2017 Risk All Star: Dan Holden

Standing Up and Standing Out

Dan Holden works for a manufacturer. Downtime is the company’s biggest worry.

Dan Holden, manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance, Daimler Trucks North America

So when he started at Daimler Trucks North America 10 years ago, Holden queried company officials on business continuity, disaster recovery and emergency preparedness plans.

Specifically, he wanted to know if the company had contracts in place with restoration companies that would stipulate that those restorers give Daimler immediate help in the event of a fire or some other business interruption event.

In an international business like Daimler’s — owner of Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Trucks, among other brands — there are always plenty of issues to address, so the immediate disaster restoration concept wasn’t acted on right away.

Then it happened. A fire hit one of Daimler’s U.S. plants and knocked it offline. Holden was tasked with getting a restoration company out to the site as soon as possible.

He did that, and then learned that additional restoration companies, that he hadn’t called, made their way to the site, acting on information they picked up listening to emergency response scanners. One of the imposters had even gained entry to the plant and started work.

Holden escorted the posers off the premises. Luckily, the fire wasn’t as bad as initially thought and the restoration company he called was able to get the plant up and running in Daimler’s preferred 36-hour timeframe.

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Rather than say “I told you so,” Holden used the plant fire as a teaching moment to get what he’d been after all along: an agreement with a reputable disaster restoration company which had the resources and the will to give Daimler contracted, immediate help if an event occurred.

“When we had this fire, it was a perfect opportunity for me to say, ‘Okay, what have we learned from this?’ ” Holden recalls.

Had the situation been worse — say, a regional disaster — he remembers thinking, “We would have had to just get in line with everybody that didn’t have a pre-planned disaster restoration program and hope that somebody gets to us.”

“When we had this fire, it was a perfect opportunity for me to say, ‘Okay, what have we learned from this?’ ” — Dan Holden, manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance, Daimler Trucks North America

After putting out an RFP, Holden and his colleagues in facilities decided on Belfor USA, which had the resources and the geographic spread to give Holden what he needed. Now, any Daimler plant in the U.S. that suffers an adverse event just needs to dial an 800 number to get immediate restoration help.

The program roll-out was so well-received by upper management that Holden was invited to share his disaster restoration program with his international risk management partners at a global risk summit. His plan is now being used as a template in other countries.

Katie Miller, a regional accounts manager with Belfor, said Holden did a great job in bringing various stakeholders within Daimler together to make sure everyone understood the importance of getting immediate disaster recovery help and signing off on it.

“He ended up taking the lead completely,” Miller said. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Risk All Stars

Immeasurable Value

The 2017 Risk All Stars strengthened their organizations by taking ownership of improved risk management processes and not quitting until they were in place.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 3 min read

Being the only person to hold a particular opinion or point of view within an organization cannot be easy. Do the following sound like familiar stories? Can you picture yourself or one of your risk management colleagues as the hero or heroine? Or better yet, as a Risk & Insurance® Risk All Star?

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One risk manager took a job with a company that was being spun off, and the risk management program, which was built for a much larger company, was not a good fit for the spun-off company.
Rather than sink into inertia, this risk manager took the bull by the horns and began an aggressive company intranet campaign to instill better safety and other risk management practices throughout the organization.

The risk manager, 2017 Risk All Star Michelle Bennett of Cable One, also changed some long-standing brokerage relationships that weren’t a good fit for the risk management and insurance program. In her first year on the job she produced premium savings and in her second year is in the process of introducing ERM company-wide.

Or perhaps this one rings a bell. The news is trickling out that a company is poised to dramatically expand, increasing the workforce three- or four-fold. Having this knowledge with certainty would be a great benefit to a risk manager, who could begin girding safety, workers’ comp and related programs accordingly. But things sometimes don’t work that way, do they? Sometimes the risk manager is one of the last people to know.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance.

In the case of 2017 Risk All Star winner Steve Richards of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the news of an expansion spurred him to action. He completely overhauled the company’s workers’ compensation program and streamlined its claim management system. The results, even with a much higher headcount, were reduced legal costs, better return-to-work experiences for injured workers and a host of other improvements and savings.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance. Sometimes it took years for a particular risk solution, as promoted by a risk manager, to find acceptance.

In other cases a risk manager got so excited about a solution, they never even considered getting turned down. They just kept pushing until they carried the day.

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Butler University’s Zach Finn became obsessive about what he felt was a lackluster effort on the part of the insurance industry to bring in new talent. The former risk manager for the J.M. Smucker Co. settled on the creation of a student-run captive to give his risk management students the experience they would need to get hired right out of college.

The result was a better risk management program for the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and immediate traction in the job market for Finn’s students.

A few of our Risk All Stars told us that the results they are achieving were decades in the making. Only by year-in, year-out dedication to gaining transparency about her co-op’s risks and learning more and more about her various insurance carriers, did Growmark Inc.’s Faith Cring create a stalwart risk management and insurance program that is the envy of the agricultural sector. Now she’s been with some of her insurance carriers more than 20 years — some more than 30 years.

Having the right idea and not having a home for it can be a lonely, frustrating experience. Having the creativity, the passion and perhaps, most importantly, the perseverance to see it through and get great results makes you a Risk All Star. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]