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.