The sad news from EMO Trans, from Garden City, NY, came completely unexpectedly on Wednesday night (21APR21), and read: “EMO Trans, a global provider of logistics and supply chain management services, mourns the death of its Founder and Chairman, Joachim (Jo) Frigger, who passed away unexpectedly on April 19, 2021.” His sudden death is a huge loss for the entire logistics industry, but especially for his family and the EMO organization.
Jo, the "smuggler"
Last October, Jo celebrated his 80th birthday in Naples, Florida, where he was mostly located of late. We were on the phone for a long time, talking about this and that. He recounted, almost euphorically, his brief "career" as a smuggler. That was in the middle of the 70s of the last century. The story goes like this: During a stay in his hometown of Opladen near Cologne, he stuck the seed of a local oak in his shoe and smuggled it, unnoticed by the border inspectors, to the USA. The acorn has long since become a majestic tree which, today, stands north of New York. A tangible piece of his old homeland on his own doorstep in the USA. A tree under which he could always relax and let his mind wander.
Why do I mention this here? Because it very clearly illustrates his lifelong connection to his native country. He often flew across the big pond to visit old acquaintances and friends in the Rhineland, casually also taking care of business matters on the side, in his function as co-shareholder of the German EMO Trans.
From DUS to NYC
Joachim Frigger’s career as a forwarding agent began in Düsseldorf, where he worked for various companies, including the forwarding company, Deugro. He was sent to the United States in 1972, to establish branches there. He then did this for EMO Trans because he was always a keen entrepreneur. At the time, he had a lot of business and private contact with Dieter Haltmayer, the founder of QCS Quick Cargo Service. A connection that continued over many years until now, despite the geographical distance between Germany and the USA. Dieter and the Haltmayers were equally upset to learn of Jo’s sudden passing. Not only they, however, but also his numerous friends, business partners, and companions. We, the press representatives, have lost a partner who, in addition to his work at EMO Trans, always had the overall logistics view in mind, and was able to convey this to journalists in an illustrative and credible manner.
He was the head of EMO Trans for half a century
In addition to the Frigger family, those most hit by his death, there is also much concern within the EMO group about the death of its Spiritus Rector [guiding spirit]. This is echoed in Marco Rohrer’s words, the President & CEO of EMO Trans: “Jo was not just my boss; he was also my partner, my mentor, and my friend. Through his significant experience and wisdom, he provided thoughtful guidance and a unique perspective to our discussions, which resulted in better decision making.”
Jo served EMO Trans for 50 years as Chairman, CEO, President, and Founder of EMO Trans USA. Under his tenure, EMO USA developed from a single office at JFK Airport in New York, into a logistics powerhouse with a presence in every major U.S. shipping hub, and an international reach through the EMO Trans global network. Today, EMO Trans USA has grown to 33 branches nationwide, and employs 400 staff.
He will be missed, but things must continue.
In business, he leaves behind a well-established, highly successful company, for which his credo “success by performance” has always been the guiding principle, and which will continue to be so in the development and practical implementation of customized solutions. The international expansion of the group will continue unabated, in the spirit of Jo Frigger. Its proven conservative financial policy, always exemplified by Jo, is also unlikely to change. He always rejected risky and credit-financed acquisitions. Organic growth is likely to continue to be the DNA of the group.
As far as the management of the family business EMO is concerned, he arranged matters early on. In addition to CEO Marco Rohrer, with Jo’s daughter, Jenny, and his son, Sven, 2 Friggers are already in a leading position. They will certainly also ensure that the longstanding support of the Ampo aid project in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - a project close to Jo's heart – goes on. Ampo, run by Hamburg-born Katrin Rohde, houses orphaned children and disabled people.
And then there is still the “smuggled” majestic oak recognizable in summer by its typical jagged leaves and its proud, straight trunk. It is symbolic of Jo’s work; his clear attitude, his strong will, and the upright and wonderful man who has now left us.
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