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December 15, 2017
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Remembering a great humanitarian

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We urge all who knew, or knew of, Jock Menzies to take a moment to pause, reflect, and honor his memory.

Life in the age of social media means being inundated with information—some welcome, some not. But making liberal use of the "delete" key isn't always the answer. The messages occasionally contain useful bits of information—the kind that helps you stay abreast of market developments or stay connected to friends and colleagues. Some even cause you to pause and reflect.

Such was the case for me on April 4. I received a message alerting me to a friend's birthday, complete with a link I could use to send along good wishes. I had last enjoyed the friend's company over lunch at an industry conference last June.

Sadly, it turned out to be the last time I would speak with my friend. A few weeks later, tragedy struck, taking the life of one of the most distinguished players in the logistics and supply chain world.

The friend was John T. "Jock" Menzies III, and as LinkedIn reminded me, he would have—make that should have—turned 70 on April 4. But on August 17, 2013, Jock died suddenly at his home in Maryland. He was descending a 300-foot hill in a private cable car when a malfunction sent him falling about 200 feet. He died of his injuries the following day.

Although he had a successful career as a warehouse executive, Jock will be best remembered for his accomplishments as co-founder and head of the nonprofit American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), launched in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Recognizing that logistics services were paramount to supporting rescue and recovery efforts, Jock helped develop an online portal that allows relief groups and individuals to post critical supply chain needs, which are then matched to the capabilities and resources of shippers and logistics service providers. It's safe to say that Jock transformed the way the logistics community, relief organizations, and individuals respond to natural disasters around the world.

Coincidentally, around the same time the LinkedIn reminder arrived, we received word of a most appropriate and fitting tribute to Jock.

The International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), an organization with which Jock worked closely in connection with ALAN, announced that it would name its most prestigious award for him. At its annual meeting, the Jock Menzies IWLA Distinguished Service and Leadership Award was presented to another of Jock's many friends, Joel Anderson, IWLA's former president and chief executive officer.

"[Jock] was a gentleman in every sense of the word and a model for us all," IWLA Chairman Paul Verst said of Menzies. "His legacy will continue to live on."

We urge all who knew, or knew of, Jock to take a moment to pause, reflect, and honor his memory. We should never forget how fortunate we—and indeed, the entire logistics community—were to have our lives touched by such a fine man.

Mitch Mac Donald is Group Editorial Director of AGiLE Business Media.

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