What if someone of Paul Akers’ experience was in the Oval Office the day the drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico?
Paul Akers is an experienced executive – not a lawyer, politician, or ivory tower academic. Once the rig burned and sank, it became obvious that a disastrous leak was occurring. All effective executives have a crisis management playbook. First: discover the scope of the problem. Second: Gather your team of experts. Third: Determine a plan of action. Fourth: Implement the plan and focus, focus, focus on the highest priorities. Realizing that the situation was out of control, an executive would have immediately begun plans to solve the problem and minimize the damage to the delicate ecosystems and vulnerable businesses along the Gulf Coast. Here are the ten steps that would have been taken during the first several days of the crisis:
1. Contact every major firm in the exploration, extraction, and support portions of the petroleum industry and request their two most experienced individuals. Problems are best solved at the shop floor level by those with hands on experience – not in some office thousands of miles away full of Harvard MBAs.
2. Travel to the site with these experts and interview all personal involved in the situation from tool pushers to superintendants to gather all facts and ideas on the original cause along with any suggestions on how to staunch the flow.
3. Convene a series of meetings to get as many and the best ideas on the
table to address the situation.
4. Institute planning and design for any and all equipment needed and/or source for
same. Prioritize proposed solutions and assign an order of application so that if one fails, the next is ready to deploy immediately
5. Appeal to any foreign nation with additional equipment and expertise emphasizing that this could be a world problem instead of a localized one.
6. Sign executive orders clearing the way for any direct foreign assistance so as not to delay deployment (Suspend the Jones Act).
7. Meet with executives of BP to hear their proposed solutions and make it clear
they will be directly involved in planning response efforts, but that if a more
promising solution seems to be emerging, that the US will by executive order,
or force if necessary, cause BP to change approaches or stand aside.
8. Suspend EPA authority to allow burning at sea, sand berm construction, and
dispersant usage immediately when such measures become necessary.
9. Assign direct responsibility to one cabinet department head and direct all
inquiries, response plans, etc., to flow through that one center of responsibility
10. Address the American people and directly confront the problem instead of trying
to assign blame at this early juncture.
This entire process would have been completed and in place within one week after the disaster if a true executive had been in direct charge in the White House. Unfortunately the lack of experience and leadership of the President and among his close advisors allowed the situation to spiral out of control. Only now, two months into the catastrophe are any direct actions being taken.
Paul Akers has the experience, and can turn his business, executive, and interpersonal skills into good legislation in the Senate. The “more big government” experiment has failed and another 6 years of Patty Murray will only prolong it. It is high time we elect a Senator with skills and goals far superior to just rubber stamping party positions and trying to hang onto office. Here are some personal testimonials about Akers. He is definitely a man to consider seriously for the Senate this year.