Tied to a Watch

Tied to a Watch
  By Erin Taman

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Being a Fed Ex Manager is not a slow-paced job. Tom Hanks played a Fed Ex employee in the movie Castaway. He was tied to his watch in order to make sure that packages and letters arrived at their destinations on time. Campus Starter writer Erin Taman spoke with a real Fed Ex employee in Calgary. Adrian Skall, like Hanks, lives by his wristwatch for some of the same reasons Hanks did in the movie.

Adrian, what do you do at Fed Ex?
Drink a lot of coffee! I am the senior manager for aircraft ramp operations for the prairies. So basically I manage all the aircraft ground handling and aircraft loading and unloading. The difference between what I do and what a manager for a courier would do is that on the courier side, they handle all the pick-up and delivery, which is all the front counters, the help desks for customers. What I manage is all the behind the scenes things, which is all the sorting, freight movement, aircraft loading, and truck loading.

How did you arrive at this job?
Believe it or not, I went back to school as a mature student. I was taking my BSc (Bachelor of Science) and a friend of mine said, ‘hey this would be a great part-time job for you while you are going to school.’ I ended up getting on with the company as a cargo handler, which is probably the lowest position in the company (They take packages from the truck and load them into airplanes). It was just part-time and that's all I really wanted. Then it worked into full-time. I never ever, ever thought I would get into management but it kind of intrigued me after a couple of years.

I went through their management-training program and ended up getting into management and stayed in management.

What skills and training did you have to move up then?

To get into management you need to have a university or college degree — a minimum three-year degree. You need to have a certain number of years of experience. I believe it is five years of business-related experience. We change the requirements for management a lot but you need to have prior business experience. I actually had my own business in the past, and I tried a couple of ventures so I had some business experience. It would be anything along those lines, so it could be running your own business. You need to have time with the company and you need to be endorsed by the corporation by passing a panel.

Can you walk us through what a typical day would be like?
I don't have typical days. I usually show up for work, have a cup of coffee — no just kidding! Most of what I do is administrative. I do a lot of conference calls regarding line haul plans for freight product movement across the country. I do a lot of budgeting for the three locations (Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary) and manage all the finances

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