Commentary: NCBFAA gives Gina a ‘Jets’ sendoff
The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America honored Al Gina, who recently retired as assistant commissioner for international trade at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, during its annual Government Affairs Conference in Washington on Sept. 23.
Gina, a native New Yorker and die-hard New York Jets fan, received two standing ovations from the audience, a plaque, tickets to a Washington Wizards- N.Y. Knicks game and a New York Jets jacket, which he donned on the spot.
Gina spent more than 30 years at Customs after starting out as a field inspector. A natural “people-person,” he belied the caricature of a stern, uncaring regulator. Instead, he put stakeholders at ease because of his willingness to listen and find solutions to red tape at the border.
Gina previously was deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Intelligence and Operations Coordination and the executive director of the Container Security Initiative and Secure Freight Initiative offices.
In 2008, he was given the Meritorious Executive Award by President Bush. The award recognizes high-performing senior career employees in government for sustained, extraordinary accomplishment and leadership.
NCBFAA President Darrell Sekin Jr., a Texas-based broker, called Gina a good communicator and trade facilitator with a “can-do attitude.”
Meetings with Gina were productive “because it wasn’t just a perfunctory exercise that Al was going through. There was always a genuine exchange of ideas,” he said during the ceremony.
“From day one, Al was always accessible to members of our association and always listened intently to our ideas. He didn’t let his regulatory role stop him from exploring change or different ways of doing things,” Sekin added.
Reporters will also miss Gina. He was a great source of knowledge about CBP affairs and could always be counted on for a catchy quote.
We’ll send it to you!
Register now and get the free AS Daily.