The Containerization and Intermodal Institute (CII) honored Robert F. Sappio, Chief Executive Officer of SeaCube Containers, with the 2023 Connie Award on Wednesday, September 13th, in front of more than 300 transportation industry leaders gathered at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach, CA.
Additionally, the CII Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ms. Brenda Martin, former Vice President of Terminal Services (retired) for Husky Terminal and Stevedoring LLC at the Port of Tacoma.
Each year, Connie Award recipients are honored for their significant contributions to containerization, global trade, and the transportation industry, as well as their innovative spirit and the excellent example they set for professionals who will be the industry's future.
CII President, the Honorable Steven Blust said: “Mr. Sappio is in the unique position to have expertise in two critical areas of the industry that dramatically impact the flow of cargo-- liner shipping and intermodal equipment leasing. Over his distinguished career, he has consistently exemplified the meaning of leadership and innovative thinking, which makes him an ideal Connie awardee.”
2023 Connie Award Honoree – Robert F. Sappio
A dynamic and well-respected leader, Mr. Sappio boasts a wealth of experience spanning over 40 years. After nearly three decades in senior leadership positions at American President Lines (APL), Mr. Sappio served as President for the Americas region for Rickmers-Linie as well as Managing Director for Alvarez & Marsal.
Joining SeaCube in 2014 as its Chief Operating Officer, he was then promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2017. In this role, Mr. Sappio has cemented SeaCube’s position as a leading intermodal equipment lessor with an emphasis on refrigerated equipment solutions.
When discussing the state of the industry, Mr. Sappio emphasized: “We should all be proud to work in our industry. We are the enablers of global commerce. We enable trade among nations. This industry does not need to be perfect to be worthy of defending it. And we are not perfect—we have work to do.”
One issue Mr. Sappio addressed as a significant area for improvement is the need for the US to have a deep water global container operator.
“We are the biggest trading nation in the world. We move more goods than any other nation, and yet we depend on foreign shipping companies to move our goods. Maybe before we hang up our cleats, this is something we should think about changing. This nation deserves a deep blue water shipping company,” Mr. Sappio said.
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – Brenda Martin
"CII is delighted to honor Brenda Martin with this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. She is being recognized for obtaining and maintaining the highest standards in terminal port operations as well as her dedication to mentoring and training future industry leaders," said Mr. Blust.
Over the course of her 26-year career in the maritime industry, Ms. Martin has played a pivotal role in advancing and delivering essential terminal services that facilitate the seamless functioning of international trade, with a particular focus on the Northwest Pacific region.
Having retired earlier this year, she has demonstrated unwavering diligence and professionalism during her tenure at Husky Terminal, culminating in a remarkably successful career in the maritime industry. Her invaluable guidance and mentorship have fostered the development of numerous exceptional operators, many of whom have ascended to prominent leadership roles within the marine terminal sector. Her lasting legacy and solid foundation provide a platform for future growth and advancement.
CII Scholarship Program
In a separate ceremony that preceded the Connie Long Beach event, CII underscored its commitment to industry education by conferring scholarships upon students who specialize in logistics, as well as the academic institutions that are instrumental in shaping its future leaders. Mr. Blust presented 18 scholarships.
"Our donors' incredible generosity allows CII to maintain its educational objective and motivates top talent to pursue a career in our industry," stated Mr. Blust.
As such, the following scholarship recipients, academic institutions, and corporate donor sponsors were acknowledged during the scholarship event:
Since its inception in 1992, CII has given more than $1 million in scholarships. Companies can support ongoing industry education by purchasing scholarships through CII, which start at $1,000.
Since 1972, the Connie Award has been presented by CII, which was formed in 1960. Over the years, the Connie Award has become the most sought-after recognition in these industries. Notable past recipients include Malcom McLean, Mario Cordero, William J. "Bill" Shea, Jr., Gene Seroka, the late Evergreen Group Chairman Y. F. Chang, James McKenna, Knud Stubkjaer, John Wolfe, Joseph Gregorio, Richard Steinke, Captain S.Y. Kuo, Matthew Cox, and Robert Pfeiffer, among others. To date, more than 70 individuals have been honored with this prestigious award.