TED@UPS Speaker: Jack Levis

How we can persist — when everyone around us says stop.


Jack Levis

Jack Levis

True innovation is risky. Not only to your reputation, but also to your sense of self.

Starting in 2003, Jack Levis led the development of ORION.

An optimized routing system that has been called the world’s largest operation research project, ORION is systematically transforming how UPS drivers do their job.

At the center of a movement (and a department) that fundamentally challenges the way things are, Jack explores how we can persist – when everyone around us says stop.

As the senior director of process management at UPS, Jack Levis considers how a massive company can use radical technologies to improve how it runs on a grand scale.

By developing a routing system for UPS drivers that determines the most efficient delivery route for every driver, every day, Levis and his team will take more than 100 million miles off the road every year.

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Q&A with Jack Levis

1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Baseball Player

2. What was your first job?

Pumping gas.  Gas was <20 cents a gallon.

3. Where do you get your best thinking done?

On my ride to and from work.

4, What’s your favorite TED Talk?

Too many good ones to choose

5. Favorite quote?

Well done is better than well said.  – Ben Franklin

reagan secret war6. What book are you reading right now?

Reagan’s Secret war

7. Living or dead, who would you invite to dinner?

Albert Einstein

8. What cause are you most passionate about?


9. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Be yourself and have a pure heart and high integrity.

10. Proudest accomplishment?


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Ten years from now, I see computers predicting problems and solving them before anyone knows something is wrong.

11. Last weekend on earth – where would you go?


12. What’s something you see happening 10 years from now?

Computers predicting problems and solving them before anyone knows something is wrong

13. What is the best gift you have ever received?

My father’s mandolin

14. Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Robert Downey Junior

15. Favorite activity after work

Scuba Diving


To learn more about Jack and ORION:

Article: With At UPS, the Algorithm is the Driver, The Wall Street Journal does a deep dive into the ins and outs of UPS’s ORION technology.

Article: Truckers and Algorithms: Transportation optimization starts with math, but ends in understanding human behavior.

Video: See ORION in action in this PBS special:

Interview: Capgemini, a technology consulting group, interviews Jack about ORION



TED@UPS If there’s one thing every UPSer has in common, it’s that we have an irresistible desire to figure it out and get it done. And that leads to some amazing ideas. TED@UPS explores both the destination and the journey of ideas – big and small – that inspire us, challenge how we think or feel and even change the world.

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.