February, 2021

Post Archives

“Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World”

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia is delighted to partner with the World Affairs Council of Greater Philadelphia and the Honorary Consulate of Chile in Philadelphia to bring to you the first installment of “Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World”- a 6 month long series of programming aimed at highlighting our region’s robust international connections. The first 6-month installment of this series will focus on Chile with a diverse set of programs across the Council’s three main programmatic pillars (adult speaker events, student programs, and travel) to provide the Greater Philadelphia community with a deeper understanding of Chilean culture, politics, cuisine, and its role in the world at large.

We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this series highlighting Chile. Sponsorship Opportunities are available for this series and we are pleased to share that a portion of sponsorship will go directly to the CACC for our partnership. For more information regarding Sponsorship, please contact Maggie Hasani, Vice President of Development at [email protected].

Stay tuned for a full agenda of programming and events!

Event Partners:


Thank you and Farewell! – A Letter from Executive Director Christina Lista

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Dear CACC Members and Friends:

I write to you today with mixed emotions. My last day as Executive Director of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia will be this Friday, February 19th. For more than six years, I have had the privilege of working with the CACC’s dedicated Board of Directors to broaden the Chamber’s scope and to grow our network in Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region. Little did I know, my role as an Intern during the last semester of my senior year at Temple University, assisting with a reception for the President of Chile, would be the entrée to this role. I’m truly grateful for all of the experience you have afforded me.

Highlights include several trips to and extended time in Chile—this business and cultural immersion gave me the drive and confidence to build the CACC into what it is today. Our partnership with Chile a Digital Country (Ch1l3) is one of my proudest achievements. Expanding upon Chile’s bounty of fruit that reaches our shores every winter, Ch1l3 represents Chile’s expert IT service industry. Testament to our growing partnership, we recently signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with ProChile and the City of Philadelphia. The opening of ProChile’s commercial office in Philadelphia in November 2020, notwithstanding the global pandemic, signals a new chapter of collaboration. A particularly special honor for me was representing Chile in Philadelphia’s diverse international business community. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with regional international chambers of commerce, consulates, the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, the PA Office of International Business Development, and many other important global leaders in the area.

I could not have accomplished any of this without the CACC’s steadfast Board of Directors and Membership, who have made my time as CACC Executive Director full of learning, laughter, friendship, and success. I’d especially like to express my sincere gratitude to the Executive Board: Bob—thank you for being our fearless leader and always willing to impart your wisdom; Andy—thank you for placing your confidence in me and being generous with your support; and Miriamthank you for being my confidante and a true example of what I hope to accomplish and aspire to become one day.

Despite my departure, the CACC will remain vibrant and engaged. On the agenda is the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia’s “Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World,” a six-month long series of programming aimed at highlighting our region’s robust international connections. The first installment of this series will focus on Chile, including a diverse set of programs to provide the Greater Philadelphia community with a deeper understanding of Chilean culture, politics, cuisine, and its role in the world at large.

I look forward to remaining involved with the CACC through the port industry as well as other areas in my new role as Communications Manager with the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay. This is not goodbye, rather heartfelt thanks for your kindness, generosity and support.

With best wishes and sincere gratitude,
Christina Lista
Executive Director
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

Photo from my first trip to Chile in 2017.

Spotlight Series: John Ercolani of J&K Fresh East

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021


John Ercolani
Vice President of J&K Fresh East, div. of 721 Logistics


CACC: How did you begin your career in the fresh fruit industry? Did you always envision yourself working in this field?

John Ercolani (J.E.): Our family customs brokerage business was first started in 1968. It has been a trade my family has practiced for generations, and one I was able to identify with from an early age. My involvement in the fresh fruit industry came after and for a different reason.

With the focus on trying to understand all the different facets of the industry, I spent most summers as a young adult moving to and from different departments within our family business. I filled in where needed while handling various commodities, both import and export.

After receiving my Business Degree at Rider University and not long after I started working full-time, I was “volunteered” to move to the perishables department and handle fresh fruit. I had to quickly pivot, as handling fresh fruit was very different: the pace, the passion, and the constant pursuit of getting the fruit to market. I thoroughly enjoyed it, anticipated it may be my calling, and jumped in.

From the beginning, I found the interaction of so many industry partners involved in the regulatory and supply chain fascinating. The process enables even the smallest growers from many remote locations, independently or through export companies, to fulfill the many vast government regulations required for export controls to the USA. It was the epitome of free market.

CACC: When was your first visit to Chile and how does J&K Fresh East support Chilean trade?

J.E.: My initial visits to Chile helped me better understand the history and culture of the fresh fruit industry. My first visit was in 2008, prior to US Customs’ announcement of the Importer Security Filing regulation in 2009. In anticipation, I was welcomed by ASOEX to give a presentation to the growers/shippers to prepare for the new rule. The excitement for their fruit was apparent and their desire to establish strong personal relationships was so refreshing. Countless visits to Chile have followed with many dear friendships having been forged since.

For many of the individuals currently at J&K Fresh East, our support of the Chilean trade started at the inception of the trade first arriving in the mid 1970’s in the Port of Philadelphia. Concentrating on the needs of the importers and doing what is best for the fruit has always been our focus.

We have evolved and grown with the ever-changing market. What once was a limited seasonal business is now a year-round program supporting both small family-oriented import marketing companies as well as large multi-national corporations.

I have been on the CACC Board since 2012, following in the footsteps of George Sibley, our Senior Consultant for perishable cargoes. He was a 2005 CACC Friend of Chile Award recipient, so our commitment to the cause is long-standing. We value the special relationship between Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River, and will always strive to make it stronger and mutually beneficial.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry?

J.E.: The complexity of the maritime industry is fascinating. The ebbs and flows of this business, no pun intended, create a fair share of challenging problems that require equally unique and demanding solutions. Solving those problems, creating new solutions and being acknowledged by our clients for going the extra mile is what makes this business so special and rewarding.

The growers, exporters, shipping lines, importers, fumigators, and terminal operations all working together to move perishables so efficiently, within this trade lane, is the true success story of the Chilean trade with the USA. These relationships, as well as those that we share with the government agencies, are the backbone of what we do.

As the industry continues to expand in the Ports of the Delaware River, the acceleration of building new refrigerated warehouses and repackaging lines to facilitate customizing of retail requirements continues to evolve.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

J.E.: The Chamber has always stayed true to its objective to encourage and improve trade relations between the Republic of Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River. Those achievements have been accomplished through cross-border leadership and the ability to adapt and overcome no matter what the obstacle. Whether it is bringing industry leaders together for the Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon or a less formal pre-season planning session, these CACC events are the catalysts that continue to move our port community forward. These efforts continue to shape the success and growing trade between the Republic of Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River.

CACC: Who have been the most influential people that helped shape your career in perishables?

J.E.: Bill Fagan and George Sibley.

Bill’s dedication and work ethic leaves most exhausted just viewing from afar, but for him it is just another Tuesday. Bill is a leader by his example; he has the motor of a diesel engine and has cultivated a work ethic that so many have tried to match. His energy and commitment to the industry is inspiring.

Outside of family, George has had one of the greatest impacts on my life, both professionally and personally. He has been the constant since the start of my career. When I was “volunteered” to handle perishables, George was instrumental in encouraging my love for the work. He encouraged when expectations were met and gave direct, constructive feedback when I needed it. He has been the guiding factor in my career since then. He is complete with every detail and a consummate professional.

I continue to feel extremely fortunate to work alongside these great mentors and friends.

Many thanks to John for participating in this Spotlight Series!