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About Rick's World

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  • About Me!
  • UPS & Me
  • My UPS Pictorial
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The links below will give you a little insight into Rick's World...


About Me

Personal Photo Gallery - Not linked yet

My Original Photo Albums

Javelina Video

Journal Entries - From 2009 to 2013

WW II Photos - Pearl Harbor and the War in the Pacific Theater
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My UPS Life

My UPS career lasted 36 years.  I started as a "belt boy" flipping packages in the now demolished Soto Hub in Vernon CA.  The hub was constructed in 1965 and was considered the major facility for the greater Los Angeles & Southern California area. When I started there were no women in operations.  If you loaded or delivered a package that was a "man's" job.  UPS has always been on the leading edge.  Things changed less than a year after I started, and women were soon hired into traditional "men's jobs". To be perfectly frank, some of the best drivers I worked with were women AND that included women who I personally worked for. Since that first year, the workforce has always been diverse and reflected the community in which the facility was located. I worked on bottom yellow (San Joaquin Valley & Sacramento).  To "pull" an area, you needed to learn the zip codes that went into the trailer or "feeder". It took me about a week to learn my first trailer so that I could get the "easier" job.  To keep things fair, the jobs rotated. Nobody got stuck doing the same job for very long.The name of the position changed from belt boy to belt man to hub person.   Gender was removed and the position eventually became known as a loader or unloader.  

Picture Above - Covina Center Peak Season 1973 - Vehicle is a brand new P-800 - Picture taken from steps of my townhouse in Woodside Village, West Covina. My route included the area I lived in. It was a dream come true to become a driver in the area I lived in. Better yet, the center where I worked (Covina) was only 15 minutes from my house!

In 1973, when I turned 21, I became a driver. This was a great start for me because Sheri and I had already been married a year!  There were no waiting periods back then.  I started in Covina Center and as a "casual" driver, I drove in every center located in Olympic and Soto buildings.  After a short time I was assigned to Santa Monica Center out of the Olympic Building in downtown LA. Other than rural area deliveries, unless you consider the hills of Malibu rural, I delivered every type of stop there was to deliver.  I delivered high rise buildings, garment district, industrial - residential - retail - shopping malls and business districts such as Wilshire.  I finally got my own route.  I delivered all of Cheviot Hills which bordered Beverly Hills and Century City as well as 20th Century Fox and Rancho Park Golf Course where the LA Open was held.  They were always making a TV show or movie on my route!  (eg. Starsky & Hutch and CHIPS)

After 6 years of driving, the job was pretty routine. I felt like I could do it in my sleep. I loved the daily contact with my customers but I wanted more.  I wanted a challenge, so I decided to go into management in 1978. Making a difference was my goal.  I NEVER had a dull moment after that.  I was very fortunate that I could adapt to many different situations rather easily.  This kept me moving, especially when I was promoted to manager. I was willing to try new positions, and a strong desire to succeed kept me motivated and helped to bring about success in each position.  I managed 7 centers and buildings, two major hub sorts, and three departments. All three departments were start up operations.  I held lead positions on 3 separate building openings. I was the lead district trainer for QIP schools, and also formulated compliance, package operations as well as accountability and compliance through district, region and corporate audits. The Transportation Operations Manager who later became a District Manager and the SoCal Transportation Operation Manager assigned me to the air department to help with compliance.  It brought me full circle. I worked out of the building that housed Flight Operations!  My initial studies before working at UPS, included commercial flight and airport management.  My final position was as a liaison between the FAA and UPS dealing with dangerous goods shipment.  Though I never became a commercial pilot, I felt I had fulfilled my aviation ambition.  Ironically, I was the manager of the center that serviced the Ontario airport and surrounding communities when UPS was negotiating the rights to our present ramp which is actually owned by UPS and attached to airport property. I had the direct responsibility to provide world class service and carte-blanc to give our customers, who were testifying on behalf of UPS or potential witnesses, the quality service they deserved. My wife and I got the opportunity to represent UPS at various community events and dinners.  We were sitting with members of Congress, state representatives and the mayor of Ontario at one event.  UPS eventually employed 3000-3800 people in the city of Ontario at that airport facility.   

Peak Season
I have had an opportunity to go through many holiday seasons sitting on the sidelines.  I miss the holiday buzz especially as Christmas approaches and the madness and rush of packages hit the last week. There is a quiet satisfaction and fulfillment of a job well done as if you are part of a much greater calling.  In simple words, the Christmas season has not been fulfilling since I retired from UPS. 

This video below will give you a small taste of what it is like to train as a Driver Helper for the Christmas rush.  I spent many years developing training plans and processes as well as training seasonal help such as drivers and helpers.  My goal as a manager was not only to have a productive season but to eliminate service failures and make it easier and more bearable for our drivers.  I used a team approach to get all drivers in around the same time by using round robin staging points that would allow drivers to help each other with deliveries or missed packages. Meet points became part of my standard operating plan long before they were ever instituted by the district.  I did this by listening to drivers and what they thought would be beneficial at providing service and making their jobs easier.

Listen to the summary of the reporter when he is done delivering. - I recall delivering 285 stops one season.  I averaged 110-115 during the normal course of the year.  We did not have helpers back then.  If you were lucky, another driver would stop by and help you finish delivering.  During peak season (the last two weeks) my pick-ups would be taken off of me.  I would pick up over 400 packages a day with 45 pick-ups.  So it was a big relief pulling the pick-ups off.  

Peak Season Hires

It is hard for me to believe that I have been retired since January of 2007.  It seems like yesterday that I can remember counting down how much time I had left before retirement. My countdown started 10 years before I was eligible to retire. Imagine that ... ! There were good times and not so good times, however when I think of my career, my insides warm up and I swell with pride.  I started on the bottom and rose to a position that was able to influence decisions at the district, region and corporate level.  When I was promoted from the driving ranks into management, I had nothing but good intentions. My goal was to make the driver's job a little easier and more bearable. It was a simple goal that I think I accomplished. 

January 2nd, 2000, I was given the opportunity to work with our young people in hub and air operations.  I am not sure what the motives were at the time I was assigned the position but this part of my career was a chance for me to lay the foundation to teach, train, and coach those people who will be the leaders of tomorrow. It was also a challenge for me personally to learn about an area that was always intriguing and very foreign to me. This gave me the confidence and realization that I could have do anything I set my mind to. I was able to draw upon my skill set and experience as I was learning something new.  

On December 31st, 1999, I was called and told that I would be taking over the Ontario Day Sort operation.  It was a Sunday through Thursday sort.  I could not believe that a company that I had been so loyal to, would make me work on Sundays so late in my career.  It angered me but I channeled that energy. I was determined to show everyone what I was made of and how I could benefit this operation.  It turned out to be a very rewarding part of my career.  My air operation got a reputation for quality excellence and performance and became a standard bearer for best practices not only around the district but at the region and corporate level as well. It landed me a two additional assignments that were among the most rewarding of my long career.  UPS will always hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. 

I will continue to add pictures and other memorabiia of my early years with the company in the coming weeks, and months!

September 6th, 2013 - Riverside California

I had the opportunity to work with Jim Sanchez at Foothill Center in Southern California.  As a manager, it was always a pleasure to see Jim's smiling face when he came to work in the morning. Jim is the kind of person, who you would expect good things from.  He is modest, when he says that he was no heroe.  I was very fortunate to work with people like this on a daily basis. Thank you Jim for your service!

Behind the Scenes of the UPS Helper - Earn Extra Cash During the Holidays!


UPS is "Organized Chaos" on the busiest day of the year - Dec.17th, 2013

I had the opportunity to work our air operation, both Next Day and 2 Day Air as well as 3 Day Select.  One of my operations handled the inbound air volume for the West Coast and Hawaii. We would "peak" at 150,000 to 165,000 packages this coming week. The operation works 7 days a week from 2 Sundays before Xmas. Our personnel jumped from 120 people to around 160 people. The area that created the most pressure for us was unloading containers or "cans".  Before Xmas season, we might average 12 to 40 containers to unload.  At peak (the week before Xmas) we would average 150 to 250 cans to be unloaded.  At least 2 packages from every can were scanned to ensure a timely delivery date  and all "cold" cans were also checked to make sure the packages were in line for the proper unload and delivery date. A cold can is a container that has arrived earlier than the scheduled unload date.  It is then staged as noted previously.  A good team checks and double checks all the cans to ensure no packages miss their service date.  Working the air operations, Inbound and Outbound, are the most exciting and pressure packed operations during Xmas.  A true adrenaline rush!.  

Rick Sperry - Linkedin Profile

This is why we do it - Click on the video below!
Click here to see the video on “Wishes Delivered”. Go to “Driver for a Day” to see 4 year old Carson’s wish come true…
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Some UPS Pics
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    1985 ONT Open House

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    1986 Valley Ctr Mgr

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    1987 Working Valley Computer

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    1988 Pasadena Ctr

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    1989 Victorville Audit

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    1991 ONT Bridge

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    1991 Jurupa & Haven

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    1992 Customer Visit

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    1993 Rio Hondo Town Hall Mtg

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    Rio Hondo Safety Committee

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    Ontario Day Sort - Pacific Region Champs

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    Pacific Region Missort & Mistoggle Champs

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    Ontario Division Training Manager

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    Retirement Countdown

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    Countdown Calendars Everywhere

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    Packing up my office on last weekend

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    Just a wake-up left to go!

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    Celebration begins!

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    Last 747 cockpit visit

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    Both 747s on the ramp...

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    Retirement with Senior Staff & Friends

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    Vice-Pres Noel Massie saying Good-Bye


UPS Home Movies!

This is a video taken on a Sunday night circa 2002. This video is only a small part of a much larger operation. When this was shot, it was the best quality of digital video that was available.

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This video was taken on the UPS Ontario Ramp. You have to cleared through the FAA to be able to work on any airport ramp. Proper Identification must be visible at all times. Anyone who does not display proper ID must be challenged. there is usually a crew standing by when a jet enters the ramp area.