Terry Head, 2019 Hall of Honor Recipient
Terry Head has been working in the household goods forwarding industry for more than 50 years—a business, as he says, that he “discovered by accident,” as many in the moving industry do. At the end of 2018, Head retired (or “rewired,” to use the term he prefers) as President of the International Association of Movers (IAM). His legacy is one of a vibrant, redefined Association that is poised to lead its member companies and the industry through the challenges of the foreseeable future.
Head says his stars permanently aligned when a friend who worked for a local mover told him his boss needed help for the approaching busy season. “I thought it would be a temporary thing until another factory job opened up,” says Head. “But I immediately fell in love with it on day one. I think the allure of the business was the contrast—every day was different.”
Over the next few years, Head worked as an estimator, packer, driver, warehouse manager, and salesman. That foundation helped him understand how all the moving parts of the business fit together. He then established and developed an international department at Victory Van Corp., before moving on to Panalpina, a Swiss-based freight forwarder whose mainstay was shipping military equipment to foreign governments. He subsequently returned to lead Victory Van Corp., making it one of the largest commercial office moving operations in the Washington, DC, area. He also became more deeply involved in what was then HHGFAA, and was elected Associate (now Core) Members Representative-at-Large in 1994. Three years later, when the Association named a search committee to find a new president, he applied.
When Head was chosen as President, HHGFAA was not in a good financial position. “A lot of people told me I was crazy to take this job,” he said, “because within a year they would either be bankrupt or merge with another organization. I was known in the business, and had the commercial knowledge they were looking for, as well as originality. I wasn’t scared to try new things, and I wasn’t afraid to fail. I also listened to people, and I wasn’t looking to change anything right away. I took my time and played by the rules—and at IAM, those rules are the by-laws.” With Head at the helm, the Association turned around its financial position and enjoys a significantly more stable base today.
During his 21-year tenure, Head racked up numerous accomplishments, but he is most proud of his role in establishing the IAM Young Professionals (IAM-YP) group. “That has been a big contribution to our growth and success up until now, but will be even more important going forward,” he says. “I don’t mean from just a revenue or participation standpoint, but from a leadership standpoint. Involving young members in leadership roles, giving them a view at the board level, lets the YPs know what the association is doing for them and where we want to go. Fostering their collaboration with similar groups at other associations has been a big plus for the industry. More recently, I think our current efforts with IAM Learning have raised the level of professionalism within the industry.”
Head is currently enrolled in a program at George Mason University to become certified as a professional coach, and he also serves as IAM’s President Emeritus in a consulting role to ISA and IAM. In the future, Head envisions putting together a group of consultants—industry subject matter experts—who can serve as resources when needed.
“I want to stay involved in the industry,” Head says, “but I also want to be able to enjoy life a little more. My wife, Laura, and I recently bought a place on the Jersey Shore, and I hope to be able to use my boats here in Virginia more than I do now.”