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.

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. &


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.

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