United Way board member David Ruiz loves logistics. So much, in fact, that as president for UPS, Florida District, he directs a workforce of nearly 13,000 employees known for their logistics expertise. He oversees all staff departments and operations, which includes a sophisticated transportation network across the state. He’s responsible for the successful transport of over 1 million packages daily to a service area that includes 40,000 customer sites.
David began his UPS career in 1978 as a loader/unloader in the Metro Chicago District and worked his way up. After 36 years, he shares his unique perspective on why he knows it’s important for businesses to give back.
How long have you been involved with United Way?
UPS is a huge advocate for United Way. I’ve been involved over 30 years. I joined the board of Heart of Florida United Way almost immediately upon my arrival to Orlando in 2010.
What inspired you to get involved?
As a company, UPS has always had a sincere interest in being involved with our customers and community. The fact that United Way does a lot of good and creates opportunities to help local residents is why I’m involved. Whether personal or professional, United Way helps to promote self-sufficiency, through housing stabilization, enhancing employability and other means.
Aside from that, my personal story is another reason. I grew up in a community that was receiving help from agencies like United Way. I participated in a boys club in Chicago, so I understand the value of these types of programs. I’m a product of one of those agencies. It provided an outlet for me to grow – in academics, athletics, and as a young man.
I’ve personally experienced the good things that can happen when the appropriate level of support is there and it’s run well.
What does it mean to you to LIVE UNITED?
Today, our community is so diverse – and it’s a really good thing. To “LIVE UNITED” to me means living and working towards the same goals. We still have many differences, but how we utilize all of those to make our community even better, is living united. Caring doesn’t have a culture. It’s universal.
How does United Way’s work in education impact your business?
Workforce development. Education, and specifically the ability to read, is extremely important for self-sufficiency. It’s a basic necessity to navigate life. Literacy is the key. A good education levels the playing field.
UPS has run many successful workforce giving campaign. Any pointers?
It starts at the top. Whether we’re talking about a family or a company, I’ve found that you’re most successful when you lead by example. If the leadership believes in community service and giving back, that resonates and people follow. Our organization has been a big believer in helping the community we live and serve in. Many employees, including myself, have come from humble beginnings and have been able to become productive and successful. We can’t forget where we came from.
What’s United Way’s greatest strength you’ve observed from being on “the inside” as a board member?
There is strength through openness to collaborate. It’s kind of like a hand. If you don’t have fingers working collaboratively, you don’t get a good grip. With two fingers, you can hold something, but it’s not very strong. With all five fingers working together, you get a very strong grasp. And, when it comes to improving lives in Central Florida, we’re all grasping for the same outcome.