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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.

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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.

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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

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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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