Daily Archives: May 4, 2018

Williams Scotsman Announces First Quarter 2018 Results and Reaffirms 2018 Outlook

BALTIMORE, May 03, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WillScot Corporation (NASDAQ:WSC) (“Williams Scotsman” or the “Company”) today announced its first quarter 2018 financial results and reaffirmed its outlook for 2018.

Williams Scotsman First Quarter 2018 Highlights1,2

  • Revenues of $134.8 million, representing a 35.8% (or $35.5 million) year over year increase, driven by organic growth of approximately 12.0% in our Modular – US Segment and further accelerated by Acton Mobile (“Acton”) and Tyson Onsite (“Tyson”) acquisitions.
    • Modular – US modular space average monthly rental rate of $533, or a 3.9% year over year increase. Pro-forma, including results of Williams Scotsman, Acton, and Tyson for all periods presented, monthly rental rates increased 9.9% year over year.
    • Modular – US average modular space units on rent increased 13,583, or a 38.7% year over year increase, including both organic growth and growth from recent acquisitions, and average modular space utilization decreased 50 basis points (“bps”) to 71.8% as a result of businesses acquired at lower utilization rates. Pro-forma, including results of Williams Scotsman, Acton and Tyson for all periods presented, units on rent increased 2.9% year over year.
  • Consolidated net loss of $6.8 million includes $3.2 million of discrete professional fees, restructuring costs, transaction expenses and integration costs related to the integration of Acton and the acquisition and integration of Tyson, and $3.5 million of public company expenses incurred in the quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $35.5 million from our Modular – US and Modular – Other North America segments (the “Modular Segments”), representing a 32.5% (or $8.7 million) year over year increase as compared to the same period in 2017.
  • We continued to deploy our acquisition strategy and made significant progress on the integration of Acton.
      • On January 3, 2018, the Company acquired Tyson, a provider of modular space rental services primarily in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.
      • We completed integration planning for the Acton business, purchased December 20, 2017, and migrated Acton onto the Williams Scotsman operating platform effective April 3, 2018.
Three Months Ended March 31,
Adjusted EBITDA by Segment (in thousands) 2018 2017
Modular – US $ 32,612 $ 23,683
Modular – Other North America 2,880 3,119
Modular Segments Adjusted EBITDA 35,492 26,802
Corporate and Other (4,856 )
Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA $ 35,492 $ 21,946
Three Months Ended March 31,
(in thousands) 2018 2017
Consolidated net loss $ (6,835 ) $ (10,179 )

1 – WillScot Corporation (formerly known as Double Eagle Acquisition Corp.) acquired Williams Scotsman International, Inc. (“WSII”) on November 29, 2017 (the “Business Combination”). The Business Combination was accounted for as a reverse acquisition of Double Eagle Acquisition Corp. by WSII. Prior to completing the Business Combination, WSII’s parent company undertook an internal restructuring in which WSII’s remote accommodations business was removed from WSII. Financial results from WSII’s former remote accommodations business are presented as discontinued operations in the financial statements. As a result of the Business Combination, (i) Williams Scotsman’s consolidated financial results for periods prior to November 29, 2017, reflect the financial results of WSII and its consolidated subsidiaries, as the accounting predecessor to Williams Scotsman, and (ii) for periods from and after this date, Williams Scotsman’s financial results reflect those of Williams Scotsman and its consolidated subsidiaries (including WSII and its subsidiaries) as the successor following the Business Combination.

2 – Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. A reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA, as well as segment-level results to net loss, have been provided in the financial statement tables included in this press release. An explanation of these non-GAAP financial measures is included below under the heading “Non-GAAP Financial Measures.” Please see the non-GAAP reconciliation tables included at the end of this press release.

Brad Soultz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Williams Scotsman commented, “We are delighted with our first quarter results, which are in line with our full-year outlook for 2018. We are seeing strength across all end markets in the United States and continued penetration of value-added products and services, which is driving our organic growth. We made significant progress in the first quarter integrating the recent acquisitions of Acton and Tyson, which puts us on track to deliver the synergies that we anticipated and validates the scalability of our operating platform. In particular, Tyson migrated onto our information systems within three weeks post-closing, and Acton migrated onto our systems on April 3, approximately three months post-closing.

“We continue to focus on our priorities of growing modular leasing revenues by increasing modular space units on rent, both organically, and through strategic acquisitions in order to deliver “Ready to Work” solutions to our customers. In our Modular – US segment in particular, modular space units on rent are up 38.7% in the first quarter, driving total revenues up 39.7% year over year.  Modular Segments Adjusted EBITDA is up 32.5% year over year, driven both by organic growth and from the contributions from Acton and Tyson.”

First Quarter 2018 Results

Total consolidated revenues increased 35.8% to $134.8 million, as compared to $99.3 million in the prior year quarter.

  • Modular – US segment revenue increased 39.7% to $122.1 million, as compared to $87.4 million in the prior year quarter, with modular space average units on rent up 38.7% and average monthly rental rate up 3.9% compared to the prior year quarter. On a pro-forma basis, including results of Williams Scotsman, Acton and Tyson for all periods presented, total revenues in the Modular – US segment increased $10.7 million, or 9.6% year over year, primarily reflecting a 2.9% increase in average modular space units on rent, and a 9.9% increase in average modular space monthly rental rates, offset partially by reduced sales of rental units.
  • Modular – Other North America segment revenue increased 5.0% to $12.7 million, compared to $12.1 million in the prior year quarter, with modular space average units on rent up 13.3% and average monthly rental rate up 2.1% compared to the prior year quarter.

The Modular Segments delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $35.5 million, up 32.5% compared to $26.8 million in the prior year quarter. Modular – US segment Adjusted EBITDA increased 37.6% to $32.6 million, and Modular – Other North America segment Adjusted EBITDA decreased $0.2 million to $2.9 million from the prior year quarter. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA increased 62.1% to $35.5 million, as compared to $21.9 million in the prior year quarter.

Consolidated net loss was $6.8 million, including $3.2 million of discrete professional fees, restructuring costs, transaction expenses and integration costs incurred, primarily related to the integration of Acton and the acquisition and integration of Tyson. We anticipate cost savings related to these acquisitions to start being realized in the second quarter of 2018. Consolidated net loss also includes $3.5 million of public company expenses incurred in the quarter, which is consistent with full year guidance.

Capital expenditures for rental equipment from continuing operations increased $9.4 million, or 41.4%, to $32.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018, from $22.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017. Net capital expenditures for rental equipment also increased $7.2 million, or 42.9%, to $24.0 million. The increase was largely funded by $7.5 million of insurance proceeds received in the quarter related to losses incurred during Hurricane Harvey. During the three months ended March 31, 2018, the Company’s total debt balance increased by $37.3 million to $664.1 million due to the acquisition of Tyson, as well to fund a $22.8 million reduction of accounts payable and accrued liabilities related to the Business Combination and certain aged accounts. As of March 31, 2018, the Company had $243.8 million of availability under its senior secured revolving credit facility, with ample liquidity to execute upon its 2018 Outlook.

2018 Outlook

Management reaffirmed the Company’s outlook for full year 2018, inclusive of the Acton and Tyson acquisitions. This guidance is subject to the risks and uncertainties described in the “Forward-Looking Statements” below:

  • Total revenue between $560.0 million and $600.0 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA between $165.0 million and $175.0 million, 33% to 41% growth over 2017
  • Net rental capital expenditures after proceeds from rental unit sales between $70.0 million and $100.0 million

Annual Meeting Date

The Company’s annual meeting of stockholders will occur on June 19, 2018, at 9 a.m. Eastern Time at our corporate headquarters located at 901 S. Bond St., Suite 600, Baltimore, Maryland. The record date for determination of stockholders entitled to vote at the annual meeting will be April 23, 2018.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes non-GAAP financial measures, including Adjusted EBITDA. Williams Scotsman believes that this non-GAAP measure is useful to investors because it (i) allows investors to compare performance over various reporting periods on a consistent basis by removing from operating results the impact of items that do not reflect core operating performance; (ii) is used by our board of directors and management to assess our performance; (iii) may, subject to the limitations described below, enable investors to compare the performance of Williams Scotsman to its competitors; and (iv) provides an additional tool for investors to use in evaluating ongoing operating results and trends. A metric similar to Adjusted EBITDA is also used to evaluate Williams Scotsman’s ability to service its debt. This non-GAAP measure should not be considered in isolation from, or as an alternative to, financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP. Other companies may calculate Adjusted EBITDA and other non-GAAP financial measures differently, and therefore Williams Scotsman’s non-GAAP financial measures may not be directly comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. For reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures used in this press release, see “Reconciliation of non-GAAP Financial Measures” included in this press release.

Conference Call Information

Williams Scotsman will host a conference call and webcast to discuss its first quarter results at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, May 4, 2018. The live call can be accessed by dialing (855) 312-9420 (US/Canada toll-free) or (210) 874-7774 (international) and asking to be connected to the Williams Scotsman call. A live webcast will also be accessible via the “Events & Presentations” section of the Company’s investor relations website, https://investors.willscot.com. Choose “Events” and select the information pertaining to the Q1 WSC Earnings Conference Call. Additionally, there will be slides accompanying the webcast. Please allow at least 15 minutes prior to the call to register, download and install any necessary software. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, an audio webcast of the call will be available for 60 days on the Company’s investor relations website.

About WillScot Corporation

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, WillScot Corporation is the public holding company for the Williams Scotsman family of companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico. WillScot Corporation trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol “WSC.” Williams Scotsman is a specialty rental services market leader providing innovative modular space and portable storage solutions across North America. Williams Scotsman is the modular space supplier of choice for the construction, education, health care, government, retail, commercial, transportation, security and energy sectors. With over half a century of innovative history, organic growth and strategic acquisitions, its branch network includes over 100 locations, its fleet comprises nearly 100,000 modular space and portable storage units and its customer base has grown to approximately 35,000.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The words “estimates,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “forecasts,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “shall” and variations of these words and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which are generally not historical in nature. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other important factors, many of which are outside our control, which could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Although Williams Scotsman believes that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that any such forward-looking statement will materialize. Important factors that may affect actual results or outcomes include, among others, our ability to acquire and integrate new assets and operations; our ability to manage growth and execute our business plan; our estimates of the size of the markets for our products; the rate and degree of market acceptance of our products; the success of other competing modular space and portable storage solutions that exist or may become available; rising costs adversely affecting our profitability; potential litigation involving our Company; general economic and market conditions impacting demand for our products and services; implementation of tax reform; our ability to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls; and such other risks and uncertainties described in the periodic reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) from time to time (including our Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 2017), which are available through the SEC’s EDGAR system at https://www.sec.gov and on our website. Any forward-looking statement speaks only at the date which it is made, and Williams Scotsman disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

Additional information about the transaction can be found on the Williams Scotsman investor relations website at https://investors.willscot.com.

WillScot Corporation
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(Unaudited)
Three Months Ended March 31,
(in thousands, except share data) 2018 2017
Revenues:
Leasing and services revenue:
Modular leasing $ 97,262 $ 68,987
Modular delivery and installation 26,250 19,004
Sales:
New units 7,428 5,486
Rental units 3,811 5,844
    Total revenues 134,751 99,321
Costs:
Costs of leasing and services:
Modular leasing 27,162 19,102
Modular delivery and installation 25,521 18,133
Costs of sales:
New units 4,987 3,720
Rental units 2,315 3,708
Depreciation of rental equipment 23,845 16,720
   Gross Profit 50,921 37,938
Expenses:
Selling, general and administrative 45,214 32,761
Other depreciation and amortization 2,436 1,941
Restructuring costs 628 284
Currency losses (gains), net 1,024 (2,002 )
Other (income) expense, net (2,845 ) 130
   Operating income 4,464 4,824
Interest expense 11,719 24,661
Interest income (2,584 )
Loss from continuing operations before income tax (7,255 ) (17,253 )
Income tax benefit (420 ) (4,869 )
Loss from continuing operations (6,835 ) (12,384 )
Income from discontinued operations, net of tax 2,205
Net loss (6,835 ) (10,179 )
Net loss attributable to non-controlling interest, net of tax (648 )
Total loss attributable to WSC $ (6,187 ) $ (10,179 )
Net (loss) income per share attributable to WSC — basic and diluted
Continuing operations $ (0.08 ) $ (0.85 )
Discontinued operations $ $ 0.15
Net loss per share $ (0.08 ) $ (0.70 )
Weighted Average Shares
Basic and diluted 77,189,774 14,545,833
Cash dividends declared per share

Unaudited Segment Operating Data

Three Months Ended March 31, 2018
(in thousands, except for units on rent and rates) Modular – US Modular – Other
North America
Corporate & Other Total
Revenue $ 122,087 $ 12,664 $ $ 134,751
Gross profit $ 46,808 $ 4,113 $ $ 50,921
Adjusted EBITDA $ 32,612 $ 2,880 $ $ 35,492
Capital expenditures for rental equipment $ 30,524 $ 1,560 $ $ 32,084
Modular space units on rent (average during the period) 48,657 5,455 54,112
Average modular space utilization rate 71.8 % 56.6 % % 69.9 %
Average modular space monthly rental rate $ 533 $ 541 $ $ 534
Portable storage units on rent (average during the period) 13,625 362 13,986
Average portable storage utilization rate 70.8 % 55.8 % % 70.3 %
Average portable storage monthly rental rate $ 118 $ 116 $ $ 118
Three Months Ended March 31, 2017
(in thousands, except for units on rent and rates) Modular – US Modular – Other
North America
Corporate & Other Total
Revenue $ 87,415 $ 12,059 $ (153 ) $ 99,321
Gross profit $ 33,815 $ 4,266 $ (143 ) $ 37,938
Adjusted EBITDA $ 23,683 $ 3,119 $ (4,856 ) $ 21,946
Capital expenditures for rental equipment $ 22,049 $ 628 $ $ 22,677
Modular space units on rent (average during the period) 35,074 4,813 39,887
Average modular space utilization rate 72.3 % 48.9 % % 68.3 %
Average modular space monthly rental rate $ 513 $ 530 $ $ 515
Portable storage units on rent (average during the period) 12,724 359 13,083
Average portable storage utilization rate 74.6 % 52.7 % % 73.7 %
Average portable storage monthly rental rate $ 113 $ 110 $ $ 113
WillScot Corporation
Consolidated Balance Sheets
  March 31, 2018 (unaudited) December 31, 2017
(in thousands, except share data)
Assets
Cash and cash equivalents $ 2,861 $ 9,185
Trade receivables, net of allowances for doubtful accounts at March 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017 of $5,659 and $4,845, respectively 94,377 94,820
Inventories 10,336 10,082
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 13,518 13,696
Total current assets 121,092 127,783
Rental equipment, net 1,065,988 1,040,146
Property, plant and equipment, net 82,944 83,666
Goodwill 32,972 28,609
Intangible assets, net 126,059 126,259
Other non-current assets 3,418 4,279
Total long-term assets 1,311,381 1,282,959
Total assets $ 1,432,473 $ 1,410,742
Liabilities
Accounts payable 46,887 57,051
Accrued liabilities 41,508 48,912
Accrued interest 8,723 2,704
Deferred revenue and customer deposits 48,676 45,182
Current portion of long-term debt 1,884 1,881
Total current liabilities 147,678 155,730
Long-term debt 662,199 624,865
Deferred tax liabilities 119,209 120,865
Deferred revenue and customer deposits 6,038 5,377
Other non-current liabilities 19,250 19,355
Long-term liabilities 806,696 770,462
Total liabilities $ 954,374 $ 926,192
Commitments and contingencies
Class A common stock: $0.0001 par, 400,000,000 shares authorized at March 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017; 84,644,774 shares issued and outstanding at both March 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017 8 8
Class B common stock: $0.0001 par, 100,000,000 shares authorized at March 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017; 8,024,419 shares issued and outstanding at both March 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017 1 1
Additional paid-in-capital 2,122,047 2,121,926
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (51,798 ) (49,497 )
Accumulated deficit (1,640,466 ) (1,636,819 )
Total shareholders’ equity 429,792 435,619
Non-controlling interest 48,307 48,931
Total equity 478,099 484,550
Total liabilities and equity $ 1,432,473 $ 1,410,742

Reconciliation of non-GAAP Financial Measures

Net Loss to Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP Reconciliations

We define EBITDA as net income (loss) plus interest (income) expense, income tax expense (benefit), depreciation and amortization. Our Adjusted EBITDA reflects the following further adjustments to EBITDA to exclude certain non-cash items and the effect of what we consider transactions or events not related to our core business operations:

  • Currency (gains) losses, net: on monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies other than the subsidiaries’ functional currency. Substantially all such currency gains (losses) are unrealized and attributable to financings due to and from affiliated companies.
  • Goodwill and other impairment charges related to non-cash costs associated with impairment charges to goodwill, other intangibles, rental fleet and property, plant and equipment.
  • Restructuring costs associated with restructuring plans designed to streamline operations and reduce costs.
  • Costs to integrate acquired companies.
  • Non-cash charges for stock compensation plans.
  • Other expense includes consulting expenses related to certain one-time projects, financing costs not classified as interest expense and gains and losses on disposals of property, plant and equipment.

Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider the measure in isolation or as a substitute for net income (loss), cash flow from operations or other methods of analyzing WSC’s results as reported under GAAP. Some of these limitations are:

  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for our working capital needs;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our interest expense, or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments, on our indebtedness;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our tax expense or the cash requirements to pay our taxes;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect historical cash expenditures or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect the impact on earnings or changes resulting from matters that we consider not to be indicative of our future operations;
  • although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future and Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect any cash requirements for such replacements; and
  • other companies in our industry may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure.

Because of these limitations, Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as discretionary cash available to reinvest in the growth of our business or as measures of cash that will be available to meet our obligations.

The table below presents the unaudited reconciliation of net loss calculated in accordance with GAAP to Adjusted EBITDA. See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” above for further information regarding the Company’s use of non-GAAP financial measures.

Three Months Ended March 31,
(in thousands) 2018 2017
Net loss $ (6,835 ) $ (10,179 )
Income from discontinued operations, net of tax 2,205
Loss from continuing operations (6,835 ) (12,384 )
Income tax benefit (420 ) (4,869 )
Loss from continuing operations before income tax (7,255 ) (17,253 )
Interest expense, net 11,719 22,077
Depreciation and amortization 26,281 18,661
Currency losses (gains), net 1,024 (2,002 )
Restructuring costs 628 284
Integration costs 2,630
Stock compensation expense 121
Other expense 344 179
Adjusted EBITDA $ 35,492 $ 21,946

Loss from Continuing Operations to Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP Reconciliations

The following tables present unaudited reconciliations of the Company’s loss from continuing operations before income tax to Adjusted EBITDA by segment for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively:

Three Months Ended March 31, 2018
(in thousands) Modular – US Modular –
Other North
America
Total
Loss from continuing operations before income taxes $ (5,308 ) $ (1,947 ) $ (7,255 )
Interest expense, net 11,160 559 11,719
Depreciation and amortization 22,892 3,389 26,281
Currency losses, net 157 867 1,024
Restructuring costs 618 10 628
Integration costs 2,630 2,630
Stock compensation expense 121 121
Other expense 342 2 344
Adjusted EBITDA $ 32,612 $ 2,880 $ 35,492
Three Months Ended March 31, 2017
(in thousands) Modular – US Modular –
Other North
America
Corporate &
Other
Total
Loss from continuing operations before income taxes $ (5,530 ) $ (1,016 ) $ (10,707 ) $ (17,253 )
Interest expense, net 15,559 1,178 5,340 22,077
Depreciation and amortization 15,163 3,142 356 18,661
Currency gains, net (1,599 ) (187 ) (216 ) (2,002 )
Restructuring costs 284 284
Other expense 90 2 87 179
Adjusted EBITDA $ 23,683 $ 3,119 $ (4,856 ) $ 21,946

Net Capital Expenditures for Rental Equipment non-GAAP Reconciliation

The following table provides an unaudited reconciliation of purchase of rental equipment to Net Capital Expenditures for Rental Equipment:

Three Months Ended March 31,
(in thousands) 2018 2017
Total purchase of rental equipment $ (32,084 ) $ (24,897 )
Total purchases of rental equipment from discontinued operations (2,220 )
Total purchases of rental equipment from continuing operations (32,084 ) (22,677 )
Proceeds from sale of rental equipment 8,128 5,844
 Net Capital Expenditures for Rental Equipment $ (23,956 ) $ (16,833 )

Contact Information

Investor Inquiries:

Mark Barbalato
investors@willscot.com

Media Inquiries:

Scott Junk
scott.junk@willscot.com

Remarks at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Memorial Plaque Ceremony

AMBASSADOR STEPHENSON: Good afternoon, and welcome. Please be seated, oh, if you can. I’m Barbara Stephenson, president of the American Foreign Service Association. Thank you for joining us here today as we gather to pay tribute to our colleagues who lost their lives while serving our country overseas. It has been over 80 years since these plaques were unveiled by then Secretary of State Henry Stimson. More recently, the Senate in 1996 passed a resolution calling for the first Friday of May to be recognized as American Foreign Service Day. That resolution had 54 cosponsors from both parties, showing broad bipartisan support for the idea of strong American global leadership, and for the Foreign Service.

I want to thank Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for being with us today. And also thank Under yes. (Applause.) And we also want to thank Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon for being with us today. (Applause.) Their presence speaks volumes about the importance that we in this community place on remembering and honoring those among us who do not make it home. Last year, we had the good fortune of not having to add a name to the plaques. Sadly, that is not the case this year. Andy Jordan and Selena Nelson-Salcedo were valued members of our community, doing the work they loved on behalf of our country. This year, we honor them by adding their names to AFSA’s memorial plaques. Andy and Selena’s families, friends and colleagues are here today in large numbers. Thank you all for being with us today.

We in the Foreign Service pledge to do our best to manage the risks that are inherent in our mission. We also confirm by our presence today that members of the Foreign Service who die while serving our country abroad will be remembered and honored for their service and sacrifice. The presence of so many distinguished colleagues and guests demonstrates that commitment.

I want to welcome, in particular, USAID Administrator Mark Green; Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ken Isley; APHIS Associate Administrator Dr. Michael Watson; Broadcasting Board of Governors Chief of Staff Matt Walsh; USAID Counselor Tom Staal; Under Secretary Andrea Thompson; Assistant Secretaries of State Dan Smith, Manisha Singh and Carl Risch; Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd; Acting Assistant Secretaries Francisco Palmieri, Don Yamamoto, Judith Garber, Susan Thornton, James Walsh, Alice Wells, and Mike Kozak; deputy chief of mission at the embassy of the Slovak Republic Jozef Polakovic; Adam Sterling, U.S. ambassador to the Slovak Republic; other members of the department’s leadership, Doctor Mark Cohen, Will Moser, Karen Mummaw, Molly Phee, Anita Friedt, and Christian Sherman, and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

As you know, more than two thirds of the Foreign Service is stationed abroad at any given moment. For the second year, we have invited those colleagues to join our commemoration today, by participating in moments of silence at posts around the world at noon local time. Members of the Foreign Service joined us in observing a moment of silence in honor of our fallen colleagues in embassies and consulates in Abu Dhabi, Accra, Amman, Ankara, Athens, Baghdad, Bratislava, Cairo, Canberra, Caracas, Conakry, Dakar, Dili, Doha, Dublin, Geneva, Georgetown, The Hague, Harare, Kabul, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, Lisbon, Ljubljana, N’Djamena, New Delhi, Ouagadougou, Panama City, Port of Spain, Praia, Rangoon, Reykjavik, Singapore, Tbilisi, Vilnius, Warsaw, and many others.

This moment of silence that we observe each year is never easy. Our losses are real and we feel them deeply. The pride we feel in our mission is also real. We know that for America to lead, we must be present. I’m confident that those we honor today would want us to remain steadfast, be present, and keep the American flag flying at posts around the world. Before we offer our own moment of silence, I would like to ask everyone to please stand as the United States Armed Forces Color Guard present the colors.

(The Colors were presented.)

I ask that you remain standing for a moment of silence in honor of our fallen colleagues, and then for the National Anthem. Fellow Foreign Service officer Katie Nutt will bring us out of the moment of silence by singing the Star Spangled Banner. Katie asks that we all join her in singing the final phrase, on the back of your programs, beginning, Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave.

Now please join me and our colleagues at embassies and consulates around the globe in observing a Moment of Silence in honor of our fallen colleagues.

(A Moment of Silence was observed.)

(The National Anthem was sung.)

AMBASSADOR STEPHENSON: Thank you, Katie. Please, be seated. Our anthem asks, Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave? The answer to that question is and must remain, Yes. The answer to that question as the photos from the moments of silence held at embassies and consulates around the globe show, the Star-Spangled Banner continues to wave proudly a visible demonstration of America’s global leadership. I invite you to join me in committing to ensuring we can say the same thing next year and a decade from now and 20 years from now.

I would now like to invite our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the podium. (Applause.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you so much, Ambassador Stephenson, for hosting this important service. I am grateful to see so many leaders here, as the ambassador mentioned, from throughout the department and indeed leaders throughout our government.

Thank you for joining us as we pay tribute to our colleagues, our friends, our family members, who have died in service to our nation.

This wall to my rear stands as a reminder that sacrifice is part of our department’s culture. It’s part of our DNA. The 248 names behind me represent lives lived not for their own glory or their own good but for the good of others, for promoting peace and prosperity in selfless service to their fellow Americans.

I’m reminded of a verse from Scripture. The book of Philippians commands us: Let each of us you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Those on this wall have done that in the ultimate form. They abandoned their own comfort and security for the sake of our countrymen. They paid the price for freedom we enjoy today. And we are all indebted to them.

Today we want to honor in particular the individuals whose names we are adding to this wall of heroes.

Michael Andrew Cameron Jordan, known to his friends and family as Andy. He served the American people all over the world, most recently in Juba, South Sudan.

The second name is Selena Nelson-Salcedo, who most recently served as consular chief at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Selena and Andy worked hard on behalf of all of us. They were patriotic and passionate about advancing the United States’s interests abroad. They leave behind families, friends, and coworkers who will miss them greatly. But they also leave behind a great legacy of selfless service that will be a reminder to us all and to future generations forever. The names on this wall illustrate that we are living in uncertain, difficult times. Every morning, I’m grateful to be working with colleagues who are up to the challenge, willing to sacrifice so much, whether Foreign or Civil Service or locally employed staff, every day in support of our mission.

I promise I’m going to do everything I can to keep every single one of our team members safe. One of the things I did as the director of the CIA and will continue to do as Secretary is to visit posts abroad and see how our family members are living and working. I always stop and ask the question: Would I be comfortable placing my own family in this situation? That’s the standard for evaluating how well we are doing for our people and how well we are doing in keeping them and their families safe. If the conditions aren’t good enough for the Pompeo family, we will fix it. If the safety is inadequate, we will correct it. If there are shortcomings in security measures, we will get after them immediately. It’s my job. The very first briefing I received after I was nominated was on the issue of security. I take this mission incredibly seriously.

So today, as we remember the fallen during this solemn occasion, we grieve for these heroes. We pray for their families and their friends and colleagues. But we must also keep our eyes fixed, knowing that a more stable and peaceful future is ahead because of the legacy they have helped us achieve. Every day, we get up with a goal in mind, remembering that the sacrifice we all make makes freedom possible, and we channel their dedication and their commitment to propel us forward. Thank you all. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR STEPHENSON: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I know I speak for all of us when I say how much we appreciate that you are with us today. I’d now like to ask Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon to come to the podium.

UNDER SECRETARY SHANNON: Thank you, Barbara. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I’m deeply honored to be here on this most meaningful of occasions. These plaques and those across our lobby chart the measure of devotion and sacrifice of American Foreign Service officers and civil servants across nearly 240 years. They hold the names and memories, as the Secretary noted, of 248 heroic Americans, but after today it will be 250, who have died while in the service of our great republic. Of these, 112 have been added since the day I raised my hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States in 1984. Each of these names, from William Palfrey, the very first in 1780, to those we will add today, has a compelling story. Each had a family and friends and colleagues who mourn their death.

This year, we mourn and honor two more members of our Foreign Service family. I want to share with you the stories of Michael Andrew Cameron Jordan and Selena Nelson-Salcedo, two outstanding examples of the very best of the Foreign Service. Michael Andrew Cameron Jordan, known to his family and friends as Andy, served as the information management officer at U.S. Mission in Juba, South Sudan. He died unexpectedly on December 18th, 2016. Andy joined the Foreign Service in 2003 and served with distinction in Baghdad, Brussels, Karachi, Tel Aviv, Lusaka, Tbilisi, and Nairobi.

Andy’s humble nature meant he never boasted of his contributions or their impact, but they were significant. While in South Sudan, a country with an eroding infrastructure and a deteriorating security situation, Andy, through his ingenuity and talent, maintained an IT platform that enabled the embassy team to carry out its mission of feeding 2 million people per month and providing water and sanitation to 2,500 250,000 people living in UN camps, and much more. Andy would take no credit for himself for these accomplishments; rather, he would shower praise on his team. He was especially supportive of and beloved by the embassy’s Foreign Service Nationals. He exhibited these traits of professional excellence and personal generosity in all of his assignments.

Andy’s pride and joy was his family his wife, Deb, and his two beautiful daughters, Madi and Helena. They are all here today. Andy loved his family dearly. He often wore t-shirts from Helena’s regattas and would decorate his workspace with Madi’s art. To Deb, to Madi, to Helena, you do us great honor through your presence here today, and you do us a great kindness by allowing us to share with you our grief at the loss of Andy. Our words can provide little comfort, but we hope our solidarity and respect can ease the ache and provide some solace.

Today we also honor Selena Nelson-Salcedo. Selena was the consular chief at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava when she passed away on June 4th, 2017. Selena joined the department as a Foreign Service officer in 2008, after a brilliant academic career in her native Midwest. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. During her time in the State Department, she served in the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, and Slovakia. She spoke five languages fluently. She was passionate about civil rights and social justice, and spent much of her career working to improve the lives of the poor and disenfranchised around the world. She was a great soul.

Selena is survived by her husband Jorge, who is a valued member of our department. She also leaves her wonderful daughters Gaia, who will turn four years old tomorrow, and Antonella. Jorge, Gaia, and Antonella are joined here today by over a dozen members of their extended family. Thank you for being with us today. Your courage and your generosity of spirit has provided us with great comfort. The thoughts and gratitude of every member of the Foreign Service family are with you today.

The Greek poet and dramatist Aeschylus wrote, In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. That pain has etched the names of Andy and Selena into our hearts. It has also etched their names into stone, where they will serve both as an inspiration and an example of lives lived courageously in the service of the American people.

Mr. Secretary, Madam Ambassador, could you please unveil the names.

(The names were unveiled.)

Michael Andrew Cameron Jordan, Selena Nelson-Salcedo, we salute you. May God bless you. Yes, call forth the wreath, please.

AMBASSADOR STEPHENSON: Thank you, Tom, for being here, and thank you for your exemplary service to our nation. Will you all please stand as the United States Armed Forces Color Guard retires the colors.

(The Colors were retired.)

AMBASSADOR STEPHENSON: I would like to conclude today’s ceremony by thanking you all for being here today and for honoring our colleagues and the Foreign Service community. Thank you all.

.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Comparative Analysis To Underline Hin Nam No’s Outstanding Universal Value

To support the Lao government in its endeavours to place Hin Nam No National Protected Area (Hin Nam No NPA) under UNESCO World Heritage protection, the GIZ-HinNamNo component of the German Development Cooperation Programme Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB) organized a 8-day technical field mission.

The mission, led by Prof. em. Paul Williams, international expert on geomorphology and hydrology with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), set out on Apr 25 to assess the area’s geologic and geomorphologic features in relation to other tropical karst (limestone) regions.

This evaluation is part of the technical work on the nomination process of Hin Nam No as part of a transboundary UNESCO World Heritage site with Phong Nga Ke Bang National Park (PNKB NP) in Vietnam.

The technical work required for the nomination of Hin Nam No NPA as an extension to PNKB NP was officially kicked off in Mar 2018 with a first meeting of the Hin Nam No NPA UNESCO nomination Technical Taskforce.

Its key challenge is to demonstrate the area’s contribution to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the soon-to-be transboundary World Heritage site.

The exploratory mission, conducted from Apr 25th to 30th, highlights Hin Nam No’s diverse landscape against the backdrop of other karst formations in the region and worldwide.

Mr. Oday Soudaphone, Khammouane’s Provincial Governor, joined the mission team’s exploration of Xe Bang Fai cave, one of the largest active river cave passages in the world. During his visit, he stressed the importance of Hin Nam No’s anticipated UNESCO nomination for Laos and Khammouane in particular:

Becoming a Natural World Heritage Site will ensure the conservation and protection of the area and its outstanding universal value. Tourism-wise, the remarkable features of Hin Nam No’s karst formations and its biological diversity will attract both local and international tourists, which will in turn generate income for local communities, said Mr Oday.

German Ambassador Jens Lutkenherm, who accompanied the technical mission on a helicopter flight over the karst landscape, highlighted Germany’s backing regarding the UNESCO nomination process: We fully support the Lao government in its effort to attain UNESCO World Heritage status for Hin Nam No in order to protect its biodiversity and to strengthen Laos’international profile as an eco-tourism destination. The status as a UNESCO World Heritage site would undoubtedly promote effective conservation of the region’s spectacular flora and fauna, and the geoheritage of Laos.

He said Laos as a member of the global community will contribute outstanding universal value for all citizens around the globe if Hin Nam No gains UNESCO World Heritage protection.

Hin Nam No NPA, as part of a transboundary UNESCO World Heritage site with the Vietnamese Phong Nga Ke Bang National Park, would receive recognition by the international conservation community under the World Heritage convention.

However, there is still a lot of work needed to prepare for the submission of the nomination to UNESCO, particularly with respect to increasing knowledge about Hin Nam No and its values through baseline research.

As Prof. em. Paul Williams has concluded his mission, Dr. Leonid Averyanov, a well-known botanist and orchid specialist, started his 2-week vegetation survey from May 2-17 in Hin Nam No.

Source: Lao News Agency