Carlsbad Around the Clock: 11:00 a.m.
Oh, the places Raymond Ramirez, Jr. will go—on a daily basis!
Ramirez runs Carlsbad’s downtown route for United Parcel Service (UPS), a company that, by Christmas, he will have been with for 27 years. He started delivering packages one December and apparently did a very good job at it. “I worked the Christmas help,” he reflected. “I guess they liked the way I worked, because they left a note saying I should come back to UPS.” He worked three years as a part time employee before going full time.
Carlsbad’s UPS hub is a warehouse on Texas Street. Depending on volume, local drivers will meet there between 7-7:30 a.m. to sort and load their packages into their trucks. On a typical day, Carlsbad has nine drivers while Artesia has four. “We distribute it pretty well,” Ramirez explained. “We have a little system where if someone is overloaded, then another guy will help. It’s really a team effort.”
Ramirez has Route 4, which everyone calls “Ray’s Route,” and he sorts his daily deliveries in a way that makes the most sense. He has been doing it for so long that he knows most addresses by memory. In fact, family and friends are often amazed at how well he knows where everyone in Carlsbad is located. He is also a good witness to Carlsbad’s recent growth spurt. “There are a lot of new faces in town,” he noted.
One of his goals is to handle business deliveries as early as possible in the morning. He carries an electronic device with him that marks completed routes. “We used to have paper a long time ago,” he confessed. “This is really helpful. At the end of the day, I can find out what I’ve done.”
How does a package get to Ray? He called it a “beautiful process.” Say you are mailing a package from Chicago to Carlsbad. The driver in Chicago will scan the package to register that it is in transit. It will be flown from there to a regional hub, say Dallas or Albuquerque, then loaded on a truck and shipped to Carlsbad’s warehouse. It’s a 24-hour process. “It’s all in a cycle,” Ramirez beamed.
UPS hires seasonal help for Christmas, when things get pretty crazy. The second busiest time period of the year is before Mother’s Day, and Ramirez enjoys delivering gifts. “You get to see all those beautiful ladies with smiles,” Ramirez shared. Valentine’s Day and, yes, Christmas in July sales also keep the UPS team busy. Ramirez delivers a lot of items from Amazon.com, which has its own system for quickly getting a package to UPS.
An average day for Ramirez is between 120 and 130 stops. During Christmas, that goes up to nearly 200 stops a day. He sees a lot and hears a lot each day. “I’d like to chat some more,” he laughed. “But I really can’t. I’ve got to get all the stuff delivered.”
Ramirez also has to adjust to construction or traffic flow changes in Carlsbad. He can usually do his entire route with one truck load, but there are exceptions, such when a customer has a huge order.
One day that really stands out in Ramirez’s mind was the tragedy of September 11, 2001. UPS had informed its drivers of what happened, but they still delivered throughout the day. “Everyone was glued to their television sets, and it really hit me in the heart,” he said.
Ramirez had joined the United States National Guard the year before, but he’d assured his wife that he would not be deployed unless someone attacked American soil. After the tragedy of 9/11, he was deployed for two years to Washington, D.C. to assist with the effort to secure the Pentagon and Capitol. He returned to Carlsbad and UPS once his deployment concluded.
Ramirez works every day until his shipments (and packages received) are complete, then it’s back to the warehouse the next morning to start over again. He stressed again that employees are always willing to help each other out if one gets overburdened with a huge delivery load.
“If UPS sees that I’m having to work a bit later, I’ll get help,” he added. “Everybody is balanced out very well.”
Read even more great stories in this edition of Focus on Carlsbad.
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