Behind the Hustle
Stories worth telling.
Stories worth telling.
I BELIEVE IN YOU
To fully comprehend what defines Deployed Logix, we must look to the company’s humble beginnings and unpack the story that shaped the business. It all started with one family – one piece of news – and one leap of faith. In December 2011, JJ and Katie Urhausen welcomed their first daughter into the world. At 28 weeks pregnant, the couple received news that many would consider a parent’s worst nightmare: their child would be born with severe disabilities. For Katie and JJ, the discovery was of course difficult; however, it would be the wind necessary to turn JJ’s spark of a business idea into a full-fledged flame. At the time, he was feeling more like a number and less like a person at his former job. JJ recalled confiding in Katie, saying, “I just don’t see how I can continue giving everything for somebody else when I have all this going on at home. So, if I’m going to give everything… it has to be for us.” Katie replied: “I trust you, I believe in you,” and thus the idea of building their own company dawned – just a few months after their darling daughter Jovie was born.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
JJ knew he didn’t have the capital to start a business on his own, but armed with his wife’s support and daughter as motivation, he did what any good emergency management professional would do: he worked within his network and made a plan. JJ recruited a friend and former colleague of Katie’s to help write a nuanced business plan to share with potential investors. Next, JJ reached out to people he knew would believe in his goals the way his own family did. Xavier Iturbide, a longtime friend and savvy businessman, was one of the first people to lay eyes on the finished business plan for review. JJ met Xavier while doing a study abroad program in Mexico when he was 21. Nearly a decade later, the two remained close and would only get closer when Xavier decided he wanted to be a founding member of the business, which was still nameless at the time. With an ambitious business plan and esteemed partner, JJ came to realize just how important it would be to bring people he already knew and trusted onto their team. The family dynamic within DLX is deliberate and the result of our founding members coming together to nurture an idea into a reality. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and the same can be said about a business.
X MARKS THE SPOT
As was the case with naming their children, the Urhausens had a “when you know, you know” moment when deciding what their business would be called. The scenario is only fitting considering DLX would ultimately become a part of the extended Urhausen family. From the comfort of their old living room sofa, between sips of coffee, Katie, JJ, and their friend Lizzie went back and forth discussing the cornerstones of emergency response and how the name of the business would reveal where they’d been, where they hoped to go, and establish who they wanted to serve. They unanimously agreed on Deployed Logix, or DLX, for short.
Katie came up with “Deployed,” choosing the past-tense of the word as a way to say:
We may be the new business on the block, but our team is experienced in the industry and understands what it takes to hit the ground running when a crisis calls.
JJ landed on Logix, explaining: “We wanted the name to speak to logistics being really clutch in our industry. The guys who make an impact on what decisions are made are usually the logisticians. They’re kind of that unsung hero, so we’ve always known we wanted to pay homage to those guys. To me, Logix is a combination of logistics and common sense, which speaks to the easy-to-understand nature of our products.” He went on to share an acronym that gained notoriety in the US military: K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid. The principle here is that designs and ideas should be straightforward and intuitive to best serve their purpose. This quick and easy-to-use philosophy would become fundamental to the initial product line and continues to serve our Research and Development team today.
Opting for the ‘X’ suffix was the finishing touch that christened Deployed Logix. Originally the ‘X’ was multipurpose: to give a nod to Xavier, who spells his name with an X instead of the traditional J, and to make reference to the X-Factor quality the company sought to embody. Little did they know how much their initial naming would contribute to future product and brand development. As Katie noted: “I don’t think we could have predicted how easily that would flow into other areas of the company.” Today DLX has an X-Series product line, the Get-X Trailer, and other products that all take inspiration from the company’s name and resulting ethos.
A FACE TO A NAME
A name is necessary, but a logo is what really makes a brand come to life and gives it a personality of its own. JJ had worked in the disaster preparedness industry much of his adult life and through the years he encountered countless companies with good products but subpar marketing. He recognized an opportunity for DLX to distinguish itself as the sleek, fresh, and innovative brand in the industry through top-of-the-line products and thoughtful marketing. Katie, then the Creative Director at the University of Oregon Athletic Department, knew a thing or two about tasteful branding, so once again the two teamed up with trusted confidants and got to work building a logo. Much like the name, the Urhausens wanted the company branding to represent the goals, experience, and values held by the business. From the get-go, they knew a globe would be a key feature of the logo to represent the multicultural roots of the company and the global market it aimed to serve. JJ is a Spanish speaker and Xavier, a Mexican national with global connections, speaks at least three languages fluently.
“DLX was conceptualized as a global company. With multinational founders and multiple multilingual team members, we always knew DLX would be heavily involved in the international market. When we bring in our cultural knowledge and are aware of different global tendencies, it allows us to cross market barriers.”
It was always important to these globetrotters to make cross-cultural relationship-building and servitude the emphasis of their business model – believing that, products aside, if they treated people like members of their own team then DLX would surely be the first to come to mind when a crisis calls. The final addition of the arrow to the globe logo indicates the forward motion of DLX as a company, and the priority we place on constant product research and development.
ANOTHER BRANCH ON THE FAMILY TREE
With a proper name and logo in place, it was time for these Hustlers to hit the ground running. The two-man team of JJ and Xavier (Katie was balancing life as a new mom and a full-time job at the University of Oregon at the time) knew they would need reinforcements if they were to climb the ranks and become industry leaders. Adam Barr, now a partner and our General Manager, was DLX’s first official hire. JJ had worked with him before and recognized that Adam embodied what they hoped to see within the business: drive, dedication, industry expertise, and charisma. At just 24-years-old, the former Dutch Bros barista turned shelter connoisseur would become a key contributor to the initial DLX product line, all while performing the day-to-day operations of the new business with JJ and Xavier. Since then, he’s led our Research and Development team in continuous pursuit of state-of-the-art rapid deployment gear. Adam’s faith in JJ and DLX is noteworthy: He gave up a well-paying position at a large company to support his friend’s vision and pursue his own interest in product innovation. As Katie said, “He joined DLX when there was zero safety net.”
HEROES IN PLAIN CLOTHES: A DEEPER LOOK AT LOGISTICS
Think about the last big event you attended, or better yet – the last event you hosted. Was there enough food to go around? How about space? Who did you invite? Were there any unexpected obstacles? If the party went off without a hitch, you may have a knack for logistics.
Logistics (n) is defined as: “the planning, implementation, and coordination of the details of a business or other operation.”
We encounter the need for logistics in many facets of our personal lives, including party planning, but in disaster response having a skilled logistician on your team can be the difference between life and death.
Logistics is often a thankless job and this section is designed to celebrate the planning pros who helped inspire our name and make shelter deployments possible. As JJ touched on above, logisticians are the people who get things done and from my interactions, I surely agree. During my very first deployment with DLX I met L.N. Lurie, a logistician with International Medical Corps. She helped me understand the complexities of her job with a 2-inch by 3-inch patch that reads “LOGS IS EASY.” It has an octopus with a different tool in each tentacle. At face value the patch was entertaining, but the irony of her custom design came to light when she shared her role specific to the field hospital setup we’d begun that morning outside Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Lurie’s work started long before DLX shelters arrived in the hospital parking lot. In fact, she had arranged their safe transportation to the building site. She’d also coordinated with the hospital facility managers to find out what they could provide in terms of space, personnel, water, and electricity for the deployment. Every detail down to volunteer lodging and work-site refreshments were preplanned by Lurie. This was all in addition to her primary responsibility of overseeing a smooth shelter set up and providing guidance on IMC-specific preferences. It’s safe to say that logisticians are the unsung superheroes of the emergency response industry… or the juggling octopuses. Whatever imagery best conveys the idea to you.
To better grasp the nuances of such a widely encompassing job, I spoke to Terry Crammer of Los Angeles County EMS Agency. As Chief of Disaster Services overseeing the Hospital Preparedness Program, Crammer lives and breathes logistics. As HPP Manager, Crammer’s department receives requests for assistance from hospitals, assesses the urgency of the request, and then determines a variety of avenues the county can take to meet that need. Sometimes, as was the case with COVID-19, the federal government provides some funding for necessary supplies like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). When encountering this scenario in the Spring of 2020, hospitals were scrambling to stockpile PPE and prepare to expand their capacities with portable shelters. Presumably, the most complicated part of Crammer’s position involves coordinating different ways to accomplish the same goal, whether it be through federal funding or by using preexisting support networks to fill gaps when funding runs out. He shared an example with me that really contextualized the abstract thinking involved in logistics: imagine you are driving from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California. How would you get there? Most people would default to the shortest, most direct path, however; it really depends on your goal and anticipated obstacles. “Do you want the fastest route? Do you want the more scenic route? Do you want to avoid freeways? In the planning process, it’s about strategizing to develop more than one way to get from point A to point B,” Crammer shared. He encouraged me to think of preparedness coalitions in the same way: “If a hospital in Antelope Valley submits a request for a shelter and we verify that they’ve exhausted every capability of getting it through traditional or nontraditional supply chains, then we see if we have it in our warehouse. If we don’t, we begin to look within the community to see if another facility in the region has a shelter to spare and arrange a pick up. If none are available, we look to the state and then theoretically to the feds.” As Crammer pointed to, the logistics of emergency response include having a backup plan for your backup plan.
Crammer and Lurie represent two different sides of the logistics spectrum: from carrying out on the ground deployments to coordinating the availability of resources from overhead. “We talk about this all the time…when things go really smooth. Nobody ever notices because you did your job,” said Crammer. The leadership and forward-thinking involved with logistics are not lost on us. None of what we do would be effective, or possible for that matter, without these silent superheroes. At Deployed Logix, we are proud to share a name and likeness with the professionals who inspire us.
CRAWL, WALK, RUN
In a college course about entrepreneurship JJ received a valuable piece of advice that has served the best interest of DLX as a family, as a business, and from a logistical standpoint: crawl, walk, run. The company always had grand goals, but JJ and Xavier knew getting there would require baby steps. If they wanted to be a part of the global market, they’d have to start with a narrower focus on the Latin American Market. If they wanted to open a Mexico office (part of the original business plan), they’d have to make sure their Oregon office was thriving first. As of September 2020, products sourced from DLX are on every continent on earth except Antarctica, and within the next month JJ will be traveling to Guadalajara to help Xavier open that office. I could go on to list all the accomplishments DLX has attained over the last eight years, but instead, I’ll reiterate what has made all of these achievements possible: a culture focused on gratitude, recognition, and relationship building within the business. What started as a way for the Urhausens to better serve their family, has turned into a way for DLX to serve those who are out there making the world a better, safer, more prepared place. You were probably introduced to DLX as a shelter company, but at the end of the day, our products are simply the sneakers we wear to run farther and faster into the business of helping people.
Deployed Logix specializes in rapid deployment shelters and scalable, customizable solutions for first responders, healthcare, and private organizations. Our rapid deployment shelters put you under cover and out of the elements in as little as 60-seconds with two personnel. Discover today why we’re the leader in American made rapid deployment disaster preparedness products.
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