UPS driver hangs up the brown uniform after 25 years

November 25, 2013 

Name: Rich Ducksworth

Job: UPS driver

Outlook: "This is one of the most productive jobs that you will ever have or do."

After 25 years on the job, Rich Ducksworth is hanging up his brown uniform and turning over the keys to his UPS truck. The 51-year-old Swansea resident officially retired from the parcel delivery service last week. He recently talked to business writer Will Buss about his time delivering packages throughout the metro-east:

Q: Why are you leaving?

A: "After 25-plus years here, it's time to do something else. I'm not trying to be negative, but this job wears on your body, most of all. If you can get out in one piece, that's the bottom line. Get out in one piece and go and do something else. But the pension and benefits are second to none. It was a good job."

Q: What will you miss most about it?

A: "My customer base. It was a big challenge."

Q: Why was it a big challenge?

A: "This job could be basic training for your career. You go through basic training in the military, but it's like six weeks. This is a hard job. I love the company, it's been good to me. But there comes a time when you've got to let it go."

Q: How would you describe your responsibilities over the past 25 years?

A: "Organized chaos. It had to be done. Every package has to be delivered every day. Not one mistake. It has to be done."

Q: Have you always delivered packages in the metro-east?

A: "Yes. Before I was on this Belleville route, I was in East St. Louis for about eight years. Someone else had this route and when he went on vacations, I would run it."

Q: How has the job changed in your time there?

A: "It's not the old UPS, this is the high-tech UPS. We had paper and carbon paper and a page with 50 stops on it, and we wrote everything out. Now, we have navigational systems, everything is electronic now. They have just put in a program called Orion. Orion tells me how to delivery it. I don't use my mind anymore. Orion tells me where to go. Looking back, 88 stops was about an eight-and-a-half-hour day. Now, it's double that. Some days I'm shooting for 200 stops."

Q: What will you do now?

A: "Something not as physical. You're looking at a guy with osteoarthritis, knees and back issues. It's everybody's goal to leave in one piece. Some people don't make it. That was my goal, to leave in one piece."

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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