Ray Fortier knows logistics. Whether through his experience as a member of the Operations Leadership Development Program at Travelers or as a captain in the Connecticut National Guard, you will find Ray ready to take on new roles and new challenges.
In early April of 2020, Ray answered the call to support the Connecticut National Guard’s COVID-19 response plan.
He sat down with us to share his experience working on the front lines of the state’s response efforts and also what it is like to be a military employee at Travelers.
What is your role at Travelers?
I am in my fourth rotation in the Operations Leadership Development Program (OLDP). My current rotation is in Technology Business Support. I serve as a liaison between the Business Insurance Field and Technology organizations. I also oversee various projects and initiatives.
How long have you been with the company?
Five years. I started right after graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2015.
Tell us about your service in the Connecticut National Guard.
I’ve been serving as a logistics officer for over seven years. I spent my first two years with the 143rd Military Police Company then joined the 1048th Transportation Company, where I led a platoon of 55 soldiers focused on transporting and distributing commodities and equipment. I later moved to the role of Battalion Plans Officer (Future Operations), overseeing training and operations for a combat sustainment support battalion. In early 2020, I moved into the Plans Officer role at the 143rd Regional Support Group.
What is your current mission and role with the CTNG?
Since early April, my mission has involved overseeing Connecticut’s “Commodities Warehouse” as a part of its COVID-19 response plan. Our site is the central hub for all inbound shipments and outbound shipments for hospitals, state agencies, first responders and municipalities. I am the officer in charge of all warehouse operations, which includes inventory management, coordination of inbound and outbound shipments, transportation planning, site security and other capabilities required to make a military-run warehouse function successfully.
Why are your role and mission important to you and the community?
While stepping away from my role at Travelers was difficult, having the opportunity to assist the State of Connecticut in distributing greatly needed commodities has been one of the most fulfilling and satisfying moments of my career so far. Nurses, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and everyday citizens have needed supplies and equipment for months. Our mission is to get those supplies to these people as quickly as possible, so they can ensure the critical functions of our state are kept intact. There’s nothing more important than that.
What first-hand experiences can you share?
In the operation’s early stages, we were extremely low on a lot of requested critical personal protection equipment (PPE), like hand sanitizer, exam gloves and surgical masks. Incoming shipments were infrequent at best. Around the fourth week of our operation, I was doing my regular warehouse walks. I noticed tiny travel-sized hand sanitizers with Travelers’ logo across the side sitting in one of the aisles. As soon as I saw them, a feeling of pride swept over me and for a moment, I thought about how everyone was doing back at work. Within days they were distributed throughout Connecticut to folks who needed them. It’s funny how such a small item with our red umbrella made me feel connected to my company and coworkers after weeks of being away on this mission.
What’s it like to be a military employee at Travelers?
Working at Travelers while serving in the military has been extraordinary. Travelers has proven what it says about supporting those with military commitments. Whether it’s for normal monthly and yearly training or longer-term missions, support from the company and my leaders and fellow colleagues has been more than I could have expected. It gives me peace of mind that I can step away to serve my community and know my career will still be there when I return.
Through its partnership with American Forests, the oldest nonprofit conservation group in the nation, Travelers will soon reach its goal of planting one million new trees.
In celebration of the 50th Earth Day, and in keeping with the company’s dedication to environmentalism, Travelers is also continuing its partnership with American Forests through April 2021. Through this partnership, Travelers has planted one tree for every Personal Insurance customer who opted in to paperless billing in 2019. The company will continue these efforts and expects to plant up to a half-million more new trees.
“We are proud to have reached this important milestone and to continue our successful partnership with American Forests,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “We are committed to operating our business efficiently and sustainably. This program achieves both, by creating a convenient experience for our customers and meaningfully reducing our paper usage and carbon footprint.”
“With Travelers’ support, we planted 1 million trees in some of America’s most endangered forests – taking 1 million steps for safe, healthy communities and a vibrant natural environment,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “We are very grateful to Travelers, one of our largest corporate partners, and excited to continue working together to make a positive impact on our planet.”
Additionally, Travelers regularly implements cost-effective ways to positively impact the eco-efficiency of its business. Other measures include:
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in a young woman’s life,” reflects Lorie Darrow, Business Insurance and Women in Actuarial and Analytics (WIAA) member. Through WIAA and the Travelers Women’s Diversity Network, Lorie and about a dozen other members from the two groups mentor students at Grace Academy, an independent and tuition-free middle school for girls from underserved families in Hartford, Connecticut.
Each week, they spend their lunch hour with the seventh- and eighth-graders, providing social and emotional support. They also help them prepare for high school, college and professional life by sharing personal experiences and engaging in activities. Over the last three years, Lorie has worked with some of the same students this school year as the mentoring commitment continues throughout the duration of the students’ time at Grace Academy.
“I am very proud to be a part of Travelers and our hands-on community outreach that fosters education and strengthens our commitment to diversity,” added Elena Antonetti, Legal Services, and Women’s Diversity Network member. “Programs like this are invaluable in helping students to think about their future. They also give us a chance to introduce more women to careers in insurance and law.”