Helping Our Clients Find Their Way
Ursa Major’s consulting team comprises accomplished industry leaders, successful executives, experienced entrepreneurs and skilled subject matter experts who have each played critical roles in the growth of extraordinary postal – parcel – delivery industry. And, they continue to thrive on addressing the disruptive challenges of this rapidly transforming environment. Their disciplines include strategy, planning, finance, marketing, sales, customer relations, operations, process design, information systems, e-commerce and general management.
A Virtual Constellation of Consultant Stars
Co-Founder and Managing Director
John founded The PostalVision 2020 Initiative in 2010 out of frustration with what he perceived as the postal industry’s reluctance to acknowledge the approaching tsunami of digital disruptive innovation that was barreling down on our traditional USPS operating model. He sensed a critical need to expose the crisis and collectively discuss what to do about it in an open and objective conversation with all stakeholders.
Having started his career in the seventies as a Postal Service disrupter himself by founding Calico Air Courier, then merging it into DHL Express, John spent the next few decades pushing the postal/parcel envelope at DHL, TNT Skypak, Purolator Courier and pioneer online shipping system developer, Milestone Systems, before beginning his strategy consulting practice advising USPS. Under Coopers & Lybrand and PwC, he thought-led projects on the USPS’s Expedited & Package Services Business Plan, PostOffice Online and International Business Unit strategy. For the latter he led the breakthrough alliance with DHL to create Global Express Guaranteed, the first co-branded USPS product with a competitor. And his counterpart at DHL was Mike Comstock, with whom he would later found Ursa Major Associates in 2000.
John and his Ursa Major colleagues have advised mailing and express delivery industry leaders such as, Pitney Bowes, FedEx, DHL Global Mail, Neopost, as well as many start-ups on strategic issues in the progressively integrating mail and parcel value chain. John has played key advisory roles in several USPS-OIG studies regarding Expanding the Postal Platform into the Digital World, Parcel Strategy, Retail Strategy and IP Strategy. As a well-known and highly respected postal industry expert, John has appeared on CNBC, NPR’s Morning Edition and Marketplace; has been interviewed by the Washington Post, Kiplinger Letter, Post & Parcel and E-Commerce Bytes; has authored Op-Eds for The Hill; is a familiar speaker at industry conferences in the U.S and abroad and has written numerous articles for trade publications.
In all his work, John likes to begin by taking a high-level ‘Google Earth’ view of the postal ecosystem, carefully exploring the transformative nature of its landscape. He endeavors to track the trajectory of the industry and its players while keeping a cautious eye out for hazards and a sharp focus on opportunities. PostalVision 2020 represents the most challenging expedition of John’s career and he welcomes all to join him and his team in exploring what lies ahead for America’s postal ecosystem.
Mike is a seasoned executive with over 35 years of broad management experience. Starting with DHL Worldwide Express in its formative days, Mike played a pivotal role in many aspects of the company’s evolution both in the US and globally. He held numerous positions with DHL in operations and general management with the responsibility for over 3000 staff. His corporate staff experience includes numerous leadership roles as Senior Vice President of Business Systems Development, Senior Vice President of E commerce, and Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy. Mike has been a key member of numerous DHL global steering groups including Operations, Information Technology and ECommerce. Mike was the DHL architect of the innovative Global Express Guaranteed service developed and implemented jointly with US Postal Service.
Based on his broad experience, Mike founded Ursa Major Associates with John Callan in 2001. Mike has also held the position of Vice President of Operations for TestMart, an online marketplace for electronic test and measurement equipment; Vice President of Operations for InterSchola, an online seller of surplus public agency equipment, and was the General Manager-Americas for Borderlinx, a Belgium based startup which facilitates cross border eCommerce. Mike has also directed the production of three PostalVision2020 conferences.
Mike’s Expertise – Strategy Development, Business Planning, Business Process Design, Cross-border eCommerce, Logistics Outsourcing, Project Management, Delivery Operations
Bernhard is the Managing Director of the Postal Innovation Platform (PIP), an initiative focusing on the future for the postal industry with a solution-oriented approach. PIP operates under the umbrella of an academic research center (EPFL-MIR based in Lausanne, Switzerland), the Universal Postal Union, and Swiss Post. It is an open platform inviting all postal industry stakeholders to join, contribute and thus create innovation, value and solutions for the postal sector. He previously worked for the Austrian Post as Director of Regulatory Affairs, and served as the Director of Inter-company Pricing and Regulation at the International Post Corporation in Brussels for over five years. Among his current activities Bernhard is also a management trainer, moderator at various conferences and the co-editor of a publication on postal services in the digital age.
Bernhard is also an entrepreneur, who founded and manages Vinaficio, an e-marketplace that supports European wineries. Studying and working on eCommerce and cross-border issues for many years Bernhard put his knowledge to practice and launched together with his partners his eCommerce company which connects today buyers and sellers across nine European countries, providing full logistics, payment, tax and duty administration support.
Bernhard holds a LL.M from George Washington University and a J.D. from the University of Graz, Austria.
In his current consultancy role Bernhard strives to connect postal market stakeholders, strategic thinkers, innovation gurus and leading business people in order to come up with ideas and solutions that can help to shape the changing postal industry. The new postal ecosystem requires all parties to cooperate closely and to be always ahead of the newest trends and customer needs and Bernhard helps them to identify ideas, opportunities and possible solutions.
Bernhard’s Expertise – Postal and express logistics, innovation, management, eCommerce, cross border solutions, digital solutions, postal regulation and politics, communication, inter-company pricing, international, European affairs, trainer & moderator, connecting people, entrepreneurship.
Director – Community and Brand Development
Kathy is well-known in the postal community for her consulting work with PostCom and others, and brings a wealth of knowledge on postal issues as well as a passion for innovation. She has worked for over 30 years in the postal industry, starting with 11 years at the USPS, then transitioning to a variety of industry roles including Vice President of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), before starting her own consulting business in 2000. For the past 15 years, she has provide consulting services to PostCom and other mailing industry associations, as well as mailing software vendors, service providers and mail owners.
“We’ve been after Kathy to join us for years”, says PostalVision Founder John Callan. “Her industry knowledge, analytical skills and writing talent are well known and highly respected by leaders and observers all across the postal ecosystem. We are delighted that she has joined PostalVision 2020 to serve as her primary communications platform.”
Kathy also has presented at many postal venues over the years, including the National Postal Forum, Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), numerous Postal Customer Council (PCC) meetings, PostCom events, webinars, and USPS meetings. She was the industry chair for the 100+ member MTAC group tasked in 2007 with defining “modern” service standards under PAEA, and service performance continues to be one of many areas she focuses on through her consulting work.
Many of you know Kathy from her extensive work in the postal arena, but here are a few things you may not know about her – she has not one, but two, 3D printers at home and is an avid follower of innovative technology; and she regularly attends the Maker Faire (a great innovation incubator!).
And Kathy is no stranger to PV2020! You may not know it, but you’ve been reading her coverage of our PostalVision2020 conferences for the past several years. Keep an eye out in the upcoming weeks for new content and discussion on the PV2020 web site from Kathy as well as our other team members!
Elmar Toime is an independent advisor to the postal sector based on his broad experience as a senior executive in the industry. He is a regular commentator and speaker at industry events. He lives in London, United Kingdom. He is chairman of Postea, Inc, a postal technology group incorporated in 2006 and is a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading logistics company. He advises at the board and corporate level as well as working with start-up firms in the postal and logistics sector. He has particular interests in corporate governance, business strategy, and organisational development.
Elmar was the chief executive of New Zealand Post Limited from 1993 to 2003 where he diversified its business base into new areas of activity, including into courier and express services, third party logistics, digital services and in 2002 the establishment of a new, full service retail bank, Kiwibank Ltd. This move into banking exemplified his long interest and commitment to extracting value from the post office retail network. Through the New Zealand Post subsidiary company, Transend Ltd of which he was Chairman, at its time the largest postal consulting firm in the world, New Zealand Post acquired a 30% share of Malta Post, the first postal privatisation. In this period New Zealand Post had top executives managing postal companies including South Africa Post, Namibia Post, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, amongst others.
In 2003 he moved to the UK when he was appointed Executive Deputy Chairman of the Royal Mail Group, with roles including chairman of the Royal Mail management board and chairman of GLS B.V., a leading parcel delivery logistics company in Europe. He left Royal Mail at the end of 2004. During a period in 2007/8 he was interim CEO of the SKYCITY Entertainment Group, a major New Zealand listed company, stepping in from the Board where he had been a long serving non-executive director. He led the company in a period of transition and including a takeover attempt, requiring him to deal interactively with the financial markets.
Elmar has been voted by his peers for a life-time achievement award for leadership in the postal industry. Born in Italy, Elmar grew up and was educated in Melbourne, Australia and has qualifications in Science and in Economics from the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Science and Manufactures.
Elmar’s expertise – Strategic development of postal businesses, in all aspects from governance, management structures, operational best practice, retail business development, and scenario modelling. He is particularly interested in the robustness of strategic plans and the link between these and both the existing business and its existing capabilities. He is able to organise best practice seminars across all management disciplines. He advises on privatisation and the soundness of business plans.