Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 18, 2013

John “Jock” Menzies

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 18, 2013

Jock Menzies

I am told that Jock Menzies died unexpectedly on Friday, August 16.

“He was a burning and a shining light: and we were for a season to rejoice in his light.” (John 5:35)

While the issues Jock advanced were serious, troublesome and treacherous, it was easy to rejoice in his presence.   He was a persistent source of intelligence, deep experience, good hope, and practical love.

I depended on him, his network, and his judgment for much of what I have accomplished over the last three years.  We were to have dinner together this Wednesday night.  The meeting will focus on a wonderful opportunity for private-public collaboration that is endangered by bureaucratic myopia.  I explained to others I was inviting Jock because he is “especially well-wired and a wise man.”

As important, Jock listened carefully and sympathetically especially when he profoundly disagreed.  We had worked together for nearly two years before I heard him express real frustration with another, and even then it was with a sort of absurdist humor that emphasized our shared human tendency for folly.

His work spanned preparedness, response and recovery.  Jock was a strategist who could also work the phones to get a critical shipment of pharmaceuticals into a disaster zone just in the nick of time.  He was a broker, communicator, facilitator who — especially in his role with the American Logistics Aid Network — helped translate the very different languages and worldviews of the private and public sectors.

Jock’s death is a serious blow to private-public collaboration in homeland security.  Despite every effort to institutionalize his role, Jock was often the indispensable personal link that allowed huge institutions (and the sometimes huge ego of others) to dispense with self-absorbed distractions and focus on concrete challenges and opportunities.

He became indispensable because in a room full of people wanting to be in charge and demonstrate their power or insight Jock wanted to save lives and lessen the pain of the afflicted.   He was my hero.

Hundreds even thousands will be sad to hear of Jock’s death.  May we honor his memory — and celebrate his life — by listening more carefully, responding more positively, and living more gently with one another.  Perhaps together we can retrieve some small portion of the grace we have lost with his premature passing.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine

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Comment by Jennifer

August 18, 2013 @ 8:13 am

An inspired and wise man. He will be missed.

Comment by Chip Scholz

August 18, 2013 @ 9:42 am

I am shocked and saddened to learn of his death. We are all a little worse off without him.

Comment by Jamison M. Day

August 18, 2013 @ 9:56 am

Disaster Relief has lost a great contributor. Jock was a colleague, friend, and mentor. His actions will cascade through the lives he touched.

Comment by Cliff Otto

August 18, 2013 @ 10:18 am

I knew Jock for over 30 years. No finer person existed in our industry. It was our honor to support Jock in developing ALAN over the past years. Through Kathy Fulton it is now important that our industry and discipline recommit to this work situation his effort was not in vain.

Comment by Jere Van Puffelen

August 18, 2013 @ 10:36 am

Jock was one of the true Gentlemen and Leaders in our industry. Having the honor to know him for decades, Jock was a very bright, energetic, get it done kind of man. His heart was filled with compassion, and it showed when he talked about the less fortunate, and those in need. He was different than many who talked about it, he did something about. He walked the talk, and inspired others to do the same. I am grateful that he lead and inspired our industry to grab his passion and be involved in ALAN. Jock will be missed.

Comment by Bill Gates

August 18, 2013 @ 10:52 am

We have lost a kind and gentle friend. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by many.

Comment by George Yarusavage

August 18, 2013 @ 11:19 am

Jock was a good man with a great vision on an important mission. We will miss him as both a friend and a champion of providing logistics aid for those in need.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 18, 2013 @ 11:54 am


I need to know more about this man and his contributions. In my 20 years in FEMA logistics a step-child with two unsung heroes–Bruce Campbell and Beverly Vasquez! Either another post or direct e-mail would be welcome.

Comment by Bob Shaunnessey

August 18, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

The loss of Jock Menzies is a shock as he was fully engaged in life and his major goal of helping us all. His gentle yet insistent pushing for rational solutions has benefitted us and it calls for us to pick up his work.

Condolences to his family and myriad other friends.

Comment by Nick Weber

August 18, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

Jock was a true leader and a real down to earth guy. He will be missed by those who him and those who benefited from his leadership.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 18, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

Condolences extended to family and all….

I lost a friend and mentor in the defense related business sector some 14 years ago now and while we are called when God chooses, the loss will always be felt and as well the many wonderful memories and lessons learned from our mentors….

Phil, sorry to hear the news!

*In the readings, prayers, and hymns of the Greek Orthodox Funeral Service a dramatic dialogue takes place between the faithful and God and the deceased and God. The Service acknowledges the reality of human existence—the frailty of life and the vanity of worldly things—and directs our minds and hearts to contemplate the incomparable value of the eternal blessings of God’s kingdom. At the same time with a contrite spirit, the priests and people invoke the infinite mercy of the Almighty God for the departed.

Anyone who attentively follows the hymns and prayers of the Funeral Service will be edified and consoled in many ways. The Service is not only an opportunity to express our love for our loved one who has fallen asleep; it is also a sacred time, a marvelous opportunity for reflection and inner meditation on our own relationship with God and on the orientation of our lives. When we reflect on the sublime thoughts of the Funeral Service our souls becomes contrite, our hearts are softened, and we pray fervently for the forgiveness and the repose of the person who has been transferred to the life beyond the grave. Also, we who are still alive are beckoned to live the rest of our lives in repentance and in full dedication to Christ.

Comment by Rich Hamilton

August 18, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

My introductions to Jock were casual – grabbing dinner with fellow colleagues at a conference. But his gentleness – his caring for people and for life were immediately apparent. His engaging smile – his ability to listen made you want to be with him. Over the past couple of years we worked to collaborate on his great passion – ALAN. Within the past few months we had been working through some details. I wasn’t fortunate enough to know Jock long; our interactions were largely professional. But given a “do over” I’d opt to add him to my best friends list – who wouldn’t want that!!!!’

My sincerest sympathies to Jock’s family and close friends.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 19, 2013 @ 12:52 am

Translation for ALAN?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 19, 2013 @ 5:15 am


ALAN is the American Logistics Aid Network a not-for-profit organization for which Jock was co-founder and President. It operates as what I would call a collaboratory to surge and focus logistical support in case of disaster. ALAN will continue and with Jock’s death is even more important. Kathy Fulton is also with ALAN and very capable. More information is available at: http://www.alanaid.org/

Comment by Dan Stoneking

August 19, 2013 @ 5:18 am

Jock was a pioneer and mentor. He was a leader in a field that desperately needed leaders. He saved lives and made a difference to survivors, many who may never know his name. He was selfless, humble and kind. He was a good man.

Comment by Mark DeFabis

August 19, 2013 @ 7:56 am

When I entered the industry and was introduced to Jock it was not hard to see the respect and admiration he had from everyone involved in logistics. I was happy to have the chance to work with him more closely in recent months as I helped him raise ALAN’s presence in Washington. We were on the cusp of some very exciting progress. Let’s ensure that ALAN remains a shining legacy for Jock as we mourn his untimely death.

Comment by Brent Blackmon

August 19, 2013 @ 8:11 am

We will miss Jock. We were blessed to know him. We pray for strength for his family and friends in their loss.

Comment by Sarah Elder

August 19, 2013 @ 8:25 am

I only worked with Jock for a short time, but found him to be a man of character and principles, driven to make a difference for people suffering in times of great trial. He will be missed by those who knew him, and by those who were helped by his kindness, compassion, and love for all. Rest in peace Jock.

Comment by John McKenna

August 19, 2013 @ 9:19 am

Jock had a calm confidence about him and welcomed everyone with his smile and genuine interest. I met Jock many years ago while he chaired the IT committee of the IWLA and have enjoyed knowing him ever since. He was tirelessly contributing to his selfless endeavours and to our relationship. I will remember him as a great man and a genuine person.

Comment by William (Bill) Miller

August 19, 2013 @ 10:05 am

The world and the logistics industry has lost a wonderful person. Jock cared deeply about his business, his peers, family, friends and those in need. He never strove for recognition, but did the little things that were the building blocks for big things and all of them go into our memories. One of my cherished memories and treasures is a note Jock sent after the 1999 WERC Conference about “the leader of the pack”. I will also always remember the notes we sent each other in early April over the last several years. We were born only a few days apart and often used that time of year to share memorable personal greetings.
Our professional life enables us to meet and get to know many people – a few become friends. Jock you were a friend to many and will be deeply missed.

Comment by Allen Roark

August 19, 2013 @ 10:13 am

I knew Jock through my association with the American Logistics Aid Association. His compassion for people and his servant heart benefited everyone whose lives he touched. We last spoke via a webinar conducted for State and Territory Volunteer and Donations Managers participating in a class at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Penelope, his family and the entire ALAN team. May he continue to guide us from Heaven. Rest in Peace, Jock.

Comment by Peter G. Wilson

August 19, 2013 @ 10:28 am

We have just lost a very good and kind friend.
Jock was a Gentleman, Visionary and ‘Hands On’ Philanthropist.
His passing is saddening but knowing Jock for the years I have, warms my heart, my soul. Jock you will be missed but never forgotten. Your lifetime will not allow it.
My prayers for your family, my memories everlasting.
Rest my friend.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 19, 2013 @ 10:58 am

I note a training WEBNAIR in 1999 at NETC. Katrina 2005 and logistics largely failed. Any understanding of this dichotomy?

Comment by Kevin Smith

August 19, 2013 @ 11:47 am

I am very saddened by the loss of a great man. I cannot believe this, but am honored to have met and worked with such a leader in the development of ALAN. I have so much respect for what Jock attempted to accomplish to help so many. The Salvation Army will unite in prayer for a loss of a great man and good friend.

Thank you to all those who helped make his vision a reality!

Comment by Marjie Cota

August 19, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

I got to know Jock through the MD Chamber and we became fast friends through our mutual passion for sailing. Jock was a true visionary and I was fortunate that he shared his strategy around ALAN with me in the early stages. He was a kind and compassionate man. May his legacy and passion for helping others in their time of need continue. Rest in peace my friend, I will certainly miss you.

Comment by Ollie Davidson

August 19, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

Thanks for your eloquent statement. Those who commented have said it all. We did so many things together, his loss is immeasurable. I often joked with Jock that ALAN was the best thing since sliced bread. We must rally and continue our support, not only for Jock, but as he would remind us… for those in need!
I will miss his kind manner every day.

Comment by Kevin Shannon

August 19, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

Sorry for the lost. Jock spoke at our conference in June and was very nice.
My sincerest sympathies to Jock’s family and close friends.

Comment by Embarrassed to Say

August 19, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

Jock Menzies was a gentleman. We once used this term generally even generically because it is how we expected each other to behave. While it has probably always been the exception rather than the rule, Jock demonstrated how to be a gentleman. He also demonstrated why it is a smart and helpful aspiration. We need more who listen. We need more who help others see and hear. We need more who help us work together toward common cause. We need more who enable to see the opportunities and needs that surround us. I was happy to let him do that work. I will never do it as well, but starting today I will try each day to be more of a gentleman: a bit less selfish, a bit less transactional, a lot more generous, much more attentive.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 19, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

I now understand ALAN was a post-Katrina development and has some capability but have not yet been able to determine exactly what except as an information exchange on donors and donations and needs. Am I correct?

If you fail to understand my sense of urgency it is driven as we enter peak Hurricane season for the USA.

Comment by Allen Roark

August 19, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

For William Cumming: I inadvertently called it the American Logistics Aid System earlier but it is the American Logistics Aid Network. ALAN has evolved immensely since Katrina. Visit http://alanaid.org for more information on the organization, its structure and purpose. There are many other organizations partnering with them; FEMA, most of the U. S. state and territory volunteer and donations managers along with numerous faith-based and non-profit organizations. I am a Mississippi resident and we, along with ALAN, are well prepared for this upcoming hurricane season.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 19, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

Thanks Alan! Time will tell!

Comment by Amy Goldberg Lester

August 19, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

Philip, your heartfelt tribute and all of the commentary here serve as a testament to a truly special man. He was a longtime mentor and friend to me – and so many others. Every encounter with him was a learning experience and an inspiration. Jock made a real difference in this world; one of the most honorable men I have ever met. My deepest condolences to his family and many, many friends.

Comment by Constance Morton

August 20, 2013 @ 12:03 am

Thank you for writing such a sensitive tribute to an outstanding man. He will truly be missed for all the qualities and attributes of which you alluded. A visionary and a gentleman to be sure. I send heartfelt prayers to his family and friends.

Comment by Rick Rodgerson

August 20, 2013 @ 7:22 am

The greatest humanitarian I’ve ever known, Jock was a rare individual. We’ve lost a fine man, but in his time he set the standard for kindness & caring. His time, effort & talent has made such a difference in the way we approach disaster relief logistics.

Comment by Gerald Kaiz

August 20, 2013 @ 8:28 am

I worked with Jock over the last 15 years through TEC/Vistage and found him to be open, humble man dedicated to family, his business at The Terminal Corporation and then in “retirement” the ALAN project. He will truly be missed

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 20, 2013 @ 9:05 am

If there is any formal relationship between ALAN and FEMA I have failed to find it. If a copy is available could someone sent it to me? Is it a contract or a funded or nonfunded MOU or MOA?

Comment by Ed Allenby

August 20, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

While I had only known and worked with Jock for three years, I had come to appreciate his gentleness and collaborative spirit, his genuine sense of family and community, and his willingness to reach out and help those in need. Jock’s death is a real shock, and I feel a deep sadness just now beginning to set in. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this difficult time.

Comment by Scott McCallum

August 20, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

Thank you, Phil, for capturing the persona of a wonderful human being. Jock was a dear friend of mine, and obviously to many others. His guidance, calm analysis, insightful observations were always treasured. As an individual he clearly left his mark upon the industry. More important, he left his mark as a very decent person.

Comment by Mimi & Gary Testen

August 20, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

Our deepest condolences to Pris and Scott Keller, and to your entire family, Pris. I never had the pleasure of meeting Jock, but from all I’ve read in the comments and news he was a fine person that the world was lucky to have here, albeit too short a time. Love you – Mimi and Gary

Comment by Charlotte Franklin

August 21, 2013 @ 7:37 am

I will always be grateful for knowing Jock. He has been so gracious to me. His eagerness to contribute and support anytime he was asked came from a deep endearing integrity of mission. The most vulnerable in our communities has lost a champion.

Comment by Tessa Abate

August 21, 2013 @ 7:42 am

I have worked with Jock over the last several years on a project with Phil Palin. I was profoundly impacted by his sense of grace and kindness.I have been in multiple meetings with him and learned so much from his approach to solving problems – always building relationships to provide a foundation for progress.His mega watt smile could light up a room and his warmth was tangible.I have been blessed to share in this work and to have known Jock. He made it clear to all that his foundation was his family and I am sending my deepest and sincere sympathy to his family at home and to his ALAN family. May compassion, prayer and kindness sustain you in the very difficult days ahead.

Comment by Sandy Mayer

August 21, 2013 @ 9:37 am

We will all miss Jock. Even if you didn’t see him for years, his calmness, sense of humor and warm demeanor always belied his ability to move mountains to make us all safer and withstand disaster. We’re all shocked at his sudden departure but will keep him in our memories.

Comment by Dan Stoneking

August 23, 2013 @ 8:13 am

Yesterday I attended the memorial service for Jock. It was a beautiful and uplifitng celebration of his life. And I learned that his life was even more exemplary than I knew. Among other things, I learned that Jock and I were brothers in the same fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Jock exemplifies our fraternity poem:

The True Gentleman

“The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.”

– John Walter Wayland. Virginia, 1899

Comment by jim fusting

August 23, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

Harry Truman said, ” It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets credit for what you do” . Clearly Jock was inspired by that in founding ALAN.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2013 @ 7:40 am

REQUEST FOR THE POSTER and those Commenting!

Extract from the February 2006 WH Lessons Learned Report on Hurricane Katrina–page 56:

“LESSON LEARNED: The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with State and local governments
and the private sector, should develop a modern, flexible, and transparent logistics system. This system should be based on established contracts for stockpiling commodities at the local level for emergencies and the provision of goods and services during emergencies. The Federal government must develop the capacity to conduct large-scale logistical operations that supplement and, if necessary, replace State and local logistical
systems by leveraging resources within both the public sector and the private sector.”

My request is that both the Poster and Commenters indicate how progress has been made on this recommendation and how ALAN fits in with that progress?

Please not that I helped get the recommendation into the WH report!

Hurricane Katrina I believe made landfall 8 years ago tomorrow!

See: http://katrinaresearchhub.ssrc.org/katrinaabibliography.pdf/view

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 29, 2013 @ 6:54 am

Bill: Your request deserves a dissertation. Here and now I can only give you a judgment. I don’t have sufficient detailed evidence to be certain my judgment is accurate, but it is informed by personal observations especially related to Haiti, Tohoku, post-Sandy and post-Derecho and discussions with principals involved in each.

The federal capacity to source and deliver humanitarian disaster relief is much more advanced than eight years ago. The lessons of Katrina have had a positive impact. Important pieces in the improved solution set include FEMA logistics, VOAD logistics, and private sector engagement through the sort of collaboration fostered by ALAN. Individual VOADs have completely reorganized and considerably modernized their logistics functions since Katrina. Lessons from Haiti and Japan have reinforced the lessons learned after Katrina. More lessons were learned — and are still being processed — from Sandy.

But to be fully responsive to your question, one of the most important lessons learned is that the ability to supply a dense urban environment is beyond the scope of any reasonably conceivable reserve capacity. Part of this is a reflection of density of demand and complexity of sourcing and distribution systems. Part of this reflects the innate characteristics of the modern supply chain. Japan, in particular, served to confirm that an attempt to “replace” the modern supply chain has a number of problematic unintended consequences and can generate consequences as bad or worse than the initial event. Rather than replace, the focus is increasingly on resilience of existing supply chains, flexibility of existing supply chains, and supplementation of existing supply chains.

Comment by Priscilla Menzies Keller

November 12, 2013 @ 11:35 am

I wanted to thank you for your notes about Jock. Your words did a great deal to cary our family through this loss, and in fact they still do. I know that we are all missing Jock, and in a particularly painful way when we see the devastation that has fallen on the Philippines and know that were he here, there would be another strong and tireless voice in the relief effort. I know from your words that you feel this too. From my Mom and all of Jocks siblings, family and extended family, Thanks you so very much.

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