Dear Valued Customers, Colleagues, and Cold Chain Partners,
This year has been a testament to our commitment to excellence, as evidenced by the remarkable achievement of reaching over a million hours without lost-time accidents in two more of our warehouses. These are our third and fourth such achievements this year, a feat that speaks to our steadfast dedication to safety.
Our Progress doesn’t stop there.
With six expansion projects actively progressing and another three set to be greenlit in 2024, we are scaling our capacity significantly to meet the demands of our customers across every major market. This expansion is not just about our growth; it’s equally about our customers’ growth.
USCS Lake City, FL, is the site of our first multifarious automation expansion. It embodies our leap from traditional methodologies to cutting-edge solutions that continue to propel the cold chain forward.
Our next fully automated high-rise facilities in Bethlehem, PA, and Lowell, IN, are set to redefine industry standards and productivity, and in 2024 we’ll be unveiling new details about projects located in the Midwest, Georgia, Texas and California.
By the end of 2024, we will have initiated the second wave of our transition to automated warehouses. From a modest 10% currently to an ambitious 40% of our total storage capacity will be automated in five years. Our trajectory is a reflection of our vision and commitment to pioneering innovative growth and mastering automated solutions.
Moreover, our retrofit automation and energy management initiatives are set to revolutionize our operations, targeting a 20% power savings across our network. Coupled with the implementation of our new Phenix warehouse management system, we are positioning ourselves for an unmatched competitive edge, providing cost-effective and sustainable solutions for our customers.
Our recent operations management transition marks a significant milestone, as exceptional leaders take the helm of our redefined area and regional divisions, enhancing our management efficiency. The new structure positions us for this next wave of 20% capacity growth over the next three years, preserving the integrity of our culture and honoring our commitment to service excellence.
As the holiday season approaches, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our employees, the board, and most importantly, our customers, for an outstanding 2023. We advance into 2024 with confidence, ready to face any industry challenges head-on.
In closing, I am very excited for 2024 as we continue to accelerate our initiatives fueling advancements in our network and the cold chain. We are leading to succeed and drive success for our industry, our communities, and our customers.
Here’s to a year of monumental growth, innovation, and success.
Larry Alderfer | President & CEO
Rod Noll – Best in the West
USCS celebrates Rod Noll, Senior Vice President, Western Region
The end of 2023 not only found USCS celebrating the holiday season—but also the 42-year career of one of its seasoned veterans, Rod Noll. This Fresno, CA, native’s career has grown and mirrored USCS’s overall western growth. A graduate of Cal State-Fresno, he left a construction supply company in February 1982 to become a Management Trainee at USCS Fresno. This coming February 2024, he will retire as Senior Vice President, Western Region.
For the record, USCS promoted Noll to Manager for its Fresno facility in 1983 and then Manager for its Tulare operation that opened in 1990. In 1991, USCS named Noll Vice President and Area Manager for USCS’s California Central Valley facilities. He later also assumed responsibilities for northern California in 1998. USCS later named Noll (among others) in 2015 as a Regional Senior Vice President.
“I am overjoyed to look at USCS’s nine ultra- modern facilities that we have built and expanded out west here over my career,” says Rod. “It’s also been rewarding to see so many younger colleagues growing their careers and taking predominant roles in the company.
More than anything, job fulfillment is all about the people.”
Asked about those people who most influenced his own career, Rod names three:
Pat Fitzpatrick, former Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (serving 1967- 2004): “Pat interviewed me three times before hiring me. He had a huge impact on me and served as my primary mentor. He was a boss who would pat you on the back and kick you in the butt at the same time—and you wouldn’t feel bad. He kept things lighthearted while doing his job.”
David Harlan, former President & CEO (serving 1979-2019): “Dave had a significant impact on my career, even from 3,000 miles away. He encouraged me to grow our footprint and went to our board to support every recommendation for building and expanding. That also meant supporting our 2014 expansion in Utah. He always said, ‘I’ll support you 100%.’”
Larry Alderfer, President & CEO: “Larry has been a positive force for me and the entire company since he joined USCS. I worked with him early in his career in Union City, CA, and I could tell from his energy and enthusiasm that he was destined to grow within our company. At one point, he faced the prospect having to leave the company to go back to the Northeast. I told him that we were looking to build there as well and talked to our management about this top-flight, young professional who could help. So he stayed with us. He’s very gifted, humble and transcends the work with his attitude. I like to tell our customers that I taught him everything he knows. LOL.”
On a more reflective note, Rod quite easily shares the spotlight for USCS’s western growth.“I’ve never been content to be the face of this region. Instead, I’ve loved getting into projects and making things happen. And when you look at our network, you can see that I didn’t do it alone. Our facilities, our people and service reputation are the envy of the industry, particularly here in California and the Central Valley. I’m also excited for our future, which includes more expansions and greenfield building.”
BEST WISHES, ROD!
“It’s hard for me to find the words for what Rod has meant to me in my career and my life. He has been my boss and mentor, a warrior companion on the West coast, a friend and even a sports provocateur. Rod has been the essence of the US Cold ‘soul’ and he created and led our success in the West. Above it all, he’s a devoted husband and loving father. Legend!”
—Larry Alderfer, President & CEO
“Working alongside Rod for 42 years has been one of the highlights of my USCS career. The South and the West have always had a special relationship and I credit (and thank) Rod for that. We have had many, many good times that we will remember forever. For me it is not goodbye, as I know we will continue to be close. However, I do want to take this time to wish Rod a very lengthy and healthy retirement. Well deserved buddy!”
—George Cruz, Senior Vice President, Southern Region
“I have worked with Rod at many different levels throughout more than 30 years at USCS. Rod has been nothing but supportive and has encouraged and challenged me to keep pushing forward. Ten years ago, when I moved from Operations back to Human Resources, I was able to work more closely with him. He is a consummate professional and his even-keeled approach to situations has been something that I have always admired.”
—Michelle Grimes, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
“Rod Noll is a remarkable leader and outstanding individual, who leaves behind a legacy of exemplary leadership that has resonated throughout our company and the industry. Rod, thanks for the years of service!”
—Mickey Hoffmann, Senior President, Corporate Development
“Congratulations Rod on your retirement! Over my 20 years with United States Cold Storage, you have always been a steady and positive influence not just for the company—but also for my USCS career. It is nothing short of amazing to look back and see how much growth you have directed in our Western Region over the span of 42 amazing years! This growth is not just in our sites but the tremendous team that you have assembled. If there is a silver lining for all of us, it is that you will be shepherding us in our land purchases and expansion projects for years to come. Just make sure and take advantage of ‘retirement’ to spend some of that extra time with Sheri, the girls and maybe a hobby or two!”
—Chris Harrington, Vice President, West Region
“I have been blessed to have worked with Rod Noll for 29 years and, I’m so thankful for his leadership, mentoring, and most of all his friendship. Rod not only has made such a huge impact not only on me— but also on our entire company. We will definitely miss seeing him daily. Congratulations on your retirement, and I wish you all the best on this new chapter in your life.”
—Chad Cox, Area Director, Southern Central Valley, CA & UT
Cold Crew members team up, take to the streets during the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend.
One fall weekend demonstrated just how much USCS employees enjoy teaming up both inside the office—and literally outside of work, as well. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Camden, NJ, directly across from Philadelphia, which hosted several running races— including its annual Patriot Challenge Marathon and Half Marathon—during the Nov. 17-19 weekend.
Twenty-five USCS employees— representing all functional departments— gathered on Saturday, Nov. 18, to run in one or more of three races: a Patriot Challenge 8K (4.97 miles), the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon (13.1 miles) or the Rothman Orthopedic 8K (4.97 miles). Meanwhile, United States Cold Storage sponsored the entire weekend event, which also raised
funds for the American Association of Cancer Research.
“We wanted to do this as a group so we all could run together and that’s why we picked Saturday,” says Frederick Caracciolo, USCS Procurement Manager. “We had a great response and I think it’s something USCS will continue to do as we move forward.”
Philadelphia Patriot Challenge 8K & Half Marathon
Philadelphia Half Marathon
Rothman Orthopedic 8K
First-Person Perspectives: What Motivated You to Run?
Fred Caracciolo: “I knew there are a lot of runners in Camden and thought it would be a great idea to get everyone together to support the American Association of Cancer Research.”
Paul Thomas: “It was a bonding experience with my sister, in memory of my mother.”
Josh Holi: “I find motivation from those around me who have running experience, but I think it’s more discipline than motivation. Regardless of motivation, it’s difficult to make those long runs during training. Having the discipline to do it even when you don’t want to is the quality I believe will get you across the finish line.”
Tommy Quinn: “My motivation comes from the people I am running with. I honestly hate running but knowing I’m doing
it with friends helps me find the drive I need…I looked forward
to cheering on my co-workers, especially the ones participating in two long races.”
Jennifer Lantro: “To end the race season on a fun note—smiling!”
Anna Johnson: “It’s all about crossing the finish line and a sense of accomplishment. You have to be dedicated to the commitment, which is why I like running.”
Natalie Larson: “I love the camaraderie of an event like this. Not just with US Cold but with the city of Philadelphia. If the whole city is essentially shutting down for something, I want to be part of it!”
Zafer Louisa: “It’s exciting to run alongside other team members from USCS. I appreciate Fred’s efforts in making it possible and look forward to seeing everyone finish strong.”
Eddie Russell: “I was looking forward to a new challenge with the Cold Crew!”
Elizabeth Eachus: “It’s fun to work towards a goal and running has always been a way to clear my head. Living in Philly, there are so many great places to run, which can make training fun.”
Mary Magee: “It’s fun feeling accomplished after a run and hearing the kids encourage me from the stroller. LOL.”
James L’Erario: “I did this for health reasons and because Fred insisted.”
Ravi Balike: “I just joined the organization about two months ago and I want to show support, mingle with the group at USCS and obviously, have fun!”
Nate Erlandson: “The various fitness and well- being improvements keep me motivated to run daily. And I just simply enjoy being able to run far distances. This also is a cool company event to participate in.”
Katie McElgunn: “To do something fun with my coworkers!”
Thomas Hrivnak: “I run for Veterans who never made it home.”
Gowtham Thangavelu: “Maintain Health for self-satisfaction and for my family. I also wanted to face a new challenge that I had thought about— but never done.”
Julia Giarratana: “I’m motivated for this race by my co-workers who are also running this year! I’m excited to experience the marathon weekend with the people I spend the majority of my time with. I’m also motivated by the fact that we will all be celebrating together after the race.”
Ice Cream of the Crop
USCS Covington wins Unilever 2022 “Warehouse of the Year” award.
When it’s hot outside, nothing beats a summertime ice cream treat. Then again, what if you received an award for storing and shipping ice cream to hungry consumers nationwide? That’s just what happened for the team at USCS Covington, TN, which closed this July with a celebration as “Warehouse of the Year” in Unilever’s United States frozen network.
For the record, USCS Covington is a plant- attached warehouse built in 2015 beside Unilever’s own ice cream production facility. USCS Covington annually competes with three other temperature-controlled warehouses for performance scores. Unilever key performance indicators include safety recordable incidents, on-time shipping and inventory accuracy. This was USCS Covington’s second time to win such a prestigious award.
Groups of senior Unilever and USCS officials visited USCS Covington on July 25 for a celebration that included a catered lunch for employees. USCS also presented its Cold Crew members with hooded sweatshirts and t-shirts to commemorate the award.
Aaron Sanner is Unilever’s Associate Director, Frozen-North America.“Daily collaboration between US Cold Covington and Unilever drove best in class performance across our Frozen Warehouse Network,” he says. “Covington led all distribution centers in our key performance areas including Layerpick, VIP Savings, On Time Loading, DC Driven Warehouse Cuts and Carrier Appointment Availability.”
“From a Unilever perspective, US Cold is a key partner that continues to support us on service and future-fit supply chain initiatives,” he adds. “USCS always is willing and able to step up in the face of adversity when we have unforeseen challenges elsewhere in our network.”
USCS Covington General Manager Matthew Hughes is understandably proud of his team’s accomplishments. “In 2022, we brought dependability and consistency to our relationship with Unilever. We demonstrated flexibility and embraced process improvement and volume spikes when needed,” he says. “As our competition faced challenges, our team found ways to excel. Our team put the customer first, stepped in to handle everything and smoothed issues to the point that our customer’s receiver network never felt the impact of a miss by the competition. We all contributed and this would not have been possible without everyone working in one direction.”
Golf – and Growth!
USCS hosts outing, talks expansion to support growing western customer base.
This October saw United States Cold Storage host a golf outing for as many as 30 customers in Carmel, CA. In part, it simply represented was a fun day to hit the links. More importantly, it was another way to strengthen USCS’s link to a growing customer base.
“Our President & CEO Larry Alderfer often says this and it’s true. ‘The Western Region is the engine for USCS,’” says David Carr, Vice President of Business Development at USCS. “The continued growth we see here is a testimonial to all our associates, who provide ‘Best in Cold Service.’
It is also a reflection of the steady growth we see from our customer- partners in the West.” In support, USCS plans in February 2024 to break ground for a 7.48-million-cubic-foot Phase Three expansion at its McClellan, CA (Sacramento) facility. The company also has purchased more land in southern California, in Shafter, CA, just northwest of Bakersfield. It expects to develop a new greenfield location there in 2024.
As for the golf, it was USCS’s first opportunity to host a Western outing since COVID.
“It is always great to get together with our partners, talk about USCS growth and industry trends,” Carr adds. “We discuss what our partners are seeing within their businesses and what we see within the market. This is a great industry with great people and ultimately what I enjoy most is the opportunity to spend quality time with them— getting to know all of them personally.”
USCS Hosts Carrier Conference
First face to face meeting in five years lets USCS and carrier partners share information, celebrate achievement.
Online meeting platforms are effective for daily business basics. Yet there’s no contest when online is compared to in-person, face-to-face meetings. Live settings not only help you conduct business—but also build relationships.
That’s why USCS was pleased to literally meet and greet its carrier partners in mid-October outside Chicago. It was the company’s first in-person Carrier Conference since 2018 (pre-COVID) and it drew 150 people including 20 USCS leaders and 130 carrier attendees representing 85 companies from coast to coast. The one-day event featured industry presentations, a panel discussion and as many as 11 national and regional carrier awards. A closing dinner also gave USCS and carrier representatives more opportunities to collaborate and continue to strengthen relations.
“Our carrier partners are amazing. One of the main reasons we pushed to have this event is to show our appreciation to the US Cold carrier base,” says Michael Carlisle, USCS Director of Logistics Operations. “I was truly touched by the way they showed the gratitude back to our US Cold team and the efforts we have made to build these lasting relationships.”
He adds, “Carriers enjoy hearing updates about our company’s overall direction and strategic initiatives. They know that we value them as critical industry partners and this year’s high attendance reflects that belief.”
USCS was excited to discuss its new Vector “check-in” process and efforts to help even its smallest carriers become SmartWay certified.
Software from San Francisco’s Vector Labs allows facility personnel to connect directly to drivers via digital check-in. This foundational module not only streamlines the check-in process, but also opens up a real-time chat with the driver via SMS.
Carlisle says Vector also presents future options of going paperless for some shipments. USCS currently offers Vector technology at two locations and will continue to roll out this technology nationwide during 2024.
Separately, USCS’s goal is to have 75% of all loads moved by a SmartWay Carrier by 2030. Carlisle says the company will provide guidance and education to carrier partners to demonstrate the benefits of being a SmartWay Carrier and how to gain certification. Its basics include measuring supply chain footprint, benchmarking performance, reporting results and committing to continuous innovation and efficiency.
Other presentations included a review of alternative energy vehicles and near-term emission requirements, as well as a look at new filters available now to reduce emissions on semi-tractors and trailers. Two carrier executives also joined a five-member panel discussion on “What Makes a Great Carrier/ Shipper Partner?”
“During the panel discussion, carriers were able to take a live survey to contribute to our conversation,” Carlisle notes. “We asked them to use one word to describe a great carrier/ shipper partner and their overwhelming response was ‘communication.’ We look forward to hosting this event again next year. Not only does it give us a chance to see carriers in person, but we also can update them on USCS initiatives, market outlooks, technology updates and other matters.”
USCS Connects for a Cause
Employees support their communities, regional charities nationwide.
United States Cold Storage concluded its third annual “Connect for a Cause Campaign” on October 31. Employees raised $215,000 for seven non-profit organizations including The Unforgotten Haven, Make- A-Wish Foundation, Tunnel to Towers Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Valley Children’s Healthcare Foundation.
Positioned within USCS’s Corporate Responsibility Program (“Cold Crew Cares”), Connect for a Cause is a regionally-based, employee-driven fundraising campaign. It’s designed to connect employees to their co- workers, their communities, and meaningful causes. Foundationally, it’s deeply rooted in USCold’s commitment to be an excellent corporate citizen and give back to the neighborhoods where company employees live and work.
Keith Mowery is USCS Executive Vice President, Logistics & West Region. “Since its inception three years ago, I have been blown away by the generosity and creativity of our COLDcrew members across the country in relation to the Connect for a Cause campaign,” he says. “Being a responsible and good corporate steward is important to USCS as we support and engage with the communities we are a part of. The success of this campaign each year gives a small glimpse into the ethos of US Cold—revealing our identity shaped by generosity, concern for one another, and a commitment to our community.”
Paige Salvador is USCS Human Resources Employee Experience Manager. “As we celebrate this year’s Connect for a Cause campaign, I am reminded that behind the impressive amount of money raised are the dedicated USCold employees whose belief in a better tomorrow brought them together to raise funds and awareness,” she says. United by a shared vision, they are the true foundation of this campaign and our Cold Crew Cares program defining the fabric of its identity and purpose.”
Here’s a region-by-region look at USCS’s Connect for a Cause efforts and activities.
The Central Region supported Tunnel to Towers (T2T) in 2023. Len Howard, USCS Minooka, IL, Warehouse Supervisor, led the charge. “I believe people want to do good and are looking for ways to contribute,” says Howard. “Teaming up with T2T is a way to provide the support families need to help them overcome challenges. It makes me feel great volunteering and making a positive impact.”
Howard emphasizes how every contribution, donation, and volunteer hour—no matter how small—makes a difference in someone’s life. The Central team, under Len’s leadership, stayed closely connected with Andrew McClure, Senior Manager, Development for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. McClure met several times over the course of the campaign helping to educate and engage USCold employees with the mission.
“We’re honored to have the support of USCold Storage,” says McClure. “The entire journey—from first interaction to the final tally being announced—has been nothing short of heartwarming. Tunnel to Towers is honored to have your support!”
The Western Region raised money for three Children’s Hospitals. These hospitals are a tremendous resource for employees when their little ones need care and raising money for them was very meaningful.
“It has been a tremendous honor to be part of US Cold philanthropy,” says Chris Halsted, West Regional Human Resources Manager. “We have a vibrant workforce passionate about their ability to make an impact. It’s been beautiful to see the dedication they have shown throughout the various events held to raise funds for their cause.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been the recipient of the Southern Region’s Campaign for three consecutive years. Barbara Sims, USCS Ft. Worth, TX, Customer Account Supervisor, helped lead the region to raise the most money to date.
“Being a part of Connect for a Cause has made me feel very proud of the company I work for and a part of something so meaningful,” she says. “I am proud that I can tell family members and friends what a wonderful company USCS is and all it has to offer!”
USCS’ Northeast Region successfully raised funds and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Max Sheffler, Training Quality Safety Supervisor at USCS Quakertown, PA, played a key role in leading the NE COLDcrew across the finish line, surpassing their fundraising goal.
“The connection we create and share—by coming together in support of a worthy cause—is true currency. I’d say it brings out our ‘Best in Cold,’” says Sheffler. “I love to see how workplace philanthropy allows USCS employees to realize their capacity to make a difference outside the walls of the warehouse. Don’t underestimate the impact.”
CAMDEN, NJ, HEADQUARTERS
Sharon Costello, Corporate Logistics Billing Lead, Camden, NJ, has been a tremendous spokesperson and ardent volunteer fundraiser for the Unforgotten Haven closely located to US Cold headquarters in Camden.
“I feel taking part in the Connect for a Cause Campaign helps our employees to connect with each other on a more personal level and it can create new friendships outside of work,” says Costello.
USCS’s next Connect for a Cause Campaign resumes on June 1, 2024.
USCS celebrates 2023 achievements, eyes greater gains next year and beyond.
Turning the calendar, reflecting and concentrating on the approaching year is a natural inclination. Then again, to talk with members of USCS’s Sustainability Department, you’ll hear them talk excitedly about 2030 and 2050—as equally important goal dates in the not-too-distant future.
“We’re finalizing our Integrated Sustainability Report but I’m pleased to share so many highlights on our sustainability journey so far,” notes Dan Postlewaite, PE, Director of Sustainability & Engineering. “We’ve completed our Materiality report, an Environmental Impact Assessment and our emissions inventory assessment for Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. This year, we also officially publicly committed to the global Science Based Targets initiative.”
He adds, “In our upcoming report, we’re committing to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 and a net zero emissions status by 2050 or earlier. We’re also targeting 1.5% year-over- year reductions in energy.”
For the record, USCS’s efforts are well coordinated and supported. Postlewaite’s team includes a dedicated Sustainability Department. Moreover, there’s a Sustainability Development Committee (SDC), which represents all functional areas of the business. There’s also an Executive Sustainability Committee (ESC) with executive leadership engagement for SDC goals and commitments.
“We are working with our SDC and ESC groups and developing what SMART targets,” Postlewaite notes. “These are ‘Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time- Based’ goals. In conjunction, we’re developing and even refining a Sustainability Roadmap, which will have measurable metrics in accordance with sustainability reporting structures.”
Looking ahead to next year, USCS’s Sustainability Department and SDC plan to test and implement several initiatives, including …
… a pilot program with granulized analysis of water and energy use data from six facilities. The goals not only are to improve the accuracy of sustainability data but to more deeply understand and identify efficiency improvement opportunities.
… wide-scale implementation of more energy-efficient process technologies, such as blast freeze.
… more than $100 million in investments for on-site renewable energy infrastructure improvements.
United States Cold Storage is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And it’s in good company—or should we say “companies.” USCS officially joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in September 2023 and became one of more than 6,000 private businesses committed to halve GHG emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
“USCS prides itself on being ‘Best in Cold’ so it’s a natural next step for USCS to join the business community in adhering to science- based targets to mitigate climate change,” says USCS Sustainable Development Manager Sara Cook. “This reflects our commitment to people, planet, and performance.”
SBTi is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). SBTi started after the 2015 Paris Agreement, where world governments committed to efforts that limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that global warming must not exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
Targets are considered “science- based” if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Today, SBTi defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net- zero targets in line with climate science. It also provides technical assistance and expert resources to companies who set science- based targets. SBTi also has experts who provide companies with independent assessment and validation of targets.
For the record, USCS has been on its own, similar targets-based journey since 2020. In just the last few years alone, the company has completed its own Materiality report, an Environmental Impact Assessment as well as an emissions inventory assessment for Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 levels.
Tune into the ColdCast
Meet Eddie Russell
Dr. Anna Johnson, VP of Marketing, Corporate Development, and PMO at United States Cold Storage, speaks with Edward Russell, Sr. Project Specialist at US Cold. In this podcast, Anna & Edward discuss the creation of US Cold’s PMO. In the world of cold storage and logistics, a Project Management Office (PMO) program is essential for us to retain our status of Best in Cold. It efficiently allocates resources, manages risks, and streamlines processes, optimizing everything from warehousing to transportation while maintaining temperature controls. By embracing data and staying adaptable, our PMO program ensures that we thrive in the ever-changing landscape of cold storage and transportation logistics, reducing costs, minimizing errors, and enhancing customer satisfaction along the way.