FedEx can track a package as it circles the globe, but most emergency management teams cannot keep real-time track of patients going from a disaster scene to different hospitals.
They can in northern Virginia, where emergency rescue teams use software and technology from an Augusta firm, Global Emergency Resources.
With a hand-held computer, patients are tracked from triage to hospital admission, the fruit of Stan Kuzia's 6-year-old company.
"Events like Haiti are showing that there needs to be mobile patient tracking, real time, anywhere in the world," Kuzia said.
Global Emergency Resources' technology was used during repatriation efforts from the Haiti earthquake. "As people were coming back into Andrews Air Force Base, they were tracking them," Kuzia explained.
The tracking software, HC Standard, is mostly used during training exercises and day-to-day operations, however. Most of the company's clients are in the Washington, D.C., area.
"The folks at the Pentagon. The folks at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We've been working with these players and looking at how they would handle things. As a result, we have things like this, which are slap bracelets with embedded RFIDs in them," Kuzia said. The radio frequency identifiers let hundreds of people be identified at a disaster scene and use hand-held devices to track them all.
"Stan didn't sit in a dark room and come up with this. He asked clients what they needed," said Mark Goodell, the vice president of sales and marketing.
The company is working on patents for the slap bracelets now. It is a quicker way to get information on the masses, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who might be involved in a flood, hurricane or disease outbreak.
Global Resources, a company of 20 people, is located at the former Husqvarna North American headquarters on Stevens Creek Road, and is on the verge of doubling its staff.
Kuzia said his company has an "aggressive' growth path with immediate openings for a dozen programmers who have familiarly with Microsoft Silverlight, a competitor to Adobe Flash.
"This is where Microsoft is putting a lot of its energy. It is supposed to give users a much richer experience," Kuzia said. "We're a technology company and we're trying to create jobs in Augusta as well."
The road to globalization
Kuzia was born in Boston and went to college in Maine, a small school called Colby College, where he focused on biology.
He met his wife, Susan, in college. She was a native of Savannah, Ga., so the couple looked to the South after graduation in 1985.
They moved to Atlanta, and Kuzia went looking for work. His first job was with Marion Laboratories, which relocated the family to Columbia after six months.
Kuzia was promoted to a hospital representative, which moved the family to Augusta. He worked with hospitals in Augusta and throughout the Southeast.
Kuzia jumped to Centocor, a Pennsylvania-based drug company which later became a part of Johnson & Johnson. He hired a 150-person sales force for Centocor, but was still based in Augusta. "I insisted I wasn't going to get moved."
That meant Kuzia was on the road a lot.
Eventually, his career with pharmaceuticals took him to Eli Lilly and Pfizer to run their contract sales forces.
In the early 1990s, Kuzia felt frustration in the Big Pharma business.
"I had 45 reps reporting to me, so I was gone every week. I was home one day a week," Kuzia recalled.
There was also frustration in creating drugs and working with hospitals doing clinical research, then seeing the gamble fail at the Food and Drug Administration. When an employer asked him to relocate and fire his sales team, he declined and found his second career.
"Moving into the investment world would keep me here in Augusta," he said.
Kuzia joined a young boutique investment company from Atlanta that became a part of Smith Barney.
After 11 years -- in 2004 -- it was time "for a change where I would be the master of my own destiny."
Kuzia said he had the concept of an always-on medical tracking dashboard.
"I knew there were gaps out there. There were a lot of companies out there that did incident management type-work. But there was very little software out there," Kuzia said. "Hospitals really didn't talk to one another."
Global Emergency Resources was born in 2004 to provide that software -- the first version launched in October 2005.
The days run long at Global Emergency.
The executive teams sometimes start their day at 7 a.m. The work day doesn't end until darkness.
"I just did a call with Malaysia and they're 12 hours ahead," Goodell said. "At 9:25 last night, there was a work-related e-mail. We weren't here, but we were still working."
The company has clients in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Korea, too.
"The clock is nebulous for us," Goodell said.
"We are truly going global," Kuzia added. "So we're getting lots of calls from ministries of health and disaster organizations."
Kuzia said he named the company Global with the idea that it would become a worldwide enterprise. The team went to Kabul, Afghanistan, in April.
Despite the grueling work schedule, Kuzia said he finds time to play tennis.
He also is training for the Marine Corps Marathon to be run in Arlington, Va., at the end of October.
"I'm going to run the marathon, but we're also going to run the patient tracking while there," Kuzia said.
He ran the marathon in 2003, reaching a personal goal.
He said he's returning because he wants to get back into shape. He trains every day by running along the Augusta Canal.
"I'm not really a marathon runner, but I started setting goals," Kuzia said. "Kind of like the goals I set for this company."