IAM president Terry Head (r.) and his soon-to-be successor, SVP Chuck White (l.)
For the past few months of the military’s prime moving season, the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office-Mid Atlantic — located at Fort Belvoir — has been busily handling the shipment, receipt and storage of personal property for military and civilian personnel across all Services within the National Capital Region and beyond. At Fort Belvoir alone this summer, over 500 individuals have been in-processed to date since the beginning of June, while over 550 individuals have been out-processed, according to the installation.
Meanwhile, nine-and-a-half miles north on the corridor — at One Beltway Center (5904 Richmond Highway) — a global trade association representing more than 2,000 moving and shipping companies and related product and service providers, is serving as the liaison between the household goods forwarding industry and government agencies like the Department of Defense (DoD).
“We’re the voice of the industry to the government, but we’re also the voice of government to industry,” said Terry Head, president of the International Association of Movers (IAM) and a lifelong resident of the Richmond Highway area.
In practical terms, that means IAM plays both an education and advocacy role — helping DoD understand roadblocks that shippers and movers face when helping transport service members’ household goods across the world, as well as relaying important information from the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) back to IAM members, according to Chuck White, senior vice president at IAM.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the industry is the shortage of truck drivers, said Head, who has seen many drivers age out of the workforce or switch to other industries like construction. IAM is trying to counter this trend by offering $5,000 scholarships to students at accredited colleges or trade schools who are pursuing degrees in moving, relocation, forwarding, logistics or related fields.
Head himself soon will be going back to school. After spending the past 21 years at the helm of IAM, he will be retiring early next year to do some consulting work and to pursue a certificate in leadership coaching for organizational well-being at George Mason University. He plans to continue taking a vested interest in the transformation of the original Mount Vernon High School from which he graduated 50 years ago. Brought up on neighboring Reddick Avenue, Head was a bat boy and equipment manager for the school’s athletic teams, once possessing the school’s keys since he and his best friend cleaned the stadium after football games.
“That building means a lot to me,” said Head. “I’m glad it’s going to be preserved, but I want to make sure it’s something the community can utilize. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.”
As a resident of Lorton and board member of the South Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Head is closely following what’s happening with the Embark Richmond Highway initiative. Having heard about the prospect of Richmond Highway revitalization “every decade” of his life, he’s pleased to see real effort being made and wider recognition of what the area has become.
“I drive up Route 1 to work every day, and I’ve watched the demographics of the businesses and people change over the years,” said Head. “Public transportation has always been a need here; Embark will allow that to be taken to another level. I’m excited about it. I really am.”
IAM first moved to the Richmond Highway corridor in 2005 when it outgrew its previous location in the City of Alexandria’s West End. The association’s leadership team liked the new location’s easy access to important and frequent destinations like Capitol Hill, Reagan National Airport and, naturally, Fort Belvoir. Although IAM’s present office building changed ownership in fall 2017, Head said that IAM is planning to stay put and, if necessary, take out additional space in the building as it continues to grow.
“We’re one of the largest associations here in Fairfax County,” said Head. “We operate locally but on a global scale, with member companies in over 170 countries.”
IAM’s headquarters also is convenient to National Harbor’s Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, where the association will hold its 56th Annual Meeting & Expo in early October. Besides providing extensive educational and networking opportunities for nearly 2,000 attendees — nearly two-thirds of whom are from overseas — IAM will use the event to formally launch its “IAM Here 2 Help” charitable affiliate that connects and coordinates relief efforts of the global mobility industry during humanitarian crises or natural disasters. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a 5K Fun Run that benefits both IAM Here 2 Help and “Move for Hunger,” a non-profit that works with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items for food banks.
Starting January 1, White — who spent part of his youth in the Richmond Highway area while his dad was stationed at Fort Belvoir — will take over as president of IAM. He’s preparing for that role by transitioning his military and government relations work to Daniel Bradley, the association’s newly appointed and first remote employee based near USTRANSCOM’s headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
One of White’s many priorities includes enhancing the association’s consumer face.
“We’ve helped many people get recommendations on movers,” said White. Those recommendations could be for office moves or other services like record storage and fine art as well, added Head.
Families looking to move into or out of the area can access related resources on the “Planning a Move” section of IAM’s website.
White — a former college football player and high school football coach — is eager to get out the word about career opportunities in the moving and shipping industries, especially to young people.
“I’d love to talk to anyone who is interested,” he said.