UPS loans logistician to FEMA to evaluate disaster logistics processes

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Matt Lawrence has become the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) first loaned executive from private industry.

A veteran logistician, Lawrence was loaned to FEMA by UPS. His nine-month assignment began Tuesday.

He will report to the agency's newly created Logistics Management Directorate. Lawrence will assist in the evaluation of current disaster logistics processes and will share best-practices from the private sector.

UPS's decision to provide 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.

"This is part of an overall strategy where UPS does more than just write a check," said Lynnette McIntire, media relations representative at UPS. "We wanted to share our talents with people providing disaster relief."

Internal changes within FEMA over the past year resulted in the creation of the Directorate, where new approaches to disaster logistics management are being looked into.

Earlier this year, FEMA approached the US Chamber of Commerce seeking commercial expertise. UPS is the only company that stepped up to volunteer an executive to date. UPS will continue to pay Lawrence's salary.

At UPS, Lawrence specializes in helping UPS customers 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.

UPS has also worked with nonprofit organizations and government disaster relief offices both during and after the devastating events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the Southeast Asia tsunami and earthquake in Pakistan.

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