Today, CEO and Cofounder, Jake Wood announced that he will be stepping up to the role of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Team Rubicon on July 1, 2021. Wood also proudly announced that Art delaCruz, President and Chief Operating Officer, will be promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer at that time.
As Executive Chairman of the Board, Wood will maintain a focus on the longer-term vision and sustainability of the organization he cofounded over a decade ago. Despite 2020 being the most challenging year in Team Rubicon’s history, Wood led the organization to the highest revenue year since inception and it being named one of the Nonprofit Times’ Best Places to Work in 2021 for the fifth time. Knowing the health and culture of the organization is the strongest it has ever been, led to Wood’s decision to pass the torch. Stepping into this next role, Wood will continue to build on the foundation he helped lay at Team Rubicon from its humble beginnings, which began as a team of eight volunteers in Haiti to an organization of more than 140,000 volunteers and 180 support staff across the country.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in these 11 years. In the midst of a global pandemic and the worst economic downturn of the century, the organization was able to serve 9.7 million people across over 350 operations in a single year. Team Rubicon could not be better positioned for the future and as we move out of the pandemic and into our next phase of growth, it is the right time for me to take on the role of Executive Chairman and for Art to lead the organization into its next decade. In the coming months I look forward to finalizing and announcing what my next chapter will be,” said Wood.
Wood continues, “Art is an extraordinary leader and a person of unimpeachable integrity. In his five years at Team Rubicon he has built a track record of success, which reinforces my confidence in his ability to continue to move the organization forward. As Executive Chairman, I am excited to support Art’s vision for the future.”
A highly decorated, retired United States Navy commander and former TOPGUN Instructor, delaCruz joined Team Rubicon five years ago as COO and President to help Wood build an executive team and with the intentional plan to transition him into the role of CEO. During the last five years, Wood and delaCruz have worked in lockstep to take the organization beyond disaster response to now include disaster preparedness, relief and recovery.
In the last year, they have again redefined the future of disaster response as the organization expanded to take on needs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they led the organization into 300 communities across the country, expanding into feeding and testing operations, and meeting community needs as fast as they could. Under Jake and Art’s leadership Team Rubicon has been rewriting its future by weaving itself into the fabric of communities and building their resilience.
“For me, taking on the role of CEO and the opportunity to lead Team Rubicon into this next decade presents the best of all worlds,” said Art delaCruz, COO. “I still get to work closely with Jake as he continues his role as the Executive Chairman, while I once again get to lead and scale an organization with the support and expertise of a best-in-class leadership bench.”
Over the course of Art’s tenure with Team Rubicon, he has been a key architect of the organization’s strategic growth and a visionary who kickstarted the work behind Team Rubicon’s 300 Resilient Cities, home rebuilds and DEI programs. Most recently, Art orchestrated the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination, taking it from concept to execution in three short months, to bring leading veterans’ organizations together to ensure the nationwide equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. These strategic alliances have helped to accelerate the organization’s effort to get America vaccinated and represent a first-of-its-kind collaboration among veterans’ groups
“Over the past 11 years, Jake has carved a historic path for Team Rubicon, and he has helped change countless lives for the better along the way. He has been tirelessly committed to Greyshirts out in the field and to maximizing impact in the communities we serve. I am thrilled Jake will continue to shepherd his vision as Executive Chair. With Art taking the helm, I am confident that we will continue to build Team Rubicon’s legacy and develop even more capacity to effectively respond to disasters across the nation and around the world,” said Team Rubicon’s Chairman Adam Miller, who will remain on the board following Wood’s transition.
Support from our partners includes:
“Under Jake Wood’s leadership, Team Rubicon has consistently proven itself to be an organization that thinks differently and isn’t afraid to innovate as the disaster landscape changes. This is why we’re proud to be one of Team Rubicon’s longest running partners,” says Heather Prill, Senior Manager of Programs and Strategic Partnerships, The Home Depot Foundation. “At The Home Depot, we believe in ‘doing the right thing’, and with Art delaCruz stepping into the role, we look forward to continuing to drive this impact across the country.”
“The best thing about Jake’s move to Executive Chairman is that his commitment to Team Rubicon doesn’t end with his time as CEO. It is a testament to the core values of the organization that Jake built a succession plan and worked with Art to prepare him for this new role,” says Matt Kress, Starbucks Community Impact Team. “True leadership is the partnership that Jake and Art have and the respect they have for the mission, the volunteers and the communities they serve. We look forward to the continued partnership under Art’s leadership.”
“Mtn Dew is proud to fuel the mission of Team Rubicon. Our collective brand values clearly align and much of that stems from the culture Jake has fostered since founding TR,” says Nicole Portwood, Vice President of Marketing, Mtn Dew. “Mtn Dew is excited by Art taking the helm and for the tremendous impact TR will have on disaster affected communities in the decades to come.”
“When Jake Wood first approached Farmers Insurance about an investment, Team Rubicon was still a new organization and we were still growing our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts,” says Jeff Dailey, CEO, Farmers Insurance. “We took a chance on each other and I am so proud of the work we have done together since. We have been able to actively participate in helping bring to life Jake’s vision for the organization and are excited to continue to see this vision grow and develop with Art at the helm.”
“Jake is a visionary who saw the value of highly-skilled veterans and the impact they could make in their own hometowns and built an entire organization around them. Through his entrepreneurial spirit, we have had the privilege of watching the organization scale and supporting Team Rubicon’s growth,” says Tony Ambroza, Carhartt’s Chief Brand Officer. “It’s the tenacious drive that sets Team Rubicon apart and empowers them at every opportunity to impact marginalized communities in the wake of disaster. We are excited to continue to see our partnership grow as we outfit more and more of their Greyshirts in Carhartt.”
“Jake has been a constant source of encouragement, optimism, and support since inception,” says Bryan Riddell, CEO of Team Rubicon’s affiliate, Team Rubicon Canada. “His leadership and stewardship of Team Rubicon has set the standard for disaster response efforts. We’re thrilled to continue our collaboration with Art at the helm of Team Rubicon, and we know the future is bright for the communities we serve.”
Meet Art delaCruz:
Art is a proud veteran that served for 22 years as a Naval Officer after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. He commanded a Navy strike-fighter squadron, served as a TOPGUN instructor, and made six deployments. Other notable tours included selection as a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow (served at McKinsey & Co), and as a strategy lead at the US Special Operations Command. He maintains a honed “quick reaction” capability by attempting to keep up with his veteran wife, four kids, Labrador retriever, and Labrador retriever puppy.
About Team Rubicon:
Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service by leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. Founded following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the organization has grown to over 140,000 volunteers across the United States and has launched over 800 operations both domestically and internationally. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Team Rubicon has not only pivoted to be able to continue to deliver disaster response and rebuild services in core mission areas but has also expanded their scope of missions to meet community needs brought about by COVID. Visit www.teamrubiconusa.org for more information.
Melanie Klausner, Executive Vice President