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First Lady Gives Props to Alum for Disaster Relief Efforts

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jake Wood, a 2005 alumnus of the Wisconsin School of Business, is the president of Team Rubicon, an organization honored by first lady Michelle Obama at the closing of the Clinton Global Initiative—engaging veterans to continue with their service.

Team Rubicon fields self-sustaining mobile teams of skilled responders into devastated areas immediately after natural disasters. Team members use 21st-century technology, networking, and a horizontal command structure to meet critical needs.

Mrs. Obama talked about how Wood became involved in the project.

"[He] watched the devastation unfold on TV and he said to himself ... 'Jake, you're not in the Marines any more, but you have a special set of skills. You would be ashamed of yourself if you didn't try and use them to help people,'" Mrs. Obama said.

Wood discusses in a letter written after Obama’s message that veterans have a unique set of skills that should be better utilized.  His goal is to ensure that no veteran in pushed aside in the goal to help those in need.

Since Haiti, Team Rubicon has traveled to Chile, the Thai-Burma border, and Pakistan.  Wood realizes though, that there is much more to do.

“Knowing that the White House has taken notice of our sincere, albeit meager, effort is humbling.  We realize that we are still a small fish in a very large pond; however, if we can convince the larger players in the game, the legacy NGOs, that veterans and firefighters and nurses and doctors are worth employing, then we have succeeded; then we have changed the landscape for the better,”  Wood said.