The Ultimate Challenge

Wichita, KS, Mail Handler Lenard Hostetler, Special Olympian Casey Hostetler, and Casey’s mother Gloria Hostetler.

Wichita, KS, Mail Handler Lenard Hostetler, Special Olympian Casey Hostetler, and Casey’s mother Gloria Hostetler.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Games began this past Saturday with the highly anticipated opening ceremony. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries around the world converged in Los Angeles, CA, to test their competitive prowess in 25 different sports. Participating in this year’s games is the daughter of a mail handler in Wichita, KS.

Casey Hostetler, daughter of Mail Handler Lenard Hostetler, is competing this week in the sport of tennis. She will test her polished skills against those of other athletes in the highly competitive sport.

Casey Hostetler2

Special Olympian Casey Hostetler.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to meet new people from around the world and make new friends,” said Casey. “I want to win for myself, my team and my family and my friends who have supported me.”

In addition to this year’s Olympic challenge, Casey also participated in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, ID. Her snowshoeing expertise enabled her to bring home 2 silver medals.

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Special Olympics World Games

Special olympics 2015

This year, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement. The Games will be held in Los Angeles from July 25 to August 2. More than half a million spectators will enjoy nine days of challenging and inspiring international competition as more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will compete in 25 Olympic-type sports. It will be the first time the Special Olympics World Summer Games have been held in the United States since 1999.

The stamp features the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles logo, showcasing the colors of flags from participating countries. “The logo’s celebratory figure represents the courage, determination and joy of our athletes,” says Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of the 2015 Games. “Placing the iconic image inside the circle represents acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”

The stamp set is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide or visit ebay.com/stamps to shop for a wide variety of postage stamps and collectibles.

Fierce Competition

Fierce competition

In some countries around the world, mail delivery is open to competition. In others, it remains a closely guarded government monopoly. When mail service faces competition among multiple organizations, could it ultimately put accessibility at risk?

Last year, Royal Mail went through a significant change when the British government sold a majority stake in the company. While many still debate the decision, the company itself is blaming another factor entirely on its revenue circumstances – competition.

In 2006, mail service in the United Kingdom opened to competition. Throughout the years since, Royal Mail has shared the playing field with other organizations in the collection and sorting of mail. Recently, that field includes competing delivery service TNT Post.

In 2012, TNT Post launched delivery services in certain parts of the UK in direct competition with Royal Mail. TNT Post is continuing to expand its last mile of delivery coverage map and anticipates a staff of 20,000 carriers by the end of the current decade. Though the company is enjoying a period of increased profits, Royal Mail is concerned about the ultimate impact for customers as well as its own bottom line.

Officials at Royal Mail have called on tougher regulations for its rival, stating that the competition’s ability to cherry pick delivery areas and deliver on fewer days during week will ensure higher profit margins. This leaves Royal Mail at a strategic disadvantage by continuing its universal service obligation to deliver mail to all areas in the UK, including less profitable rural areas, six days per week.

However the British postal regulator Ofcom decides to handle the situation, Royal Mail’s competition is likely here to stay.

Do you think mail service in the United States should be opened up to competition?

No Stranger to Competition

Sylvester

On the weekend of June 1-2, 2013, the largest Special Olympic sporting event of the year in the state of Colorado was held in Grand Junction. More than 1,100 top athletes from around the state gathered together to participate in powerlifting, track and field, soccer, swimming, and many other challenging events. One of these talent individuals included a Special Olympic veteran at the Postal Service.

Dave Sylvester is a custodian at the South Denver Station in Denver, CO, and he’s no stranger to competition. Dave has been participating in the Special Olympics for the past 20 years, and has no intention of retiring any time soon.

“I’ll be competing next year too,” said Dave.

Besides being a dedicated Olympian, he’s also a successful one. During the Summer Games, Dave ranked within the top three spots in three separate events. He placed first in the shot put competition, earning a gold medal. He also placed second in the standing long jump for a silver medal and third in the 50-meter run for a bronze.

Asked how he manages to remain successful after many years of competition, Dave explains that he maintains an active lifestyle.

“I enjoy bike riding, lifting weights, and bowling,” said Dave.

With Dave’s continued focus on staying in shape and sharpening his skills, next year’s Summer Olympians will have a challenging time surpassing his athletic prowess.

Swiss Post to Spin Off Bank

Swiss Post to Spin Off Bank

PostFinance, the banking arm of Swiss Post, may soon be spinning off from its parent company in the summer of 2013. However, independence from the Post won’t place it on the same playing field with other banks in the industry, as certain restrictions still apply.

When PostFinance begins life as its own separate entity, Swiss Post will still, technically, own it. The Post will own all shares of the financial institution when it ventures out on its own. This places ownership of the bank squarely in the hands of the Swiss government, as they own the Post Office.

As a state owned entity, PostFinance will continue to be subject to restrictions that prevent it from engaging in certain competitive activities that could take business away from existing banks. This limitation is welcome news to competing banks, but that insulation may not last indefinitely.

Currently, PostFinance is prohibited from issuing loans. Considered a major revenue source for other banks, the postal bank must direct customers seeking loans to other financial institutions. This lucrative business has seen an uptick in demand as the country recovers from the recent financial crisis. When PostFinance shares eventually transfer into the hands of the public, the rules that limit its growth as a state-owned organization have the potential of being removed. If that were to happen, an unshackled PostFinance could prove a worthy competitor in the business and mortgage loan market.

Do you think a postal entity should be able to compete with private businesses in traditionally non-postal related markets?

Unaddressed Mail Boon for New Company

 

 

Unaddressed mail

When a new company forms, it usually attempts to take advantage of a niche market that doesn’t exist, one that’s currently underserved, or a market that has a low cost of entry with a high potential return. That’s the hope of Vlaamse Post, a newly formed company in the Belgium market that is seeking to become a part of the Belgium delivery network.

The postal market in Europe was opened to competition in 2011, allowing private competitors to compete head-to-head with government-run services. In September 2012, a private company called Vlaamse Post availed itself of that opportunity, and opened its doors for business. However, the company isn’t open to all postal services everywhere yet.

Vlaamse operates in a specific region of Belgium and focuses on a single product line. That product line consists of the delivery of unaddressed mail. It’s the easiest delivery option for a fledgling company, requiring minimal processing to deliver material to a wide audience. The company hopes to expand to all forms of addressed mail by 2014 as its delivery system, distribution network, and processing capabilities grow.

The Belgium government expects that the additional competition will lead to higher quality services at a lower cost for the citizens of the country. The proof will be in whether or not Vlaasme can turn a profit while making customers of the post happier than they were before the company opened its doors. One thing is clear in this new venture – potential competitors will be monitoring their progress carefully for a possible entry point, should the venture prove successful.

Do you think opening a Postal Service to competition is a good thing?

Competition and Opportunity

When shopping for the best price on a needed service, many people receive a collection of estimates on the work that needs to be done. Whether it’s installing a sprinkler system for the yard, laying down new carpet in the house, or replacing a transmission in a car, receiving multiple offers on the proposed job can help someone identify the best service for the best price. Recently, the Postal Service announced that it was going to seek bids from other companies in providing air transportation service as its contract with FedEx expires in September 2013. The transition to a competitive bidding process has domestic air services salivating at the opportunity.

UPS is particularly interested in the opportunity to work with USPS and is assembling a proposal that will seek to be the most competitive on the table. FedEx would like to remain partners with USPS and is working on its own proposal that it hopes will maintain that relationship. Other smaller companies such as ABX Air, ASTAR USA, and Atlas Air are among those that may also be interested in the opportunity to work with the Postal Service and could offer bids that they think will beat out the competition.

No matter which contract USPS accepts, the offer is likely to be the best combination of service and cost. The new partnership will help ensure that the services offered to USPS customers are as timely and affordable as possible, allowing the Postal Service to remain one of the most efficient carriers in the world.

What do you think about the request for proposals by USPS?

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