Transcription of Remarks
Vice President Gore Presents 1000th Hammer Award
to the United States Postal Service
and Targeted Management Solutions Incorporated

Washington, DC
December 17, 1997


Announce. Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States, accompanied by Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Representative Frank, Postmaster General Runyon, and Brett Matthews.

MR. FRANK: We're delighted to see, not just such a large crowd, but such a large friendly crowd; that's a particularly useful part of it. And we are all delighted to be here, on behalf of this program that the Vice President has been running, on behalf of an innovative and successful corporation that has contributed so much to public/private cooperation, to improvement and the ability of the postal service, one of the most vital governmental functions to serve people, and it's a reminder for all of us of the essential functions that government serves in a civilized society. And to be here, celebrating a substantial improvement in one of those day-to-day services people tend to take for granted, but on which we are all very very reliant, is a warm feeling for all of us.

So with that, I'm going to take the vicarious pleasure -- when you're in politics sometimes you get blamed for things that aren't your fault, which makes us feel entirely justified in basking in wholly undeserved credit, which we do today, and basking in the credit -- since TMSI is located in Newton, Massachusetts, which I represent in the House, and my colleagues here represent in the Senate. We are delighted to bask in a little undeserved credit for their extraordinary accomplishment. And I'm delighted to introduce now, my colleague, John Kerry.

SENATOR KERRY: Barney, thank you very much. Not only am I here, basking in your glory, which is fun, but I'm taking another very important step in my political destiny, yet again, introducing Ted Kennedy to all of us.

I've got to tell you, this is really a very very special day. I don't know what it is doing for the productivity of TMSI, but obviously you're all going to go back more excited and make up for the productivity loss of today. But this is really a thrill for us. To think that Barney went to Harvard, Teddy went to Harvard, I went to Yale, and here we are celebrating a great Dartmouth accomplishments today.

But it's a very special thing that they've accomplished. It's really in the best spirit of the entrepreneurial efforts of this country, having worked briefly for Proctor & Gamble -- I guess christened it at least -- and then going on to sell and create a company, sell the company, use the proceeds of that company to help start this company, and not just do it, but do it with a classmate, and do it with both of their wives, and stay happy at the same time, is a great statement.

And seriously, for all of us, this is part of a large remaking of America. And I salute the Vice President for his leadership in the National Performance Review. It is changing the face of government's relationship to our citizens, and we are very very proud -- all of us from Massachusetts -- that our company -- notice our company, I don't know where the stock is, but -- that our company is being celebrated today. We thank the Vice President for, not just reading our letter, but looking at the company, and making an evaluation, and making this award. This makes government work better. It saves $50 million; 43 million people a year get the benefit of it. It's a great great step forward, and it proves to other entities in government -- Social Security Administration, the IRS, and others, other improvements that we can make in the future. So congratulation to all of you.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce to you a legislator, who like the mail, always gets delivered and is always delivering. Ted Kennedy.

SENATOR KENNEDY: Mr. Vice President, this is really a joke for Massachusetts, because for two years I introduced John, and then he introduces me, and we've been fortunate to continue to gain the confidence of the people here in Massachusetts.

I want to just commend Brett and all of the leadership of the company in inviting everyone here. This is really an extraordinary family. You can just see it in the faces of all of those that are here. And speaking about the family, I'm wondering if we could have the marvelous proud parent just be recognized.

Could they stand up? They're a lot parents out there. So we just join in congratulating all of you, and to say how proud we are of you and the extraordinary job that you've done, and just to underline the efforts of the Vice President. I, like John, served with him in the Senate of the United States. He's been a very good and valued personal friend to all of ours when he really put this on the national agenda, saying, it isn't a question of big government, little government, it's better government. And how are we in real terms going to try and make government work better for average families all over this country.

There was a lot of question whether really much could ever be done, but he has been just tireless in trying to find ways to make it work, and to do a job for all of our people. And I think he's been extraordinary, successful, and today is one of the great examples of this. So, I join with all of those just congratulate you. Today is just a wonderful, wonderful day of celebration for all of you -- we mentioned to Brett. If any get left behind tonight or tomorrow, John Kerry and I will be glad to get them on the plane back.

But seriously, congratulations to all of you. And I want to tell you, Mr. Vice President, how all of us are grateful to you for the recognition of this company, but for the day in and day out work that you do to try and make all of government work better for all of our people.

Let's give him a nice Massachusetts round of applause. The Vice President of the United States.

VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Thank you very much for that standing ovation. I'm overwhelmed.

How many of you flew down on the plane as a member of this corporate family? Can I see a show of hands? That is amazing. I too want to congratulate your company and your leadership for making that possible, and that kind of approach is obviously what has made it possible for you to win this award, and the recognition that goes with it. Even more importantly, it has enabled you to achieve the success that we're honoring here today.

I want to thank Ted Kennedy for his very generous introduction and his warm friendship over the years. I want to thank you for your kind words, Ted. And I want to thank you, Senator John Kerry, for your kind words and for our friendship. The three of us have had some good times together. I have fallen into the prevailing pattern here of just assuming that we are constructively in Massachusetts with this total Massachusetts crowd here.

Your state is extremely well presented in the United States Senate, and your congressional district has the smartest, funniest, most effective member of Congress I know of anywhere in the United States -- Barney Frank.

I tell you, you talk about having a good friend, and somebody who will really fight hard and get the right results. This is the guy. This team is the team. Your two senators and your congressmen really do an outstanding job.

I want to acknowledge our wonderful postmaster general, Marvin Runyon. Believe it or not, there have been times when the mention of a postmaster general's presence would not ring a round of applause, but TMSI has helped to make possible a tremendous success story that's unfolding there. But Marvin Runyon has had a great run as the leader of our postal service, and he and I have been friends for almost 20 years. He worked in Tennessee a long time before he came up here to do this job.

I want to acknowledge Bob Crowse, the Vice President of the U.S. Postal Service, and don't ever underestimate the importance of that Vice Presidential position.

I want to acknowledge the Address Management Team, based in Memphis, and led by Mike Murphy. And most of all, I want to acknowledge, with deep gratitude from all of us, Brett Matthews, the CEO of TMSI, and I want to acknowledge his wife, Ginger Salazar (phonetic), their parents, and members of his family.

This is a special ceremony for several reasons. The awards I'm going to present in a moment speak for themselves, but I want you to know that today's Hammer Award is the 1,000th Hammer Award that we have presented. So this is a real milestone for our Reinventing Government Program, as well as for TMSI and the Postal Service. We call it the National Performance Review or Reinventing Government. We usually just call it REGO, that's Gore spelled sideways; I've worked hard on this program.

Almost five years ago -- it will be five years at the beginning of this coming March -- President Clinton asked me to lead this effort to reinvent our government. I went and talked with CEOs in the private sector who had a reputation for being great managers. And then I went to talk with the federal employees -- right where the rubber meets the road -- about the insights they had gleaned over the years. And what I found was that the private sector CEOs and the federal employees at the lowest rungs on the management ladder, were saying exactly the same thing. And among the lessons they tried to teach us, were you've got to empower your employees and trust them to make good judgment calls. Empower them to experiment. If they're not making some mistakes, they're not trying hard enough, because you've got to press the edges of the envelope; you've got to try new things.

You've got to eliminate the unnecessary layers of middle management if they're not contributing value to the overall effort. You've got to make sure that everybody in the organization shares the same vision, and has the same values, and then through a consensus process you have to arrive at shared goals, and a shared understanding of what everybody's part is in reaching those goals.

You have to understand the importance of partnerships, and of course the partnership between the Postal Service and TMSI has been critical to the success that we're honoring here today.

It's exciting to see the results that can be accomplished when you focus on results, and don't get obsessed with the process, and the rules and regulations, and procedures in the private sector, and really focus on what you're trying to accomplish. And then measure your progress toward those outcomes or away from those outcomes.

These ideas are spreading all over our country. Years ago, it used to be that the phrase "made in Japan" was synonymous with shoddy workmanship and poor quality. Then, starting in the late '60s and then the '70s we started seeing these transistor radios, and stereos, and motorcycles, and then cars, and the phrase, "made in Japan", took on an entirely different meaning, and was able to draw a premium in the marketplace. It became associated with high quality.

Well think of the phrase, "good enough for government work". In World War II, when that phrase first began, it was synonymous with the highest possible level of quality, and then over the years it changed its meaning and became a phrase that signified sloppy, half-hearted, not well done.

Our goal, broadly stated, is to reclaim the original meaning of that phrase, "good enough for government work", so that not too many years from now that phrase will mean the very best; the highest level of quality. Thanks to you, we are celebrating a real milestone along the way, and with this 1,000th Hammer Award we can celebrate also the reduction of the federal work force by 300,000 people. It's now the smallest federal government since President Kennedy's administration in the early 1960's.

We've eliminated 16,000 pages of obsolete regulations. We've saved the taxpayers $132 billion. This is progress.

Now, the Postal Service is the perfect agency to recognize with this 1,000th award. There's not another government entity that is in touch with virtually every American, everyday of the year. As a result, there's probably no element of the federal government that does more to shape the public's perception of how our self government is doing.

We've had a decline in the confidence that people have in government over the years, but in recent years that's started to come up again, and that's the story of the Postal Service too. Because I'm proud to say the postal service has made remarkable progress. Three years ago 79 percent of first class mail was delivered on time. Today that's gone from 79 percent to 92 percent, and the percentage is continuing to increase. That's progress as well.

Targeted Marketing's role symbolizes the cooperation that we have enjoyed from the private sector on many of the reinvention initiatives. They've helped to reinvent an important government service into a money-making proposition, that not only saves $50 million in tax dollars, but also creates new jobs. It's an extremely significant accomplishment, and these new jobs have contributed to the lowest unemployment rate we've had in 24 years.

Also, with Americans moving more often, relocating their families, it's more important than ever before that they're able to settle down quickly, get their mail quickly, and put down their roots in the new location quickly. And with their Movers Guide and Welcome Kit, the Postal Service and Targeted Marketing Solutions have taken a lot of the hassle out of that process.

Now people moving, not only find a more user friendly, change of address system, but they get important information about their new locations very very quickly. You've shown that people in government can do an outstanding job, and in partnership, with hard-charging, creative private sector companies we can really change things for the better.

So it's a great honor for me to be able to present this 1,000th award, and I would now like to ask Postmaster General, Marvin Runyon, and Brett Matthews, the CEO of TMSI, to accept this Hammer Award on behalf of all of you here in the audience, and then I'm going to ask both of them to say a few words. But first we're going to make this formal presentation.

MR. RUNYON: Well, thank you, Mr. Vice President, and thanks to Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy, and Representative Frank, and our partner in this endeavor, CEO, Brett Matthews of TMSI.

It's a real pleasure to be here today. I had planned to bring all of our employees. There wasn't a room big enough for 760,000.

Mr. Vice President, on behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service, I'm really proud to accept this Hammer Award, it's a wonderful thing for us.

It's easy to say, as we have done, go and reinvent the Postal Service, make it work faster, better, and cheaper for the American people. But it's quite another thing to make it happen, to recognize an opportunity, do the hard work and detailed planning needed to pull it off. Together with TMSI that's just what we've done.

It all began when TMSI came to us with a very bold innovative idea. They said that we can totally revamp your change of address services. We can make them even better than ever, and do it while serving the Postal Service money. We said, go for it, and together we went to work.

What emerged was an exciting array of new services, the Movers Guide, an innovative booklet that combines official postal service change of address forms, while giving useful moving tips and money-savings offers from national advertisers.

The Welcome Kit, which has everything you need to know to move, but didn't no where to ask. This kit centralizes vital information that state and local governments convey to their new residence, from emergency numbers to where to vote, creating convenience for citizens, and cost savings for public administrators. The Movers Net, which makes change of address services available 24 hours a day through our Internet home page.

Each year these services are not only easing the stress and strain of moving for 42 million Americans, they're saving the Postal Service $50 million.

I want to thank our partners, TMSI, especially team leader, John Kelly. Without their ingenuity and determination, none of would be here. From start to finish they did a terrific job. And I want to congratulate many postal employees who helped deliver this success to the nation. Our Address Management Team, especially Bob Crowse and Mike Murphy, who led this effort. They led this effort from the beginning. Also, there were many postal departments that supported them; Marketing, Diversity, Purchasing, Corporate Relation, Information System, and the Law Department.

As ticked those off, I got to thinking, simplifying government, that maybe we ought to think about that. We're deeply committed to reinventing government, through creative solutions, decisive action, and results that pay off for the American people. Thank you very much.

MR. MATTHEWS: This is great, Mr. Vice President. I am very honored to accept this award, on behalf of some pretty enthusiastic people from TMSI, so very happy about that.

I also would like to express my deep gratitude to Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Congressman Frank, for their support and their recommendation and recognition of this unique effort between TMSI and the Postal Service. And I'd also like to thank Postmaster General Runyon, who has really has built a culture at the Postal Service that permeates all departments, all the way down, up and down the 38,000 post offices, people that we deal with quite frequently, a culture which enables people who have courage to really step forward and do the right thing for the Postal Service business, and I think that that is a success.

About five years ago Ginger and I conceived of an idea that could bring forth a pretty big change, we felt, to the Postal Service, as well as to the people that we would serve. And we also joined up with Chris and Sandy Hessler to help form a company we thought would be pretty special, and I think you can see by the smiling faces out there, we're on our way.

We were able to meet a couple folks at the Postal Service -- Bob Crowse, from the first meeting. I think we really had the courage. He said, "You know, sometimes you get beat up for doing the right thing; sometimes you get beat up for doing the wrong thing, but we're going to do the right thing here." And from there it was a great beginning of the partnership. Folks like Mike Murphy to really take on the leadership role today, and really seek to improve, and I think, again, those are great examples of this partnership.

If I have more time, I would love to recognize everyone here, because of the unique contributions that people have made. And hopefully we will have a chance to do that a little bit later.

But I want to talk about how did the team accomplish this, and I think that that's a big part of this message here today. I think it really comes down to three things. It really starts with the culture that has to set up the atmosphere to do these things, the people, and certainly focusing on the customer.

Mr. Vice President, with your initiative to reinvent government, I'm happy to say that people out there are really listening across all levels of government; state, local, federal. And I have a hands-on example I want to talk to you about.

Part of the Welcome Kit, which basically brings together both the Postal Service change of address, confirmational (inaudible) letter, allows people to register to vote, notifies Department of Motor Vehicles. We've talked with those agencies; we've brought forth the idea with the IRS and Social Security, helping people with that move process. It was a different idea, not in the norm.

But there were people at each of those agencies that really stepped up and said, this is the right thing to do. It's going to save me money. It's going to help increase customer satisfaction. And I think that that's what's out there. The message is really being heard. I think that's that's what's exciting. We're really on the forefront of something great here.

To wrap it up, to all the folks at TMSI, to all the partners of the Postal Service, who came up from Memphis into D.C., and from all walks of the nation. Let's enjoy this moment; this is very special, and let's keep our sights on tomorrow. We've have a lot of folks here from our vendors and our advertisers, who are certainly critical to make this thing happen. Let's work together, because together we can do a lot more than being apart.

Mr. Vice President, one thing I'd like to leave you with, as you continue to reinvent the efforts, is that we're a small company, trying to do some good, and as you continue your efforts, we'll let you know that you have a partner right here at TMSI.


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