freight: just the word conjures up
images of rough-and-tumble loading docks, late in the night,
lit with huge mercury vapor lights. The inhabitants of such a
world have traditionally been big, burly types, yes—of a certain gender. Well, that’s the stereotype, anyhow.
One look at the ladies in the luncheon at the Airforwarders
Association (AFA) meeting in Orlando, Florida, would dispel
that vision. These women have all risen, some slowly, some
astonishingly rapidly, through the ranks of the tough and
tumble world of air cargo to become owners, COOs, and top
managers in the business. And they know their business.
Take Laura Sanders, for an example. A vice president of operations for the consolidated freight conglomer- ate Lynden International, Inc., Sanders knows her busi-
ness. “In today’s environment, especially in transportation,
customer requirements have radically changed,” she ex-
plains. “Between security and the regulatory requirements,
and the costs….we’ve been through just in time and supply
chain revolutions….and if the clients’ factories and processes
go down…how do we help them?” Sanders’ job is to find out.
“We cover air, surface, water and rail to move our custom-
er’s goods….we stay knowledgeable and flexible at all times to
serve our customers.”
Sanders came out of Washington University with a Bach-
elor’s degree in Business Administration and started work-
ing for Airborne Express almost immediately. She had the op-
portunity to cover the spectrum of available positions at that
company base; from customer service and dispatch to week-
end operations. Over eight and a half years she eventually
became the night operations manager, responsible for the
loading/unloading of the DC-9s that came in and out.
Beti Ward and Laura Sanders
photos by ryan t. Kern