ICE Completes 35 Years!
August 31, 2023 ICE Stories
The 1st of September of 2023 marks the 35th year anniversary of International Cargo Express.
Our achievements would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our clients and stakeholders. Their trust and collaboration have been the cornerstones of our success. We sincerely thank you for the support and look forward to maintaining lasting relationships and providing exceptional service as we move into the future.
We asked our staff across Australia to share a word in celebration of our 35 years of success. Here is what we heard:
Ronald Spahr – Managing Director and founding member
In 1988 it was time to leave the corporate world. I was asked to join a start-up company called International Cargo Express. No staff, no agents. A blank sheet, but I had motivated colleagues, experienced colleagues, and colleagues I liked.
I have also been a person who enjoys excitement and new challenges. This was right down my alley, and I joined without considering the dangers at all. I followed my mantra, which I have yet to change – Do as best as you can and enjoy the ride.
I remember our second move from Ralph Street to Doody Street, a defining moment for certain. One day we decided to look over our new office and all staff then were pressing their noses against the windows from the outside of our new abode. “It’s big… How do we fill it… Can we afford it?… We do not have enough furniture…”
We outgrew the office within a few years and shifted to Coward Street, where we remain until this date.
ICE started in a small office without an air conditioner unit, but with a working telex machine, and it grew to what it is now.
I am proud of what we have achieved, it’s a company with great staff and a good culture and I do not see why this cannot continue.
Let’s dream big! Happy anniversary!
Saskia Ophorst – National Compliance & Administration Executive
I remember all the shoes for Betts which I spent many, many years arranging and was the reason for the trip to Hong Kong & China.
Generally, the most memorable shipments are the ones that went wrong that got fixed. In general, exports are mostly more memorable when they’re technical or large. Like the boab trees out of Darwin would have to be the most impressive looking. Or the 8x flatracks of floating pontoons to the Seychelles.
I can say that all the people I’ve met and worked with over the years have been lovely, the work was engaging, sometimes challenging and rarely boring, making it a pleasure to work for ICE for all these years.
Below, a look into the ICE offices Saskia has worked over the years:
George Kyriakides – Director and Branch Manager
I joined ICE 10 months after its inception back in 1988, with a brief departure in 1996 before returning to the company in 2001.
Over the years I have witnessed firsthand the growth and success that ICE has achieved, and it is amazing to look back and see how far we have come.
The loyalty and commitment of our team members, many of whom have been with us for a significant part of the journey is a testament to who we are.
There have been numerous achievements that I am incredibly proud of, but none more than the people we have working for us.
I want to express my gratitude to the entire ICE team, as without your hard work, dedication, and commitment, we would not be where we are today.
Congratulations to the ICE team on reaching our 35th anniversary!
Courtney Spahr – Cartage Coordinator
Being with ICE for the past 6 years I have learnt that in the fast-paced world of logistics, every milestone achieved is a testament to dedication, collaboration and expertise of our team.
Being part of ICE’s team during covid, we had to navigate the unforeseen disruption in our supply chain. During the pandemic, it was very difficult to coordinate deliveries. Cargo became available and I had to negotiate with the cartage operator as well as the customer if we can deliver always, certain times, not at the moment. We had less drivers available, and booked drivers fell ill.
We also had to transition from the familiarity of our office environment to a full remote setup literally overnight. This was challenging for me as I had only just come back from holidays overseas and we had to all learn how to operate working from home very quickly. ICE management ensured we had the correct and proper resources to ensure we had a smooth transition into our life working from home.
Although this wasn’t the easiest time in logistics, this memory definitely stands out. As everything we experienced together we did it as a team we adapted and grew together. The teamwork that was displayed, the understanding of the situation and how helpful everyone was remarkable to see.
Witnessing this level of dedication reaffirmed my beliefs that we do in fact have the best place to work.
John Mangiafico – Director and Branch Manager
What an incredible journey I’ve had the privilege of embarking on since joining ICE in 1989. The personal growth, team development, challenges, and unforgettable achievements have truly been remarkable.
Numerous standout moments come to mind, but one that stands out at the forefront is the task of airfreighting a Limousine Bull from Melbourne to Canada. This endeavour posed endless challenges, as we navigated through Quarantine barriers in Melbourne, Sydney, the USA, and Canada. We diligently ensured that all export and import permits were in proper order, all the while prioritizing the well-being of the bull. The process involved countless sleepless nights, yet the story reached a joyous conclusion, with our bull’s breeding capability remaining unaffected.
The dedication of my team is truly remarkable, as they place the utmost importance on addressing our clients’ needs, guaranteeing the provision of top-notch services. The valuable assistance extended by the other directors has been instrumental in growing the company, and we attribute our success to the invaluable support of our clients. I’d also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my wife and family for standing by me during this time.
With anticipation, we look forward to the next exciting period of enriching challenges, that will contribute to this remarkable and ongoing journey.
Alice Farley – Branch Manager and Head of Marketing and HR
ICE for me has always been like being part of a family sharing the same goals and motivation to come to work every day and do the best we can for our clients.
Brisbane has experienced a fair amount of growth in the last 5 years and with it we have employed some of the best minds with the best attitudes in the industry. I am proud of what we have achieved as a Branch because we confidently stand behind the service we offer. With our team we work on solutions, and I reflect fondly on the moments where clients call us with urgent requests, and everyone rolls their sleeves up to work on a resolution.
Over the past 7 years working at ICE, I have enjoyed the moments outside of the business with the team as much as the day-to-day. Running the bridge to Brisbane together, heading to the driving range or the annual Christmas party always full of fun and a genuine desire to spend time together.
Every day I am challenged coming in to work but every day I am also empowered to make decisions and that is one of the best things about ICE. You deal with actual people who can deliver results.
35 years is just the beginning…
Alexandria Cottaris – Import Export Coordinator
I love the fact that most staff members are like part of the furniture here at ICE. Many of us been working together for several years and it feels like home (family).
From Management to supervisors and staff members they are all so wonderful. It is so wonderful to be part of the ICE team.
I remember the 25 years celebration like it was yesterday and I am extremely proud that ICE have been going strong and we are now celebrating 35 years together. Cheers!!!
ICE is the most professional but yet family-oriented company I have ever worked with and I am honoured to be part of this team. Looking forward to many more years to come!
Annie Brogan – Customer Service Supervisor
Almost 4 years, beginning March 2020 , onset of the Pandemic, and although we spent most part of that year and the next WFH, I always felt a sense of belonging.
A warm and positive attitude is evident, along with feeling valued and recognized.
ICE provides an extension of family, not just a workplace, and always encourage us to look after our health and our family.
It’s not one thing that stands out, it’s all the little things that make my days enjoyable.
Harlam Beltran – Storeman
My time in this company has not been as long as I wish, but these almost 4 years have allowed me to discover myself within a great company that trusts and believes in its employees, offering them the possibility to grow within the company.
I am a testament of this, as four years ago, I began with a casual shift to unpack a container. Over time, my shifts became more frequent, and with my commitment and increasing knowledge, I was presented with better and better opportunities. This journey led me to my current role in charge of the Melbourne warehouse storage where I still stand learning day by day.
Tara Moores – Customer Service Supervisor
I have been with Ice for 16 years now and through this time I have seen it grow and grown myself. ICE is not only a company but a big family.
I have been lucky enough to work in two ICE offices Sydney and Brisbane. Through this, I have gotten to experience lots of different things from celebrating ICE’s milestone 20th Birthday at Taronga Zoo with all the members from all states flying in to celebrate. Such a wonderful night was had by all.
Over the many years I have gotten to see big cargo like a 54ton bucket to Rockhampton. I have got to clean cargo, dealt with DG cargo and much more. There are no dull moments.
But what makes ICE special are the people I have got to work alongside and the many antics that we have got on up to over the years. Some of the most memorable were Secret Santa’s done in Sydney and the many Christmas parties to different locations in Brisbane.
Michael Porret – Business Development Manager
When I arrived in Melbourne in 1998, I had left our agent in Switzerland. I worked at the head office in Basel where 400 staff were employed. The building had 6 floors with offices above ground. A ground level with over 1 km of ramps for trucks and the level below had 5 railway tracks running into the warehouse from the end of the building. Below ground were another 4 levels of warehouse space (each 1000 x 500 meters) with automated pallet trolleys on tracks.
In Melbourne I came to the office where we were only 6-7 staff at the time. Outside across the road I noticed a paddock with some cows grazing…
There was a particular strong ice-cold wind and I thought to myself “Where in the world have I ended up. This is not the Australia I knew from travelling here (7 years prior)”.
Fast forward 35 years, I am still here. That says everything.
Nickolas Tumai – Global Forwarding Consultant
What I am proud of is the amount of staff that have been here for 5+ years! Meaning they enjoy being a part of this company. Hence the reason why they are here for so long. Some may call it loyalty. I have found that it goes both ways in this company.
Sophie Karalis – Assistant Accountant
Time never stands still, and so to ICE, I say congratulations to 35 years in the business.
Cheers to all that have come, gone and are still here.
My fondest memories go way back (when I was younger) with the originals Peter Timmermann and Bob Lipton. ICE was smaller, I think 8 people in Sydney, when I joined. And I still remember Adam Colvin (same as ever) to this day asking me – “ How can I help you?“. Or, there was the classic Bob Lipton reply to a question “ I’m seeing a man about a dog “.
We must have got something right all those years ago. ICE has continued to grow and may they do so in the future.
Daniel Ruppas – Import Ocean Customer Service
It feels like only yesterday I started working at ICE, but in fact, it was almost 20 years ago back in 2004.
Over the past 20 years, ICE Management and Staff have been there to support me through all major events in my life and I couldn’t be any happier sharing these special memories with my ICE family.
Working here is like working with family. Through the years I have experienced ICE grow into the highly reputable company we are to this date.
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