As we learned by chance from a UPS courier driver just a few days ago, the 65-year-old, long-time UPS manager passed away on 12JUL21. With the Illinois, USA-born manager, the integrator has lost an outstanding character who was extremely popular among the group's employees thanks to his strong communication skills and cordiality.
“Frank, are you available for a somewhat unusual interview?” I asked him about 5 years ago, on the occasion of a meeting at the Berlin Congress of the leading German industry association, “Bundesvereinigung Logistik” (BVL). He immediately gave me the thumbs up. Five minutes later; we were sitting in the back of a huge Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman, chartered for the interview by Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary, Jettainer. Chauffeured by a white-gloved professional driver, we drove for about an hour; criss-crossing the German capital until even the last question had been answered by him.
Why this example? Because it characterises the kind of person Frank Sportolari was. He was always approachable, usually had time for us media representatives, treated us very respectfully, was extremely humorous, always very well informed, and was not sparing in his criticism of the industry when he felt there was cause to do so, though always maintained loyalty to his employer. This impression is confirmed by Georg Leusch, UPS Labor Director for the European hub Cologne/Bonn of UPS and the neighbouring region: "Frank's death is a great loss for all of us. He was extremely appreciated by the employees, whether they were members of the management, in administration, or courier drivers. He was a guy you could touch. Once he interrupted a meeting especially because he wanted to personally wish a staff member a happy birthday. 'This has priority,' were his words."
Impressive professional career
Born in Chicago in 1956, and a resident of Germany for 24 years, Frank, who has a degree in economics, held various positions in Europe, mostly for UPS in Germany and Italy, the country of origin of his ancestors. In September 2011, Frank took over the position of President UPS Germany (Germany District Manager) and was then responsible for UPS activities in Germany. Since 2018, UPS Austria became part of his area of responsibility, as did UPS Switzerland in 2019. In March 2021, he became Senior Advisor Transformation for the UPS Europe Region, after handing over the position of Germany President to his successor, Frank Joergensen, his former Operations Manager. In May 2018, he was also appointed President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. In addition, he held other positions in industry and business associations, for example as a member of the advisory board of the German Logistics Association (BVL).
“Frank was innovative, and his team did great things,” reads an obituary by the association. “He was always a good advisor and a committed networker. No matter whether it was about getting a protagonist for transatlantic relations for a fireside chat, or for a major event.”
More efforts on climate protection, he demanded
Frank Sportolari will also be remembered by the members of the Air Cargo Club Deutschland (ACD). At a meeting of the organization on 15 December 2020, for example, he called on express companies and the entire transport industry to make significantly greater efforts in climate protection. For UPS, this means, for example, increasing the use of alternative fuels, transporting shipments by drones on the last mile, and developing new, climate-neutral urban delivery concepts, he said.
He was unable to personally experience the implementation of most of these demands in practice. Frank Sportolari, who held both American and Italian citizenship, lived in Düsseldorf with his wife and 4 of his 6 children.
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