Brian Edwards has been driving for 25 years without an accident. That may not seem all that impressive, until you learn that Edwards is a delivery driver for United Parcel Service, putting in up to 140 miles per day on the road.
For his years of accident-free driving, Edwards, 48, was honored with membership into the UPS Circle of Honor. He’s in fairly exclusive company – of 11,198 drivers in California, 722 are in the Circle of Honor, according to UPS.
Edwards, who will celebrate his 26th year with the company in April, credits attentiveness to other drivers and his employer’s strong safety program for his driving success. The Oakdale resident works out of the UPS delivery center in Ceres.
The father of two also credits his job for being in great shape: “It’s a workout every day,” he said.
Ever bothered by dogs?
“Sure,” he said. “That’s the cardio.”
Q: What’s your secret?
A: You have to constantly pay attention and drive defensively. I scan people’s faces to see what the other drivers are doing. UPS stresses safety every day. It borders on annoyance at some point, but you realize why they do it. We have someone dedicated to safety full time around here.
Q: Is there an element of luck to it, as well?
A: Yes. Ten years ago, I ran a red light. I still remember where it was – Albers and Claribel. I could have changed someone’s life just by not paying attention for a brief moment. All the drivers strive to leave here and get back here safely every day.
Q: How did you get started with UPS?
A: I pumped gas at a station in Oakdale for six years – back when we still pumped gas for people. A lady I dealt with found out I had quit college and gave me her card. She was the head of human resources here, and that’s how I got the job. I tell my kids, it’s a great lesson in how important it is to be cool to everybody.
Q: What advice would you give to a new driver just starting out with UPS?
A: Pay attention. Scan the backup camera, and don’t get distracted by what’s going on at home, or what you’re going to have for lunch.
Q: Do you have some interesting stories from the road?
A: Every day is an adventure. I’ve had dogs chase me. I’ve delivered live lobsters. It’s amazing what you see out there. I had a horse stick his head in my truck one day.
Q: What’s kept you at the job for nearly 26 years?
A: It’s a really good job. We get paid well and there are great benefits. I get to drive around, give people packages and socialize with people. It’s amazing how many people are stoked to see you when you’re delivering the cellphone to replace the one they just broke. Kids love to see you.
Q: How has technology changed your job?
A: Everything’s so trackable now. It’s for the best – it keeps both sides (shippers and delivery companies) honest.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I have three years left. It’s a really good job, but I would like to have more family time. I don’t get home until about 8 o’clock at night, and I want to help with homework. My daughter (Jade, 12) dances five days a week, and my son (Grant, 10) plays sports. I know my wife would like some help getting them around. I am happy I’ve done this, but I can’t wait to explore something else.