DSC Logistics Mourns James A. McIlrath, Founder
Chicago, Illinois (August 3, 2007) – It is with great sadness that DSC Logistics announced the death of James A. McIlrath on July 27, due to complications from heart surgery in Rochester, MN. McIlrath was founder and chairman of Dry Storage Corporation, now DSC Logistics, an integrated logistics and supply chain management company, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois.
McIlrath founded Dry Storage Corporation, a public warehousing company first located in Chicago’s stockyard’s district, in 1960, to provide “common” or “dry” storage to customers who needed more than cold storage. Following entry into the transportation business in 1965, DSC became an established warehousing and transportation business, assisting a multitude of customers with their distribution needs. In the years between 1960 and 1990, DSC expanded services and geographies, adding new warehousing locations, high-cube/high-density warehouses and customer-specific warehouses, and developing transportation services and contract operations. A forerunner to fulfillment, National Pick N Pack, a Logistics Center focused on efficiently processing thousands of SKUs, was created in 1985.
The acquisition of Gulf-Atlantic in 1986 gave DSC more than a regional presence, with new operations in Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte and New Orleans. In 1989, the company headquarters opened in Des Plaines, Illinois. By the early 1990s, DSC was the parent to 22 separate companies—all with unique identities and images in the marketplace. McIlrath’s daughter, Ann Drake, became a member of the Advisory Board of Directors in 1985, and joined the company as executive vice president in 1990. In this role, Drake had responsibility for strategic planning and corporate culture. She was named chief executive officer of DSC in 1994, working to consolidate all 22 companies into one entity—with one name and identity: DSC Logistics, and McIlrath became chairman. The new identity symbolized DSC’s company-wide emphasis on integrated logistics services and consistency across the network and operations. Under Drake’s leadership, DSC Logistics grew to both coasts, providing nationwide service to customers.
“My father was always an inspiration to me, as well as to many others, from both a business and a personal perspective. He was such a strong leader, building a successful company on a $10,000 original investment with my grandfather. Even when he encountered obstacles, his attitude was always upbeat and positive, continuing throughout his life. Active in a variety of organizations, he had a passion for golf and travel that he shared with wife Betty. They were best friends and truly enjoyed life together. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends,” remarked Drake.
McIlrath was born February 28, 1920 in Chicago, and grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, graduating from New Trier High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University, and was active in Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He began his career in logistics in Army Corps of Engineers, working in France to help rebuild transportation and water systems at the close of WWII, and achieving the rank of major. He then worked at the Glidden Company as production superintendent of Soya products division.
Prior to founding Dry Storage Corporation, he joined U.S. Cold Storage Corporation as the general manager of the Chicago operations. Always active in service and industry organizations, McIlrath was a past chairman of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (and recipient of their Distinguished Service Award in 2003), a member of the Board of Directors of the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee in Washington, D.C., a director of the Illinois Association of Merchandise Warehousemen, a member of the International Federation of Public Warehouses Association, a director of the United Methodist Home, a member of the Board of Directors of The First State Bank and Trust of Park Ridge, Illinois, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Palm Country Club, Boca Raton, Florida.
A memorial service will be held September 14th at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church (847-823-4126), 306 S. Prospect, Park Ridge, at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to the James A. McIlrath Memorial, Kratochvil Fund (TKE), Iowa State University, 2505 Elwood Drive, Ames, IA 50010. For more information, please contact Kate Vincek at 847-635-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.