Saturday, January 27, 2001
Steamboat Springs The packages pour into Steamboat Springs at a rate of 500 a day Monday through Friday, with a few more on Saturday. There are boxes of new telemark ski boots, replacement grilles for damaged automobiles even suitcases that tourists did not trust to the commercial airlines.
Federal Express isn't the only overnight shipper serving northwest Colorado, but it is definitely operating out of the newest building in the region. FedEx opened its new facility at 2717 Copper Ridge Circle this month. Along with the new building comes a streamlined system for receiving packages and loading them into vans headed for their final destination. The local FedEx station delivers all over northwest Colorado and even to a handful of small towns in southern Wyoming.
"The new system has increased our capacity tremendously, and of all the crews in the world, this one deserves it most," Steamboat station manager Katrina Zupan said.
The biggest change for Steamboat's 15 FedEx employees is that they no longer must load the delivery vans outside in the weather. Instead, the vans are now backed up to a loading platform that runs the length of a large, heated building.
"Before, we were tripping over pallets and (slipping) on water," FedEx courier Jill Clow said. "It took us probably an hour longer each day. It's tough when you're driving 250 to 300 miles a day to get back in time for the plane."
Clow's daily route takes her to Meeker and back. But she also delivers to remote addresses within a 40-mile radius of the county seat of Rio Blanco County. Those trips take her almost to Rifle and up the White River toward Trappers Lake.
Because the Steamboat station has fewer employees than stations in larger cities, the couriers here must play dual roles. For example, Jim White, the ramp agent who is responsible for packages coming off the Cessnas at Steamboat Springs Airport, also is in charge of keeping management records on all 13 of the Steamboat station's vans. The actual work is contracted to Doc's Auto, but White must keep track of regular maintenance and schedule the appointments so there is as little down time as possible.
Other couriers specialize in such areas as routing, safety and incentive programs.
Carol Burman, a 15-year FedEx veteran who has worked in Los Angeles, recalls her reaction when she first arrived in Steamboat and found the outdoor loading facilities.
"I thought, 'Here we go again,'" Burman said. Earlier in her career, she had worked in Grass Valley, Calif., where she and co-workers sorted packages in a large car wash.
The new FedEx building in Steamboat has restored order in Burman's working day.
"It makes life so much easier," she said.
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