A Facelift For 517

With nearly 1.5 million square feet in Chicago, AGI offers multiple buildings for our airline customers to manage imports and exports.

These buildings range in age from our newest facilities like our import-only center at 1717 Busse Rd and mixed import/export facility at 1600 Sherwin Avenue servicing our northeast cargo ramp operations, which are barely a year old, to some of the most established buildings on O’Hare.

Realizing the importance of offering seamless and equal services across all of our buildings in Chicago, we have embarked on a series of capital investments at a number of our facilities, including those located at the end of the cul-de-sac that is Express Center Drive where we operate three buildings – 513, 516 and 517.

It is at 517 Express Center Drive where we are proud to focus on the improvements that are underway. This 160,000 square foot, 42 door building is currently having the entirety of the interior painted, including interior walls, doors and our 5,000 square foot perishables cooler, both inside and out. The building is one of our most active, housing both import and export operations for customers including Air India, Amerijet, Cathay Pacific, Southwest and Turkish. Just minutes away from Terminal 5, 517’s proximity means that beginning 30 minutes after a flight arrives, we will begin receiving priority products to break down and make available for customers within a matter of hours.

Leading this refurbishment project as well as all our maintenance operations in Chicago is Austreberto “Berto” Sanabria, a 27-year veteran of AGI. Berto manages the maintenance of our seven Chicago buildings. The care, attention and pride in his work that Berto brings to his job is one that AGI is focused on delivery company-wide.

“We’re into the thousands of gallons of paint at this point,” Berto shares with us. The combination of surfaces means that different paint has to be ordered for the walls, the interior of the dock doors and even the cooler itself. “Because the exterior of the cooler is aluminum, standard wall paint will not properly adhere and we have to utilize a specialized product that goes on, dries and remains in place.”

John Morones, Director, Central Region, has known Berto the entirety of his time at AGI. “Think of all of the equipment that an air freight handling company uses every day. Scissor lifts, tugs, pallet decks, roller bed systems and more – those are all Berto’s responsibility and there is nobody I trust more to keep our operation running 7 x 24 x 365 than him.”

What else is in order for the building? Improved lighting and both paint and interior design of the hallways and office areas. 

“The buildings, while spacious, were constructed before natural light in the form of skylights was used to help reduce energy costs during the day. Our plan is to replace the current interior fluorescent lighting with brighter, lower energy LED ballasts and bulbs. This, coupled with the fresh coat of paint, will enhance the overall work environment.”

On a recent tour and walking through the institutionally beige hallways, Berto gestures to the walls. “These will be painted, too. Colors, employee-designed murals, artwork provided by our airline customers. We compete for talent and customers every day in an environment that requires people to be here to handle cargo. It is our responsibility to make it a great place to work and that includes creating a personalized, well-appointed space that highlights the professionalism and high-visibility that air cargo plays in supply chains today.”

Berto has our customers’ best interests in mind and we’ll keep sharing pictures as the work progresses.  Thanks, Berto!