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‘Customers haven’t changed over 50 years’
Robert Vallely

Robert Vallely has focused on good service for five decade

How did I come to work at UPS?

There was an ad in the Sunday newspaper for delivering parcels in suburban areas. I applied at the Continental Hotel in Kansas City that Sunday afternoon.

I was given an aptitude test and told I would be contacted with the results. I didn’t have a phone … so I was notified by telegraph that I had passed the test.

I needed to get a physical. I took my paperwork to the center located at 9th and Prospect. I drove by it the first time, thinking they had closed up shop. Then I noticed a person standing in the small office.

I pulled in, and it was the center manager, Frank Smith. The building was very small. It had one door, big enough for one van to back into. There was a piece of plywood held up by two sawhorses to sort the packages.

Shortly after meeting Frank, I was offered the job. I gladly accepted. I came to work on October 15, 1963.

Frank Smith is someone at UPS I’ll always remember. I didn’t know anything about UPS, and he was very nice to me, always helpful.

In November 1963, UPS shut down all locations in honor of President Kennedy’s funeral. All employees were paid for that day.

In December 1963, South Illinois District Manager George Lamb and other management were visiting my center in Kansas City. I was looking to get transferred to Springfield, Mo.

I was introduced to George Lamb, and I asked him if they were planning on opening a center in Springfield. He said yes. I asked George if I could go there … and George said I could. Frank Smith helped with my transfer.

The biggest change I’ve seen at UPS in 50 years has been Next Day Air and international service. Also, driver release packages versus getting a signature for every package.

My advice to new UPSers? I would tell them it’s harder than it looks. I always describe UPS people as hard-working. It’s important to know UPS is a very physical and mentally challenging job. It takes a special kind of person to work here.

Customers haven’t changed over 50 years. They’ve always expected good quality service. That means making sure they’re happy with the service UPS provides – packages delivered on time and in the same condition they were picked up in.

To give good service every day, you need to be dedicated.

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