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Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) History

 WERC began as a grassroots effort in 1977, when a number of individuals* from the distribution field came together in search of educational, research and networking opportunities in the field of warehousing.

At that time, "there wasn’t a professional society for warehousing," noted Kenneth B. Ackerman, president, The K. B. Ackerman Company, Columbus, Ohio, and a founding member of WERC. "Professionals had a need to focus much more closely on warehousing and desired a tactical, practical approach," recalls Bruce R. Abels, president of Saddle Creek Corporation, Lakeland, Fla., and WERC’s first president.

The idea of a warehousing organization originated with Bob Angel and Ken Ackerman, who have been referred to as the "fathers of WERC." On June 22, 1977, a group of 17 distribution professionals got together in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss the feasibility of organizing a new professional society for warehousing management. During a second planning meeting—held in Chicago, Ill., on August 24, 1977—WERC was born. The purposes of the organization were defined and the association’s name selected.
 Burr Hupp


 Bruce Abels (then with American Can) elected as WERC’s first president.

  Other officers included vice presidents Lyman Coombs (Gillette) and Jim Robeson (Ohio State University), and Bob Angel (Shell Chemical), secretary. Burr Hupp (Drake Sheahan/Stewart Dougall) served as treasurer and was named acting executive director. The new association was headquartered in Hupp’s business offices in Chicago.

Membership dues that first year were $50. The first conference was held at Ohio University in March 1978 with 160 participants. Other than the conference, "member services were pretty scarce in the beginning," recalls Robert E. Murray, president, REM Associates, Princeton, N.J. who later served as president of WERC.

Member services built quickly, however, including local chapters called WERCouncils, a regular newsletter, seminars and workshops. The focus, as always, was on delivering "practical, actionable solutions," Murray says. This focus continues to be at the center of WERC.

 Click here for bios of founding members.

Click here for a list of Charter Members

Click here for the history of WERC in an article from WERC's 10th Anniversary.

Click here for lifetime members.