In 2016, I was able to take over the Reverse Logistics Association and start to build RLA 2.0, with a lot of hard work to become the global voice of the returns industry, a new website to replace a broken platform, and to gain the support of the RL community. I did this because in the words of so many, we needed our own association, events, and a new focus on member needs. The work by our team in the last 7 years has resulted in a strong, member-focused association that has delivered high content and many benefits to the RLA members. I restarted the RLA with only 2 Advisory Board members (Tom Maher of Dell and Chuck Johnston at the Home Depot then) and we have gown to nearly 300 members and 12 Board companies with a global footprint.
Now in 2023 we have announced that the National Retail Federation (NRF) has acquired the RLA and we will operate as a division with the same team and the same commitment to be the voice of our industry for our members. Consider this the launch of RLA 3.0. The NRF, a 120-year-old organization with over 100 people on staff, can provide resources such as education, marketing, lobbying, HR, and other support activities that can help the RLA continue to grow.
The National Retail Federation with thousands of members will be a great fit for the RLA to grow our membership. Retailers are the front line for returned products and are looking for solutions to the returns problem. Retailers understand that sustainability is becoming more important and the RLA is a global leader in these spaces. The Reverse Logistics Association has been and will continue to be a cornerstone of the Circular Economy that retailers and manufacturers are all trying to be a part of. Stay connected as RLA 3.0 prepares for the best and largest Conference in our history. And stay tuned for more of the benefits that our members have asked for. The NRF will help with the resources to deliver more to our members.
I personally want to thank the entire RLA 2.0 community that has been incredibly supportive and gracious to me as I reached out to revitalize the organization. There are too many to name but I hope you all know what it has meant to see us become a major force in our industry thanks to your help.
In 2016, Tony took over the Reverse Logistics Association and became the Executive Director and Publisher after 12 years of active involvement on the Advisory Board and on Committees. Tony has held various industry positions including 15 years in returns management at Philips. During his Philips years, Tony developed new reverse logistics strategies and implemented many new returns initiatives. He worked with retail partners and industry groups on best practices still being used. Tony then became an evangelist for improving the customer experience to reduce returns and their associated costs. Today, Tony is considered a subject matter expert in reverse logistics and speaks for the industry at conferences all over the world.