Geeks, shoe pickers and a giant armadillo provide lessons on regionalism, logistic

Lisa Brosky

Lisa Brosky (LL '12) vice president, community relations,
Jefferson Community and Technical College

Leadership Louisville Class of 2012 – March program day

It was a day about regionalism, but the lesson was logistics.

While this river city, which grew out of a need to portage around the Falls of the Ohio, has always understood the importance of logistics, logistics now drive the economic well-being of a two-state, multi-county region that is stitched by I-65, complemented by the Ohio River and punctuated by UPS Worldport.

As a result, we are all in this together: geeks in requisite black clip-on ties, shoe-pickers who walk 15 to 20 miles a day, a commerce park director longing for a bridge, and even a 7-foot armadillo in Western wear.

On March 13 Leadership Louisville visited two of several businesses that have located in Bullitt County thanks to the proximity to UPS and I-65.

Each day hundreds of computers are shipped to Geek Squad in Brooks for repair, and then back to their owners. Down I-65, on-line retailer Zappos in Shepherdsville, ships out thousands of shoes and household goods each day and returns are happily accepted.

Each day hundreds of people, both skilled and unskilled, go to work.

Thanks to logistics, our region benefits from the presence of Geek Squad “agents,” who take pride in their work and culture, down to the bottom of their shoes, stamped with the Geek Squad logo. Some even carry a badge.

At Zappos, where “shoe pickers” manage vast carousels of footwear, their paid benefits, free lunch and deals on cushioned shoes, are critical and appreciated parts of their compensation.

To the north in Clark County, Ind., River Ridge Commerce Center is expecting a major new tenant (Amazon?!), but eagerly awaits the east end bridge, which will bring interstate traffic nearly to the doorstep.

For me, the day also brought home the impact of Metropolitan College, a partnership of UPS, Jefferson Community & Technical College, University of Louisville, metro and state government. Students work for UPS and receive paid tuition and books, providing UPS a reliable workforce and opportunity to grow. How critical that has proven.

And, of course, there was an armadillo in a cowboy hat. We began our day with Andy Armadillo, mascot of Texas Roadhouse, which believes in good customer service and a good quality product. We were reminded, thank you Andy and team, that fun at work is a good thing (and starting your day with a rousing cheer feels pretty good). Texas Roadhouse, now nationwide, calls Louisville home. More good news for our region.

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One thought on “Geeks, shoe pickers and a giant armadillo provide lessons on regionalism, logistic

  1. Nothing will do more to harm our regional economy than the regressive, dishonest, and backwards downtown Ohio River Bridge Project. Louisville could do worse than another downtown or near downtown local-access bridge, tolled or non-tolled. This project is tolling citizens against their wishes to build infrastructure on the city’s central business district riverfront that exclusively connects to a 1950s style elevated waterfront expressway. Simultaneously in an alternate universe known as Prospect, where budgetary constraints do not exist, we are building a $795 million 1.4 mile 4 lane luxury highway. To finance this boondoggle the Bridges “Authority” has contracted a consulting company, Wilbur-Smith (now CDSmith) that has underestimated the tolling revenues in their last 12 contracts by a devastating 127%. This is a financial house of cards used to fund a project that is in direct contrast to the conventional wisdom among urban planners, economic development experts, and today’s highway engineers. Divide the project, not the community. Build the east end bridge and multiple local-access bridges now. Save Louisville.

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