Hamman ends 46 year career with United Parcel Service
After 46 years driving for UPS and 45 years of safe driving, Red Oak’s Kenny Hamman parked his truck for the final time on Feb. 28 to begin his retirement.
Hamman said he was drawn to the job after his father, who ran a wholesale candy business that Hamman worked for, fell ill and sold the business.
“I was drawn to the job because it looked like it was a good one, and the pay was good. I clocked in, talked to the supervisor that day, Dick Hansen, and he hired me on the spot,” said Hamman.
Hamman started his career as a part-time driver in September of 1976 and later made the transition to a full-time driver the following year.
“I worked through the peak, which is Christmastime, that’s what we call it at UPS. Shortly after Christmas, on Feb. 28, 1977, I made my seniority and have been driving ever since,” commented Hamman. “The benefits have been very good, and helped me raise a family with three kids. It’s been a good company to work for.”
Hamman added that the process of delivering packages has led to a number of changes in delivery from when he first started.
“Back when I started, everything was all on paper, and it was only 50 pounds per package we can haul, because we were governed by interstate tariffs and freight systems. Now it’s 150 pounds per package, and an unlimited amount,” stated Hamman. “The air system has really changed a lot from when I started. We had no air freight when I started. Over the years, it went to second day air, then next day air, and then Saturday deliveries. We’ve got all new computers, everything is electronic, and they know every step we make nowadays.”
Nowadays, in severe inclement weather days, some businesses will close and/pr allow their workers to work from home. However, Hamman said weather didn’t prevent many regular deliveries for UPS drivers.
“I can probably count on one hand the number of days that we were off for a whole day due to a weather event. We were out in all kinds of weather. In the winter, we dressed for it, took extra clothes in case we broke down, went slow, and took it one stop at a time,” Hamman commented.
Hamman was also pleased that he was able to go into retirement with 45 years of safe driving under his belt, as safety is a big concern at UPS.
“Every day at our pre-communication meetings they pushed for safety, and we did follow-ups on our safety training, and took classes on the computer on an annual basis. The PCMs also allowed us to talk about accidents on the routes, and reiterated our safety protocols. With as many vehicles that they have out daily, safety is probably the biggest thing on their minds,” Hamman said.
Hamman said there were a number of factors that led him to decide to put in his retirement this year.
“I’ve worked 47 years of peak season driving for UPS, and this retirement date is the exact date which I was hired all those years ago. My wife and I are wanting to do something with family, and I’ve lost some family members last year that kind of expedited my decision. I had two brothers- in-law pass away, and one of them didn’t even get a whole year off to enjoy retirement. Things were at a good place for us, so both my wife and I went ahead and decided to retire,” explained Hamman.
Hamman said having family at his retirement party made a bittersweet moment into an event with more closure.
“All of the kids and the grandkids made it, so that was special. A lot of the UPS retirees were there as well, so it gave us a nice bit of time to enjoy the moment and put the icing on the cake.”
Still, while he’s been off the clock for a couple of weeks, Hamman said there are still some old habits from his working days he’s trying to break.
“I’ve got to get used to not waking up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning. Like any business, we had health issues, and since I was the senior guy, I was getting called in pretty regularly every morning from before to after Thanksgiving, and so I got used to getting up at that time, so that’s been a hard habit to break,” explained Hamman.