Uzi Yemin has a hectic schedule travelling around the world as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delek US Holdings Inc. So what made him want to take on such an extreme challenge?
What is motivating you to join this expedition to the North Pole?
From a young age, I have always challenged myself to set new milestones of achievement. When I heard about this expedition, I was very excited to be part of a team that will make the journey unaided, taking just the bare essentials needed to survive on the frozen ocean. It’s a challenge that very few people have accomplished and I’m pleased to do it for a very worthy cause. There isn’t enough focus and funding directed to finding out why some babies are born early, and why many suffer devastating lifelong disabilities. My wife and I are blessed with three healthy children, so I want to do my part to support Borne’s work and the positive impact it can have for our future generations.
I’m also reaching my 50th birthday this year and walking to the top of the world will hopefully be a very special memory for me in the years to come.
As the Chairman, President and CEO of Delek US, you have an incredibly busy schedule. How are you finding the time to train? Do you feel ready for the challenge?
I’ve always made time to stay physically fit and committing to this challenge has given me an added incentive to train. Doing miles of walking while pulling a tyre is the recommended training and I have kept to my schedule in both Tel Aviv and Tennessee, in all weather conditions! Am I ready? I suppose you can always train harder but I do feel ready for the physical challenge ahead. What is unknown will be the Arctic conditions and how we will respond as a group to the situations we’ll find ourselves in. That’s what makes this such an exciting experience!
Are you expecting the expedition to be tough? What will keep you going?
I have climbed mountains and run marathons before so I’m not too worried about the physical part. I think the big challenge will be to survive in the extreme cold. There’s no escape from the weather. We’ll be trekking in constantly changing conditions but also pitching our tents and living outside, exposed to the elements.
Our expedition leader, Alan Chambers (shown training with Uzi), says ‘the colder the better’ as we’re walking on ice above the ocean and the ice is less likely to crack when it’s very cold. The irony is not lost on me. I am a cautious man by nature. I like to understand the risks and to find ways to control that risk. I won’t be able to control the elements and I know I’ll face unexpected situations out there. But I guess that’s part of the adventure and I think my determination will keep me going.
How would you define success on this mission?
Success can be defined on so many levels. To be able to say I have walked to the top of the world, will be a measure of success for sure. I think I will gain some new insights into the workings of the mind, the trek is going to be as much of a mental endurance challenge as it is a physical one. Forging lasting bonds with a diverse group of people from different parts of the world, all successful in their respective fields, will be a highlight of the expedition. And beating Borne’s expectation of how much funding we can raise in support of their work would certainly define our success.
What did your family say when you told them you were walking to the North Pole?
My family is used to my constantly moving schedule and the challenges I set myself. I will admit, this one is just a little more extreme. My wife always says that I have more energy than a normal person, and I will need it on a trip like this one. I’m sure they’ll be tracking my progress and my daughter wants me to stay safe. My sons would say, “What next, Dad?”. A part of me hopes that this expedition, like others I have done, will inspire them to keep striving to reach their own personal goals.
What do your work colleagues at Delek think about this adventure?
This isn’t a typical vacation, so it has gotten a lot of interest amongst colleagues around the office! We’re including information about the expedition and Borne on our intranet. I hope my colleagues will track the team’s progress, gain a better understanding of Borne’s research and feel they’d like to support such an important charity.
Uzi is the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delek US Holdings Inc (NYSE:DK). Delek US, with revenues of $7.3 billion in 2017, is a Fortune 500 company that is a diversified downstream energy business focused on petroleum refining, the wholesale distribution of refined products and convenience store retailing. He is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Delek Logistics Partners LP (NYSE: DKL), which was formed by Delek US in 2012 to own, operate, acquire and construct crude oil and refined products logistics and marketing assets. Uzi has served as Chief Executive Officer of Delek US since June 2004 and as president and a director since April 2001. Since 2001, Delek US grew from a convenience store retailing company to a downstream energy company with initial public offerings for Delek US in May 2006 and Delek Logistics in November 2012. Prior to joining Delek US, Uzi served from 2000 to 2001 as the Chief Financial Officer of Delek – The Israel Fuel Corporation. Additionally, he spent two years with CLAL Insurance Company Limited, and two years in the Insurance Commissioner’s Office of the Israel Ministry of Finance. Uzi is President of the Akiva School. He lives in Nashville Tennessee.
For more information on Delek’s Fund for Hope click here.