In his song, “Give them their roses,” Paul Thorn makes the point that we tend to express our thanks for someone only after they are gone. The chorus: “You’ got to give them their roses while they’re here.” So today, I give some roses to the people at MHI and the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education.
About 15 years ago, Russ Meller called to ask if I would be interested in joining the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE). I barely knew Russ at the time; my reply was, “What’s CICMHE?” Little did I know I was about to lay the foundation for the rest of my career.
I did join CICMHE, and I had the privilege of working with many colleagues on the Council for the next 10 years: John Usher, Brett Peters, Dale Masel, Kimberly Ellis, Benoit Montreuil, Alice Smith, Jeff Smith, Bill Ferrell, and of course, Russ Meller, and on and on—too many names to mention. I am so thankful for these colleagues! They have all become my colleagues, co-authors, and friends, and none of it would have been possible without CICMHE. And without CICMHE, I would never have attended the International Material Handling Research Colloquium (IMHRC), and would never have met Kai Furmans, René de Koster, Kees Jan Roodbergen, Iris Vis, Eric Ballot, Yossi Bukchin, Debjit Roy, Thorsten Schmidt, Ivo Adan—all brilliant scholars who have raised my game and inspired me. Thank you! You have all contributed to my life in ways you do not know. Thank you, all.
But relationships with other academics was not the only benefit of joining CICMHE. Unexpectedly, I gained many new friends within the material handling industry itself, leaders of the most important companies in our field: George Prest, John Nofsinger, John Hill, Brian McNamara, Dave Young, Colin Wilson, Dave Lippert, Dave Reh, the late Will Heddles, and on and on—again, too many names to mention. (And a special shout out to Gary Forger and Mike Ogle, who labored so hard to put together the Roadmap.) Without realizing it, these guys have taught me so much about how companies work, how to lead people, and how to think about technology and the workforce. I am so thankful for you all!
Within CICMHE and MHI, I found not just a professional organization, but a community. I could tell from my very first meeting many years ago, that people at MHI really cared for each other, not just about their bottom lines. It has been an absolute privilege to work with you all, to have fun with you all, and to dream with you all.
Thank you. Here’s hoping for another 15 years of friendship.