Jack Levis

Past Awards

Volunteer Service Award: Winner(s)
2020 - Winner(s)

Franz Edelman Award: Winner(s)

UPS On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) Project

UPS, the leading logistics provider in the world, and long known for its penchant for efficiency, embarked on a long journey to streamline and modernize its Pickup and Delivery Operations in 2003. This journey resulted in a suite of systems that are collectively known as Package Flow technologies (PFT), and an advanced optimization system known as ORION (On Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation). ORION uses the data foundation of PFT to provide an optimized manifest to its drivers so that they can meet the complex demands of providing service. Costing $250 million to build and deploy, ORION is expected to save UPS $300 to $400 million annually. By building efficient routes and reducing the miles driven, and fuel consumption, ORION also contributes to UPS’s sustainability efforts by reducing the CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons annually. ORION provides the foundation for a new generation of advanced planning systems for UPS. Because of its sheer size and scope, it has come to be regarded as one of the largest operations research projects in the world.

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)

The 2015 INFORMS President's Award is awarded to Jack Levis for his significant contributions to the practice of operations research and analytics, and for service to the profession in both extensive outreach and in improving INFORMS operations.

In his four-decade career at UPS, Jack Levis has overseen process reengineering through the integration of multiple planning and control systems, enabling the seamless integration of their physical and virtual networks.  As the Director of Process Management, he has led breakthrough changes for UPS and has reduced millions of driving miles, giving UPS significant competitive advantage, through the UPS award-winning package flow technology and ORION (on-road integrated optimization navigation) system.

Jack is an influential leader within INFORMS. During his service as the INFORMS Vice President of Practice (2010-2013), he led the development and introduction of a new budgeting system for INFORMS. He has also served INFORMS as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, Sections/Societies Committee, Professional Recognition Committee, and Meetings Committee, as well as leading the 2007 INFORMS Analytics Conference as General Chair. To strengthen ties between academia and industry, he and CPMS collaborated with the INFORMS Board and UPS C-suite to create the UPS George D. Smith Prize.

Jack Levis is a superb ambassador for operations research and analytics through keynote talks, the popular press, and his advisory council positions (including those with the U.S. Census Scientific Advisory Board and the Analytics Certification Board).  The popular episode on Making Stuff Faster featuring his operations team at UPS (in the Making Stuff series on the PBS series Nova) is a prime example of his success at outreach.

In 2003, his team won the INFORMS Prize, and was an Edelman Prize runner-up (“UPS Optimizes Its Air Network”).  As written in the INFORMS Prize citation, “While providing myriad cost savings, operations research is indeed a strategic lynchpin and a significant source of competitive advantage for UPS.” Jack Levis has also received multiple industry awards including those from InfoWorld, CIO Top 100, Gartner Business Intelligence, and Computerworld Premier 100.

The purpose of the INFORMS President's Award is to recognize important contributions to the welfare of society. Jack Levis is not only an ambassador of operations research and analytics, spreading word about the value of these techniques: he also practices what he preaches. He has led the analytics and operations research practice at UPS, providing improved societal value by enabling organizations and individuals to better carry out their missions through reliable and timely package deliveries.  It is an honor to present the 2015 INFORMS President's Award to Jack Levis.

George E. Kimball Medal: Awardee(s)

Jack Levis is a Senior Director of Process Management for UPS. He joined the company in 1976 as a package loader while getting his degree in psychology. Jack held many front-line management positions in both operations and engineering and in each was able to make significant, measurable improvement. 

In 1987, he was promoted to the position of engineer responsible for the West Coast Transportation network. He led a reengineering effort that resulted in an annual savings of $30 million. Innovation has been a focal point of his career and in 1990 he was asked to join the corporate engineering staff responsible for an operations technology vision. 

Jack worked to help UPS become a data driven company and in 1995 won a Computerworld Smithsonian Award for UPS’ first information/data warehouse. He was then given the added responsibility of managing UPS’ Operations Research (OR) divisions. This responsibility opened Jack’s eyes to the power and value of analytics, operations research, and INFORMS.  

His new assignment put him in a unique position of being responsible for both operations vision and operations research. This allowed him to ensure that OR was built into processes from the beginning, and his team designed an award-winning suite of tools that included predictive and prescriptive models.  

These tools transformed UPS’ delivery operations, ultimately reducing 185 million driving miles per year. The spectacular results garnered significant industry attention and won over a dozen prestigious awards, including the Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award, Computerworld technology awards, and CIO top 100 Awards. 

Jack has been a very active INFORMS member. He served on many committees including Meetings, Strategic Planning, Certified Analytics Professional, and Edelman Gala. In addition, he served four years as Vice President of Practice, and was the emcee for the 2015 Edelman Gala. Along with CPMS and the INFORMS Board, he helped create the prestigious UPS George D. Smith Prize to strengthen ties between academia and practice. 

Jack has been an evangelist for INFORMS and the profession. He has spoken about the value of operations research in media publications, interviews, and keynote presentations. This includes the National Academy of Sciences, Innovation Summits, The Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine, Fast Company, Bloomberg TV, and NOVA. The MSL Group, a public relations and communications consulting company estimates an “audience reach” of nearly 175 million.

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)