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Celebrating the supply chain this Labor Day

As we get ready to celebrate Labor Day, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on how the entire supply chain has came together to ensure people across the country have the supplies they needed.   It has truly been a year of teamwork, so I asked several friends to tell me what this Labor Day means to them and how their team made things happen.

I would like to add how much I appreciate being able to work with you all.   From our team at Kottke, to our customers, and my friends across the industry: You are the reason I love doing what I do, and I am thankful to have been in this industry for over 25 years.  Happy Labor Day, friends!

Chris Kozak, Tyson Foods – This will be a very special Labor Day celebration for all of us at Tyson Foods.  This holiday symbolizes the contributions workers make to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. So many members of the supply chain stepped up over the last seven months. Everyone from plant and warehouse workers to truck drivers and office staff literally kept our country fed at a critical and vulnerable time in our nation’s history. This will be the most significant Labor Day holiday I will have ever celebrated in my 30-year work history in this industry.

Dan Bohlman, Butterball – The year 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges and difficulty to our personal and professional lives. Our team has displayed astounding resilience and commitment to their day to day jobs and supporting the greater purpose of helping deliver our quality food products to our customers. I’m proud to be a part of a team that supports one another and is dedicated to reaching our collective goals.

Kelly Patrick, Kennesaw Transportation – I am so proud of our entire team for their determination and dedication to keeping our drivers safe and rolling.  Our drivers went above and beyond 110% to help deliver to our customers and help other drivers on the road to keep the big wheels rolling thru a pandemic.  #WeLoveTruckers #TruckDriversDeliverExcellence

Charles Bostick, Vantix – Absolutely we have gone above and beyond to keep the quick service restaurant business going and certainly our partnerships with organizations such as Kottke has been the foundation of our ability to create a sustainable food supply-chain.  Despite COVID-19 setbacks volumes have remained consistent. Requiring tremendous sacrifice by both my team and the drivers that our partner carriers employee.

Charlene Keller, Choptank – Our team has done an exemplary job of keeping our customers informed on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis regarding changes in the market that affect capacity and pricing. The team has seamlessly adapted to a new COVID-19 world, negotiating new contract rates and remaining positive throughout these tough conversations. I am very thankful to be a part of such a great team.

Bruce Koele, Heyl – I was so proud of our entire team!  From planners dealing with anything but normal customer shipping patterns to our drivers, who despite anxiousness and fear of the real impact and effects of the virus, did not hesitate to continue to do their jobs with pride and continue to deliver food and essential products around the country without missing a beat. We have all learned to adapt and do things differently but by tackling the issues head on and communicating with our customers, together we have been able to overcome many of the challenges brought on by the pandemic!

Anthony Megale, Burris Logistics – To keep the supply chain moving and the Distribution Centers open, Burris Logistics had all non-essential employees work from home starting in early March. Only warehouse staff, drivers, transportation team members, and leadership were allowed to stay on site.

The work from home policy started in early March and continues to this day since Burris team members have remained effective during these challenging times. We are happy to report that none of our 15 distribution centers had to shut down. As it turns out, the non-essential employees are very essential to the operations. During these challenging times, increased demand required our team members to work longer hours, ensuring that food remained on our retail partner’s shelves. Additionally, we deployed staff from our sister brand, Honor Foods. Honor Foods experienced a downturn in business when restaurants were not allowed to open. We are grateful to function as ONEBURRIS, shifting team members to other brands to keep all Burris employees working. We also partnered with other local foodservice providers by temporarily employing their warehouse staff and drivers in our distribution centers to help pull Burris loads. The collaboration was a win-win, as it helped keep other workers in the community employed and food on the shelves during the increased demand of these unprecedented times.

Eric Kruse, Kwik Trip – For me, Labor Day is a time to thank the working women and men of the world who help us enjoy all of the luxuries we have grown so accustom to here in America. For my industry it is a supply chain to thank. Thank the famer or manufacture, Thank the warehouses and loading crews, Thank the drivers who haul the loads, Thank the logistics folks who coordinate the schedules, Thank the retailers who sell the product and now days Thank the person who loads the groceries into your vehicle or the driver who delivers them directly to your home. I’m very proud to be an employee of Kwik Trip who has great company values. While these are my opinions, I’m glad to work for a company that holds their guests, suppliers, employees and communities in high regard. Thanks for all you do.

Mike Puckett, Overdrive Logistics – I would say the way the team worked and preformed during Covid would be what made us most proud. We had 80% of our office working from home and learning to communicate electronically with each other rather than the face to face we are so used to. Sure we had phones, but it doesn’t replace the face to face interactions.

Nelson Munoz, Jr, Kuehne + Nagel Inc. – Regarding my team, I very proud of how they help us accomplish our goals on a daily basis.  With our customer focus on pharma we were one of the groups within my organization to have not missed a beat during this pandemic. I have gotten numerous compliments from customers for each of my team members on the job they do.  Whether it is for their responsiveness to the customer needs, following up after hours, making that extra call to ensure a critical shipment moves, while still managing to support and back each other up while working remotely. I couldn’t ask for a better team.

Heather Hawkins, Kinexo – Our operations group at KINEXO is a team that works closely together to make sure our customers get the top rated service they deserve.  It has been a tough task to adapt to a mandated work-from-home environment while continuing to service our customers’ needs, which have also been impacted by the pandemic. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team has performed in this crucial time.  Their dedication is truly amazing!  Go KINEXO!

Kyle Kottke, Kottke Trucking – I grew up in a family where my father told me the honor of celebrating Labor Day and honoring the working folk is to work the day.  Needless to say, unintentionally my father programmed me to think that Labor Day was a normal day in the calendar.  Then as 2020 came to hit the calendar and so much change, uncertainty, obstacles, life/work balance, customer demands, driver desires and the meeting place of all of that has made me appreciate every single member of our team.  It has been a joy to watch the blue collar industry stand up and be the pulse of the American spirit and economy.  So while I very likely will celebrate this holiday by working my shift, I will be reflecting on a new meaning of Labor Day to me.  Happy Labor Day to your readership!  May our next year celebration bring us less change and more joy!

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