UPS Executive "Loaned" to FEMA to Provide Logistics Expertise
Matt Lawrence, a veteran UPS logistician, has become the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) first loaned executive from private industry.
Lawrence, whose nine-month assignment begins today, will report to the newly-created Logistics Management Directorate. According to the Directorate’s assistant administrator, William “Eric” Smith, Lawrence will assist in the evaluation of current disaster logistics processes and will share best-practices from the private sector.
“FEMA understands that critical know-how will be lost if we don’t actively engage our partners across all spectrums, including the private sector,” said Smith. “With his talent and experience, I believe Mr. Lawrence will be a great asset as we continue to develop the new logistics directorate inside FEMA.”
Internal changes within FEMA over the past year drove the creation of the Directorate, where new approaches to disaster logistics management are being explored. Earlier this year, FEMA approached the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeking commercial expertise. UPS (NYSE:UPS) was the only company that stepped up to volunteer an executive. UPS will continue to pay Lawrence’s salary.
Lawrence brings a broad range of logistics knowledge to the agency, specializing in helping UPS customers to evaluate and redesign their supply chains for improved efficiency and responsiveness. His experience includes transportation network management, warehousing, inventory management and distribution. His most recent assignment involved working with healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to improve logistical efficiency, including the development of contingency plans to respond to crises that interrupt the flow of goods.
For Lawrence, there is a personal element to his new assignment. He lives in New York City, not far from the World Trade Center site, and was caught in the chaos following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks. He also has strong ties to the Gulf region, where friends have been directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the solution and to better understand the challenges that FEMA faces in times of disaster,” said Lawrence, adding he hopes to work directly with the responders who are tasked with getting goods to those in need. “That’s where UPS’s operational skills really can come into play. Standardized approaches, technology and streamlined processes can have a tremendous impact on how efficiently responders can deliver service.”
UPS’s motivation for providing an executive is tied to a broader strategy in the global disaster relief community that emphasizes sharing management knowledge along with funds and transportation services. The company currently is supporting critical emergency response efforts for earthquake victims in Peru, as well as monsoon victims in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The company also worked with non-profit organizations and government disaster relief offices during and after the devastating events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Southeast Asia tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan.
“Because we are a global company, we know first-hand how a natural disaster can have a traumatic impact on the lives of employees, neighbors, business partners, customers and communities,” said Lisa Hamilton, president of The UPS Foundation. “Although the timing of these events is often random and unpredictable, UPS is committed to being prepared to respond as soon as possible and in the most appropriate manner. The lessons we have learned about speedy delivery and efficient operations during times of crisis are directly applicable to the challenges faced by FEMA and state relief agencies.”
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