ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Sterling Services ownership and management team traveled to Houston, Texas at the beginning of June for the three-day International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) annual conference at Marriott Marquis Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.

The conference, in its 39th year, is the largest gathering in the industry with over 4,500 liquid terminal industry professionals and the opportunity to attend educational sessions, networking opportunities and visit the largest trade show in the industry.

ILTA 2019 offered a number of educational sessions that members could attend during the convention. They had breakout sessions for environment, business/operations, health and safety, security and emergency response, and international business.

One session that Sterling ownership attended was a small business session called ILTA Membership: Meeting the Needs of Smaller Companies. The session was moderated by ITLA President Kathryn Clay and Kirk

“A number of years ago my I was involved in ILTA meetings regarding the changing of the name from Independent to International Liquid Terminal Association,” Graham Eddleston, Vice President of Sterling Services, explained. “I was concerned that the small, independent family-owned terminals would not receive the assistance that the organization had been giving us. My concerns were warranted as ILTA shifted their focus towards larger corporations.”

Independent terminals that are small in size have difficulty sending their employees to outside training. It jeopardizes the day-to-day operation of the smaller terminals as the employees are needed to run the operations. The ability to send employees out to training and educational conferences is not always available for the small companies compared to their larger counterparts. To help spearhead change, Stering Services joined other small businesses for a working group that is dedicated to creating a training database for ILTA members.

Internal ILTA data shows that 33 percent of the membership is from companies with less than 50 employees compared to 45 percent of the members from companies with over 200 employees. ILTA members from small companies are a third of the membership and the resources that are provided to them as members need to cater towards both small and large companies.

Overall, the convention was a success as ownership was able to meet with current clients who are working on new projects with the company as well as engineers that are helping Sterling with those projects. We met with potential new clients to exlpore ways we can work together in the future.

The company will return to the conference next year as ILTA celebrates their 40th convention in Houston.

Founded in 1974, the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) is an advocate and key resource for the liquid terminal industry. With headquarters in the Washington, DC, area, ILTA advocates on behalf of the liquid terminal industry in Congress and at the federal agencies. ILTA also maintains close working relationships with other organizations that interact with the tank storage industry.