calling 1-800-643-3525 or by emailing Digital copies can be downloaded directly from the corporate website  Mike Nimmo, Airways Director of Marketing stated, “We hope this new look will be aesthetically pleasing and informative; illustrating the diversity of cargo capabilities our company possesses.”


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Airways Announces High Level Operations and Admin Promotions

Airways Freight Corporation today announced promotions for two of its Vice Presidents in the areas of International and Domestic Operations.

Brad Watson, currently the Vice President of International Air and Transborder Operations has been promoted to Executive Vice President of International Services. He will lead Airways in all aspects of the company’s international services, including hiring and training of all international personnel, oversight of all air, ground, ocean and customs operations, and directing the company’s path for international product and trade show markets. Watson has devoted his nearly 26 years to Airways exclusively in the International area.


Tom Hatfield has been promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager. Hatfield’s primary operations responsibility will focus on Domestic Services which is currently comprised of six separate Divisions: Tradeshows, Performing Arts, Domestic Product, Medical/Anatomical, Utilities, and Truckloads. Tom Hatfield has been with Airways for 28 years.


Today’s announcement was made by the President of Airways, Denny Wood, who said, “We have had many discussions and planning sessions on the direction of our company, the structure of our management group and leadership into the next decade. We feel one hundred percent confident that this exciting change is what is best for our company, staff, customers and agents around the globe.”

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How A Freight Company From The Land of the Razorbacks Can Save Your Bacon When You Ship Your Exhibit to a Trade Show.

When (or if) you think of Northwest Arkansas, it may be in terms of the celebrated Arkansas Razorbacks athletics, a part of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville main campus – perennial contenders in Southeastern Conference contests in a variety of sports disciplines. More people around the globe recognize it as home to the world’s largest retail chain, Wal-Mart. What probably doesn’t come to mind is a freight shipping company that is a powerhouse in trade show and special event shipping serving both domestic and international markets. Located so far from the mega convention centers like Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago, how did Airways Freight become known as one of the top exhibit freight specialists in the trade show shipping world?

The early ‘90’s of the last century was a golden age for trade shows. The computer industry was skyrocketing for manufacturers of both business and personal computing hardware. New software companies were sprouting up weekly. Seemingly anything computer-related was given the green light by investors, and of course, all of these new start-ups needed to promote their products and services through face-to-face marketing – most often trade shows. Thus was born the era of the super-size trade show where thousands of exhibiting companies would gather at shows like COMDEX and PC Expo hoping to catch the eye of the buying public. No expense was spared, and marketing budgets saw no top end.

It was at this time that Airways Freight Corporation was transitioning from a freight forwarder who specialized in highly expedited freight – primarily industrial in nature – and looking at expanding into other markets. Realizing that trade shows were similar in various aspects to other time-sensitive shipping in the manner of movement, but lacking a knowledge of the unique blend of logistics, competing interests and politics involved in U.S. tradeshows, the decision was made that an education best learned on the road was required.

Just prior to the computer boom, trade shows were alive and well in other industries such as building, medical, and aerospace. Serving those exhibitors was just a handful of specialized shipping forwarders who characterized their services with an air which bordered on the mystical. Special events coordinators were led to believe that their shipments would somehow enter a black hole with disastrous consequences awaiting them should XYZ company not be chosen as the carrier of choice for an exhibitor’s trade show goods. This led to extreme over-pricing, while fewer choices in shipping companies often meant sacrificing service with victimized exhibitors feeling they had little recourse. Conditions became increasingly worse for computer show corporate planners as the old guard shipping companies took advantage – realizing cost was no object in the exhibitors’ zeal to get their goods to market.

The Airways strategy for breaking into the trade show market was to learn every phase of the tradeshow industry, both as a show organizer’s official shipping contractor, working with exhibitors on a direct basis, and finally in developing methods of working in harmony with – and not against – the unions and other contractors who have ultimate control of the shipping process at the convention halls. Next was to introduce fairness to the exhibitor, both in pricing and in service – a task that not only brought push back from many competitors, but surprisingly – from the exhibitors themselves. With the belief ingrained in the minds of the typical exhibiting company that only high prices would ensure proper care of their valuable goods to a trade show, many were wary of the lower shipping rates introduced by Airways at the time. Through exhibitor education and vigilance to delivering performance above profit Airways was able to gain trust and confidence, which quickly translated to loyalty.

The trade show community is huge but very tight-knit. Failures on the part of service providers become wide-spread knowledge on a scarily rapid basis. Fortunately for Airways, the reverse was also true, and in short order, Airways was becoming a household name in the industry, recommended by exhibitors of both large and small companies.

From there, Airways continued to advocate for better rates and service on behalf of the exhibitor through various industry affiliations such as IELA, ESCA, IAEE, E2MA and HCEA. Today, Airways is “whole hog” in favor of their exhibitor following and is widely hailed as the company of choice for the very best in trade show and special events shipping.

By Mike Nimmo, Director of Marketing for Airways Freight Corporation

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Airways Freight Moves “State of the Art” Exhibition for Crystal Bridges



According to studies, there are more than 4 million artists throughout the United States who are actively producing art, yet only a fraction of that number ever receive nationwide notoriety. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art decided to change that by sending two of their curators on a 100,000-mile year-long journey to visit over 1,000 lesser known artists’ studios in virtually every part of the country.

The result is an eclectic collection of over 100 contemporary works of art selected from among living artists and acquired by Crystal Bridges that range from the beautiful to the bizarre. The exhibition drew record crowds to the northwest Arkansas museum in 2015. Click here for the “State of the Art” trailer on YouTube.

In 2016 Crystal Bridges put “State of the Art” on the road, with 5,000 square feet of gallery space dedicated to the exhibition at the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center in Savannah, Georgia. The showing will run from February 19 – September 4.  A near simultaneous opening at the Minneapolis Institute of Art took place on February 18, displaying works of art from the collection through May 29. Another version of “State of the Art” will be closing on March 26 at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee where it opened on January 29.

With so much at stake, the planning for moving the exhibition and the irreplaceable works of art were intricate to say the least with packaging and handling being of utmost concern. To ensure proper crating Crystal Bridges contracted with a Maryland based company to protect the items in the collection. For an interesting blog article on the packaging process, click here. Airways Freight, the Official Shipper for “State of the Art” is providing the transportation logistics for each exhibition.

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