PostalVision2020/3.0 – “Positioning America for the New Millennium” took place on Tuesday April 23 and Wednesday April 24 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington DC. These two days were packed with a broad representation of innovators, thought leaders, academics, and policy makers. The clear consensus of participants was that the US Postal Service must continue to exist and return to a financially viable infrastructure component. Through much discussion, it was clear that Congress must fulfill it responsibility and craft legislation that enables the US Postal Service to thrive and serve all Americans. Senator Tom Carper clearly articulated that Postal Reform legislation was his top priority along with cybersecurity.
* Vint Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google, told PostalVision 2020 attendees that although we need to be “blunt and brutal in our analysis of the problems,” he considers physical delivery to be fundamental to a Democratic society. “We can not afford not to have that capability,” he said, noting that it is a national infrastructure like telecommunications, schools, roads, water, etc. “It is incumbent on us to figure out how we retain this infrastructure.”
* Randy Miskanic, USPS Vice President of Secure Digital Solutions (SDS), told the PV2020 group that the USPS and industry need to look at how mail will be relevant to the next generation, and how to complement physical products and services by moving into the digital space as well as what the USPS can do in the entire digital space.
* The Honorable David Walker, founder of the Comeback America initiative and former U.S. Comptroller General, talked to the PV2020 crowd about transforming government – including the Postal Service – to meet 21st century challenges. “The federal government has grown too big, promised too much, and needs to fundamentally restructure,” Walker said, noting that it has “no plan, no budget, and no performance metrics.” “There are significant parallels between the Postal Service and the government,” he said, noting that in many cases the Postal Service is a “microcosm of the federal government.”
* David Williams, USPS Inspector General (IG), told the PV2020 audience that this is a “period of amazing change,” and said we need to figure out how to respond to that in terms of our postal system and businesses. Williams said the union of smart devices and social networking make the need to physically transport lots of messages undesirable. Technology and print are rediscovering each other, he said, in relationships such as smart devices and QR codes, geofencing, hybrid and reverse hybrid.
* Senator Tom Carper, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told the PV2020 group that the Senate is working to develop “some agreement on common principles on which postal legislation could be drawn,” and hopes to have something soon. He said he would like to do it as a bipartisan bill and have the House develop its own bill, then be able to introduce it next month and hold hearings next month. He said hearings are needed so that others don’t stop the progress of the legislation by saying that correct procedure was not followed in that it is a different bill and therefore needs hearing. He said that he would like to have a bill on the President’s desk by the July 4 recess, or if that does not happen, by the August recess.