DRI Board Spotlight: Louis Drapeau
The boards of DRI International and the DRI Foundation are comprised of some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable professionals in BCM and resilience, working together to make DRI an indispensable, inclusive, and diverse organization. In this ongoing series of interviews with the board members, you’ll learn more about them and why they’re passionate about the resilience community.
Louis Drapeau has been a member of the Board since 2007 and previously served as Vice Chairman. Mr. Drapeau retired October 31, 2015 from his position as Director of Risk Management at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, a position he has held since November 1, 2003. Prior to that he was Risk Manager for The Budd Company/ThyssenKrupp USA in Troy Michigan for 22 years, retiring in 2001.
How did you first come into the BCM/resilience field?
As a part of my risk management function, I was already interested in business continuity. I had been in San Diego in 1996 attending a risk management event, and while I was there, I decided to also check into the DRJ conference that was also happening. That got me more involved in the BCM aspect.
Why did you accept a position on the DRI Board?
I had a long acquaintance with Mike Morganti, who extended the invitation. We’d had dinner together back at that DRJ conference, and he was looking for someone in the risk management area to serve on DRI’s board. It sounded interesting, so I said yes.
What is your proudest moment or most valuable contribution as a DRI board member?
When I was Chairman of the board from 2010 – 14. This was during a time of tremendous growth and development in the organization, most notably that it was when we started the DRI conference. We just seemed to get a lot of things done during that period.
What new responsibilities or skill sets do you think resilience professionals should take on?
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from COVID -19 on resilience, supply chain, finance, etc., in how to be prepared to keep operating as long as possible. Whether it’s things like employing testing, accessing masks, everything that goes along with it – it’s being able to work around as much as you can to keep your business operating. We’ve certainly found some innovative ways over this whole time – for instance, a lot of different platforms for working from home, teleconferencing, etc.
What words of wisdom do you have for resilience professionals?
Never give up!
What’s one interesting or unique thing that we should know about you?
The only cruise my wife and I have been on is as civilians on a U.S. nuclear missile submarine. Our son was in the navy for six years as a nuclear plant operator on the nuclear sub, the U.S.S. Tennessee. To get more popular with the families, the navy did the first ever family cruise on a nuclear sub. My son said “hey, if you guys can come down here…” – of course we had to go through security clearance, get a background check, and arrive at 3:30 a.m., with 31 other people, all crew family members, kids included (including our niece). We were on the sub for 18 hours. We dove and resurfaced, simulated targets, the kids could fire fake torpedoes, I even got to steer it for about 5 minutes, which is interesting since you can’t see where you’re going anyhow. It was absolutely amazing, I’ll never forget it.