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Zack Rosenburg

Zack Rosenburg

Co-Founder and CEO, St. Bernard Project

Zack co-founded SBP with his wife Liz McCartney after volunteering in New Orleans six months after Hurricane Katrina.  Disturbed by the lack rebuilding and predictability of recovery for most families, Zack and Liz began asking hard questions to understand the factors leading to the intolerable conditions faced by disaster survivors. From this desire to minimize the suffering caused by delayed recovery, the trial attorney and school teacher began rebuilding homes for New Orleans most vulnerable populations.

Leveraging private sector innovations from Toyota and philosophies from UPS, Zack transformed SBP, adopting a culture of problem solving by teaching staff and AmeriCorps members to surface them at every level. This ethos of continuous discontent has enabled SBP become the leading long-term recovery nonprofit, rebuilding more than 1,860 homes nationwide, and has grown to include more than 30,000 volunteers annually, 240 AmeriCorps members and 76 staff.

SBP now looks at a host of interventions designed to shrink the time between disaster and recovery, resulting in much needed systems change in an otherwise unchanging landscape that is disaster recovery. Zack and Liz co-authored the book, Getting Home, which was released in March of 2019.

Getting Home chronicles the founding of SBP, and how SBP partnered with Toyota to apply the lean principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS) to rebuild homes and lives following natural disasters throughout the U.S. and its territories, creating a culture of continuous improvement within SBP to reduce the duration of time between disaster and recovery.

Articles by Zack Rosenburg
How SBP Went From Intolerable Conditions to Constructive Discontent
In this keynote talk at the LEI summit, Zack Rosenburg of SBP talks about how this non-profit has evolved its thinking about defining and tackling problems, creating a culture of continuous improvement that views management as a noble profession. More »
Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP
To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg of St. Bernard Project. It had to be part of who we are; it had to be our identity. Being or living constructive discontent and adopting it as our identity would mean that problems were brought to the surface, not buried. More »
Rebuilding Homes and Disaster Recovery Processes
When Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg left their careers to help desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, they knew nothing about construction or lean management. Today, SBP, the disaster recovery nonprofit they founded, has cut rebuilding time by nearly 50% using lean concepts. Zack talks to LEI about the remarkable new recovery model they developed and detail in their new book, Getting Home. More »
SBP Has a Helping Hand in Hurricane Harvey
Learn how SBP (formerly Saint Bernard Project) is using lean to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters -- plus what you can do to help! More »
Lean Principles Are Changing How the U.S. Recovers from Tornadoes & Floods
When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded, they uncovered tens of thousands of homes in devastated areas such as St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, that needed rebuilding. But the subsiding waters also exposed a rebuilding process that needed rethinking. More »
Books by Zack Rosenburg
Getting Home Getting Home
When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded around New Orleans, they revealed unimaginable destruction and a traditional disaster recovery process that was Byzantine, costly, and far too slow for the victims who just wanted to get home.  Getting Home is the inspiring story of a defense lawyer and a school teacher who left their careers to rebuild homes for desperate survivors but wound up reconstructing the entire process for rebuilding after disasters. Authors Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg describe how SBP, the disaster relief nonprofit they founded, partnered with Toyota to apply the lean principles of the Toyota Production System More »