Laurel Kamen, a former American Express executive with extensive involvement in mail and postal relations, has died. She was 70 years old.
Kamen was featured on the cover of MAIL Magazine in 1993 for her work in uniting mail center managers from the company’s subsidiaries to form a postal task force. Her efforts to improve communications with corporate departments and the USPS earned her the company’s prestigious “Chairman’s Award for Quality.”
That task force would go on to secure over $20 million in postage savings.
Kamen’s work to bring AmEx’s mail center managers together to express concerns was central to achieving the savings.
The group’s significance emerged when the Postal Service began developing regulations for destination delivery (11 digit) barcodes. The original regulations included 100% barcoding in trays; address standardization in 60 days; weight restrictions; and new reporting requirements.
“We examined the proposed regulations from every subsidiary’s perspective and found every unit would lose much of its postal discount,” she told the Journal.
What did she do? “We organized our forces and enlisted other companies and trade associations to work with the Postal Service in modifying its proposed regulations,” she said.
The result: the USPS compromised and mailers received a timetable “and regulations that were reasonable and the USPS had a program that still facilitated postal automation.”
Her company task force also tackled issues like returned mail, mail delivery, and customer service within American Express.
Kamen had numerous accomplishments in the industry. She was awarded the Postmaster General’s Partnership for Progress Award in 1990. She chaired the National Postal Policy Council and served on the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee in the 1990’s and 2000’s.
She was on the important Automation Barcode Committee when barcode automation was first taking off. And she served on the Mailer’s Council steering committee. In 2008 she began advising Postmaster General Jack Potter on postal reform legislation.
After leaving the industry in 2011, Kamen successfully launched a line of clothing for breast cancer survivors.