“My father started Air & Sea International because he wanted a company that was all built on communication to our customers,” said Jason Fowler, president and COO of Air & Sea International / Freightlink. “He wanted everyone to be proactive and let the customer know if something wasn’t going to be delivered, instead of the customer finding out first. That was his whole philosophy in creating the company, and we’ve worked to continue down that vein.”
As a family-owned business, culture is what drives Air & Sea International’s growth and success. When Fowler started working for the company in 1996, there was just one other employee outside him and his father. However, from humble beginnings sprang a culture of synergy, trust and opportunity.
“If you have your culture nailed down, people will want to work, especially in times like this where it’s so difficult to find employees,” said Fowler.
He further explained that the company culture is one where they put the employees first. In turn, this mentality produces a high retention rate and excellent customer service.
“Our employees really value their time here and the people they work with,” said Fowler.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Air & Sea International has seen explosive growth. However, this growth came by turning supply chain disruptions into opportunities. In response to worldwide workplace changes, the company pivoted by developing an ongoing, fast-paced growth plan.
“We’ve put a lot of technology and visibility tools into place,” said Fowler. “So with that, and our customer service and culture, people were looking for some of these tools that we already had in place.”
Fowler’s favorite part about his career is communicating with other agents, especially overseas.
“It’s just good to get a different perspective on everything,” said Fowler. “This job really entails thinking outside of the box, investigating, and finding right-fit solutions for your customers. And that’s what it’s all about because every customer is so different.”
As a small business, Air & Sea International offers flexibility, an advantage larger companies may lack.
“We’re always looking for those right-fit solutions, especially now with the logistics and supply chain issues many companies are having,” said Fowler. “They come to a company like us to see what else is out there. And, that’s what we try to do.”
Small businesses play an integral role in Utah’s economic prosperity. As a small business itself, Air & Sea International is dedicated to forming partnerships with local entrepreneurs and treating them as a number one priority.
“Anytime you can support a small business, or buy something local, all that money stays within the community,” said Fowler. “Even for a freight forwarder like ourselves, all of our tax dollars are right here, in the state.”
As a Salt Lake Chamber member, Air & Sea International has formed lasting relationships within the business community through networking opportunities.
“Being involved is a good fit to give a boots-on-the-ground type of perspective to companies that maybe don’t have a logistics department or understand what’s going on in the whole industry,” said Fowler. “It’s important right now because there is so much disinformation out there on the supply chain that people need to be aware of. And, it’s very costly. It used to be cheap, but that’s all gone out the window.”
As buying habits continue to change, especially with an increase in technological advancements, Fowler advises entrepreneurs to pivot as workforce and supply chain challenges arise.
“We used to meet face-to-face to buy things and now, there’s so much e-commerce and that genie’s never going back in the bottle,” said Fowler. “You’ve got to pivot.”
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