Jacksonville ‘s 40 Under 40

In less than 10 years with the Jacksonville Port Authority, Aisha Eccleston has worked her way up from entry-level administrative secretary to an essential leadership role at the Port Authority, handling the accounts of several Fortune 500 companies and generating new business while simultaneously volunteering her time to local startups interested in expanding their businesses to the global marketplace. Rather than looking back at her time fulfilling entry-level tasks as forgetful stepping-stones, Eccleston said she feels the lessons learned during those early years continue to bear fruit as she tends to a vast array of responsibilities today.

schleicher-2844387-aishaecclestonbiopic_750xx576-768-19-0“Starting from the ground level gave me an added advantage as I moved up,” Eccleston said. “I still today know things about things work within the company that maybe someone higher up doesn’t quite understand.”

For a short time, Eccleston served in a secretarial role under JAXPORT Executive Vice President Roy Schleicher and credits him with providing her the earliest opportunities to advance her career. Since then, Eccleston has impressed at every step of the way, as she was recognized by her colleagues for the prestigious “Golden Sail Award” – which honors Jaxport employees who exhibit consistent dependability, community involvement, willingness to take initiative, and go above and beyond in their daily work — and she was selected by port leadership to collaborate directly with White House staff to organize George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s presidential visits to Jaxport. Today, through organizations like the UNF Small Business Development Center, Eccleston volunteers her knowledge and expertise in service of lifting up dreamers like herself.

What inspired your success? A person that works here that has been really special has been Roy Sleicher (executive vice president.) I was his executive assistant. As much as he liked the work I was doing for him, he pushed me out of there rather quickly so that I could keep moving up. Every opportunity I’ve been afforded has been because of him. I can’t say enough good things about him as far as what he’s done to provide me opportunities for growth.

How do you inspire others? Just being a regular person. Nothing was given to me. I didn’t even know how I would pay for college, but I worked three jobs at a certain point. It was hard, but I just worked at it. Hard work does pay off. If you haven’t dug all the way in to make something out of your life, then you can go deeper

Suddath has formed a new business unit focused solely on the hospitality market

The Suddath Companies, a global provider of relocation, transportation and logistics services, announced the company has expanded their hospitality business and formed Suddath Hospitality Solutions. Suddath has been in the hospitality service for years, but now the new unit will have a leader and a more focused vision.

Suddath Hospitality Solutions will work with hotel owners and representatives worldwide to receive, store and consolidate everything from furniture to electronics that will be installed in new and renovated hotels

“It’s a good time in the hospitality market right now. Global business travel spending hit an all-time record in 2015 with $1.2 trillion and we are seeing a lot of hotel renovation and construction across the country,” said Mark Scullion, president of Suddath’s workplace and commercial business. “It’s a perfect opportunity for us to put our foot on the gas and build this business on a national scale.

Currently the hospitality shipping business functions with one market working with one provider and for companies with multiple locations across the globe, it can lend itself to a lack of continuity for hotels with a large network of locations. Suddath will now provide services that allow buyers to work with the same company across different markets providing consistency and predictability to their service, the company said.

“With our new business, Suddath can get really get good with working for one hotel brand or one hotel investor group to where we become an extension of them everywhere they have a project,” Scullion said.

Suddath Hospitality Solutions is also using technology to help this project work and provide one-of-a-kind service to their customers.

“We are leveraging technology in a way that hasn’t been seen before in the hospitality business. When you envision an interconnected network with 26 worldwide locations that can look at their inventory live, there is tremendous benefit in that for our customers.”

The leader of Suddath Hospitality Solutions is Tony Little. Little brings nearly 30 years in the relocation and transportation industry, most recently serving as managing director of hospitality services for the Kane Company in Washington, D.C., where he helped grow annual revenues exceeding the $13 million mark.

“He’s got tremendous experience, knowledge, and connections in the hospitality business and when you add our resources and financial strength to that, you can imagine the potential of him and the team here,” Scullion said.

Little will be working with a team of at least 30 people, when in the past Suddath had about 5 employees actively engaged in their hospitality services. Suddath Hospitality Solutions is already working on a 900-room full scale hospitality installation in Los Angeles. Suddath cannot reveal the name of the hotel due to contractual obligations, but the project is the largest in the state of California.


Riverside Chevrolet of Jacksonville will kick off its official grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, April 5, at 3494 Philips Highway, Jacksonville, FL 32207.

The celebration will be from 5 to 7 p.m., starting with the ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. with the JAX Chamber.

“We are very excited for the ribbon cutting ceremony –– especially hosting the JAX Chamber and inviting the community be a part of the celebration. Additionally, a donation to the Jacksonville USO will be made on behalf of event attendees,” said General Manager Damon Ferguson.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet the staff, tour the facility, and enjoy light appetizers, refreshments, and door prizes that Riverside Chevy will be providing as a thank you to guests. In addition to the ceremony, there will be a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 8, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The general public is invited to attend the celebration which will feature activities for children and adults. RSVP at http://riversidechevyjax.com/grandopening

About Riverside Chevrolet

Riverside Chevrolet is a full-service dealership serving Jacksonville, Orange Park, Atlantic Beach, St. Augustine, and neighboring areas. They feature a large selection of new and used Chevrolet cars and trucks including the Camaro, Cruze, Corvette, Impala, Tahoe, and the Silverado. For more information, visit http://riversidechevyjax.com

Crowley begins construction of new LNG bunker facility at Jaxport

       Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple.

   Crowley Maritime Corp. and Eagle LNG Partners recently began construction of a new shore-side, liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at Jaxport’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal. The LNG bunker fueling facility will serve Crowley’s new Commitment Class, LNG-powered, combination container/Roll-on Roll-off ships, which are under construction for use in U.S to Puerto Rico trade.

lng tang

Within the month, Chart Industries is expected to deliver two of its new, 1-million liter Decinske Giant cryogenic tanks for LNG storage at the site. Crowley is investing more than $550 million in two new innovative ships, along with a new 900-foot pier. Also, Crowley has invested in three new gantry cranes and improvements at its Isla Grande terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

      The start of construction marks a milestone as we continue making progress with our partners, supplier Eagle LNG and Chart Industries, manufacturer of cryogenic storage tanks,” said Matt Jackson, vice president of Crowley, LNG. “LNG will provide a cleaner, efficient fuel source for our industry-leading Commitment Class ships, and our new JAXPORT bunkering terminal will support efficient operations with state-of-the art technology for bunkering operations.”

Crowley’s LNG and logistics groups are supporting construction of the Jacksonville facility by providing engineering expertise and transportation solutions for the equipment at the site. The facility will serve as the fueling station for the LNG-powered ships.

Weighing 260 tons, each cryogenic storage tank holds enough LNG to cover an average family’s electricity demand for 1,000 years. The tanks are en route to Jacksonville from Europe.

“Because of its multiple benefits, including being cleaner for the environment, we expect LNG demand for ship fuel to increase to 30 million tons a year by 2030. We recognize Crowley’s leadership as an early adopter of this fuel,” said Eagle LNG President, Sean Lalani.

The combination container/Roll-on Roll-off ships will begin service in the second half of 2017 and first half of 2018. The ships, which are some of the world’s first to be powered by LNG, are designed to travel at speeds up to 22 knots and carry containers ranging in size from 20-foot standard to 53- foot-long, 102-inch-wide, high-capacity units, along with hundreds of vehicles in enclosed, weather-tight car decking.

JIA Ranks No. 1 in customer service among North American airports

courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple

Jacksonville International Airport is ranked No. 1 in customer service among North American airports in 2016, according to the Airports Council International.

ACI, the trade association of airports, awarded JAX airport the award as a part of the Airport Service Quality Awards.

delta-air-lines_750xx2700-1519-0-253JIA also ranked third worldwide for ASQ’s “Best Airport by Size” in the five to 15 million annual passengers category. This marks the first time JIA airport received this distinction.

These awards validate our team approach to customer service where the entire airport community has a stake in our travelers’ experience,” Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said. “It also confirms the value of listening to our travelers and adapting to their needs.”

The ASQ program is unique as the airport industry’s only global benchmarking program measuring overall satisfaction of passengers at the airport. Implemented at over 320 airports worldwide, the ASQ is a statistically-valid survey of passengers at the airport. The in-depth survey covers 30 areas of the customer service experience including check-in, security, wayfinding, and food and beverage. The resulting database allows for a comprehensive analysis of the customer service experience at each participating airport.

JIA tied with Indianapolis and Toronto Billy Bishop Airports for first place among North American airports. JIA also tied with Amman, Chiang Mai, Cochin, and Indianapolis airports for third place in the best airport by size category.

Jaxport Board approves purchase of land needed to deepen river

courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal reporter Junior Skeeple


jaxort1The Jaxport Board approved the purchase of conservation land needed for its deepening project.  Jaxport is pushing for local, state and federal funding for the almost $700 million project. The Jaxport Board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of two parcels of land totaling 53 acres. The cost of the land was about $457,000.

The port is purchasing more than 14.8 of the total 53 acres from JEA and the remaining 38.4 acres jointly owned by JEA and Florida Power & Light Co.  The board also approved $1.5 million in funding for preparation and monitoring work in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will manage the project to deepen 13 miles of the river. The work includes $608,000 for contract administration, design, procurement and construction, and $936,500 for environmental monitoring.

The port is sharing the costs with the Army Corps, which is overseeing the design and construction of the project.  The port authority included $46.6 million in its current operating budget to begin the dredging work. The money for dredging includes $31.6 million from the state and $15 million in port financing.

The deepening of the river would allow Jaxport to accommodate larger ships with more cargo. Both Savannah and Charleston, two major competitors for Jaxport, have begun dredging projects. Deepening the river in Jacksonville would keep Jaxport competitive with other southeast ports.

DHS approves Jax tech firm to improve port security

By Junior Skepple  Reporter Jacksonville Business Journal

nativecyberresolutions_750xx3457-1955-0-497idSoftware, an identification software company with offices in Jacksonville, has earned approval from the Department of Homeland Security for its SecureGate Ports technology. The identification software provides ports and port tenants with electronic security that can read and verify a worker’s credential, minimizing the chances of unauthorized personnel in secure areas.

The Business Journal spoke with the President and CEO of idSoftware, Jim Strey, and asked him how the software works and how many ports are using the new technology.

How does the technology work?

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is what employees need to enter a secured area of a port. Before our technology the TWIC card was seen as a “flash pass.” It was something that would be seen by a security guard from feet away with no real way of authenticating the card. The TWIC card now contains silos of information and certificates on the card that have to be challenged. The software also checks the expiration date so that we know the TWIC card is current and it also checks the card against a list the TSA produces every night of cancelled cards.

Has unauthorized personnel gaining entrance in to secure areas at ports been an issue in the past?

Yes. The history of this goes all the way back to days after 9/11 when Congress enacted a law that stiffened who has access to the country’s ports. Before this electronic verification the process was as simple as showing up to a port and showing your card with no real verification. There were many instances before where people should not have been let on the port.

How many ports are using SecureGate technology?

There are approximately 100 ports and terminal operations using this technology. Our company has 44 ports and private operators using our SecureGate technology system, with four being in the state of Florida.

JTA launches TryTransit Challenge


jta-transit-busThe Jacksonville Transportation Authority is launching their TryTransit Challenge this month. The TryTransit Challenge is an initiative plan to promote an economical and sustainable alternative to driving in Jacksonville.


The ridership campaign is kicking off today with chairman of the JTA board, Isaiah Rumlin, riding the Skyway with Councilman Bill Gulliford, from the Hemming Park park station.


The JTA’s TryTransit initiative will feature numerous campaigns and strategically positioned advertisements that are designed to attract potential customers to leave their cars at home and try one of the JTA’s convenient modes of travel.

JTA hopes to encourage existing customers to explore and travel to additional destinations taking the Skyway to the St. Johns Rivers Ferry, the trolleys, fixed-route buses and the new First Coast Flyer rapid transit service

Four Trends that Will Shape Supply Chain and Logistics in 2017

by Erik Malin On Jan 24, 2017

1. Growth of the Tech-Enabled Logistics Provider

Technology permeates every area of the supply chain. Tracking solutions, sensors and other devices embedded in cargo and vehicles provide a real-time picture of assets (of all types, not simply trucks) in the field. On the backend, transportation management systems (TMSs) are becoming increasingly sophisticated, providing comprehensive transportation management from end to end.

Shippers and carriers will continue to lean on providers in 2017 as the tech leaders. Both parties, along with receivers, will look to smart logistics providers to tie seamless TMSs together with onboard tracking platforms and inventory management. The goal is optimized supply chains connecting in transit based on a real-time inventory snapshot.

2.  Constricting Freight Market?

For much of the past year or so, shippers enjoyed favorable rates thanks to relatively highly available capacity. As a result, those who honed in on spot rates may have seen short-term cost savings, while those who focused on strategic carrier relationships traded potentially higher rates for long-term mutual benefits.

Recent reports indicate the pendulum may swing back in favor of the strategic approach, as capacity tightened modestly over the past few months. Several factors will influence whether this is a long-term or seasonal shift. Shippers and their logistics providers should keep a close eye on potential spikes in fuel cost, and pending hours of service and driver wage regulation, which will impact capacity in the coming years. In the case of market constriction, those with locked-in, long-term carrier relationships will reap the benefits—greater access to consistent and reliable capacity, more stable rates, and the ease and efficiency which come with familiarity.

3.  Mastering E-Commerce Logistics

Online purchases continue to account for an increasingly large portion of overall retail sales. In fact, the U.S. recently experienced the highest e-commerce penetration in history, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This completely reset consumer expectations and, in turn, retailers’ delivery policies. Next-day and even same-day delivery are fast becoming the norm and retailers now have more stringent delivery deadlines (not to mention fees for late deliveries). The e-commerce pie only continues to grow and retailers will continue to grapple for their share. We’ll likely see retailers establish a continuously broad network of distribution and fulfillment facilities near dense population centers. Enhanced business intelligence and in-vehicle technology will also be key, as retailers and their logistics providers seek ways to trim the e-commerce-related factors that historically drive costs higher, like high fuel consumption and inefficient routing.  Many retailers already established e-commerce delivery networks. Conquering the art of cost containment will be the next step

4. Digital Freight Matching versus Driverless Trucks

Uber’s acquisition of self-driving trucking platform Otto sent a message to supply chain stakeholders: Silicon Valley has commercial transportation and logistics in the crosshairs. Reaction varied, and many set their sights on the potential for driverless or co-piloted trucks. But it’s another aspect of the deal—Uber’s long-term goal to establish a national digital freight matching (DFM) network—that may be more intriguing in the short term for logistics providers.

The two don’t necessarily fall hand in hand. Though driverless trucks may have more curb appeal, DFM apps could change the way shippers connect with carriers (and how logistics providers do business). In their current form, DFM apps could work for smaller-scale shippers, but not those with a large, regional and national footprint. More importantly, DFM apps will drive the industry at large (including third-party logistics or 3PLs) to innovate and develop more advanced TMSs, as well as challenge providers to diversify services.

Technology advances will continue to drive seismic shifts in the logistics industry in 2017 and we’ve only scratched the surface for what that could look like. Each stakeholder within the supply chain will address these areas in different ways, but ultimately, with the same goals: To provide higher quality customer service and more efficient, secure transportation.



JAXPORT CEO talks about challenges facing the port in 2017

JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor addressed a crowd of about 200 people Thursday at the University of North Florida, recapping 2016 and looking into the future at the port’s annual State of the Port Address.jax-port-cranes

Although JAXPORT had a record-setting year in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) moved through the port, Taylor said he sees four main challenges facing the port in 2017 and beyond: Container alliances, global trade agreements, the political landscape, and the international economy, are concerns for the port that Taylor said leads to much uncertainty going forward.

In April of 2017, three major container partnerships, the Ocean Alliance, The Alliance, and the 2M Alliance will finalize their service operations and deployments. The partnerships will collectively control 87 percent of global container capacity in the world. All three of the alliances are currently operating out of JAXPORT, but their operations can change through altered trade agreements with the United States.

The Trump administration removed the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are issues crucial to the success of JAXPORT. With Asian container movement through JAXPORT rising 19 percent in 2016, free trade between the U.S. and the Asian-Pacific region are imperative to the success of the JAXPORT.

“In the U.S. so many of the things we enjoy everyday can only be produced in the quantity and quality and the timeliness that we want them here in this market is in the Asian-Pacific region,” said JAXPORT CEO, Brian Taylor. “The opportunity lies in creating smarter trade agreements with better terms for all ensuring that global commerce can continue.”

China was also a big topic at the State of the Port address. Taylor said 17 percent of Chinese exports, roughly 4 percent of their gross domestic product, is tied to trade with the United States. He also said 24 percent of U.S. exports are moving through China. President Trump signing an executive order removing the U.S. from the TPP, has given China the opportunity to come to their own trade agreement with the 11 nations that were included in the TPP