William Charmichael and Alice McNab, staff reporters, CPI. Vancouver, BC. Sunday May 8, 2011.
......In a surprise move, veteran courier, Carl Baydala announced his official retirement late last week. Baydala, a twenty year courier professional told reporters that his full retirement would not take place until Friday next. Although semi-retired for the last three years, his move to full retirement continues to shock many observers. " Not everyone is aware of my decision at this time. " Baydala revealed to reporters. And, that statement was indeed corroborated from discussions with his former employer Corporate Couriers, based in Vancouver, B.C. Management staff confirmed that Carl had indeed given his notice, simply by stating that it was time to ' pull the plug. ' There was no further comment given by his former employer. They too were apparently surprised by Baydala's snap decision.
Carl Baydala is a seasoned courier professional and spent the most productive part of his life in this role in the City of Vancouver and the surrounding municipalities, commonly known as the Greater Vancouver district or Lower Fraser Valley region. He served doggedly and aimed for the highest standards in the challenging field of the fast paced delivery business. Carl had become a model and inspiration to many of his peers in the industry. His time spent in the business was testimony to his commitment.
" It's a great job and I love it. I don't think I could have asked for a better career than the courier business. It's a great match for my personality and my life ambitions. It really is like the carnival business where I started out working as a teenager. The jobs are similar in many respects; both involve a lot of people contact, driving, and just plain old working hard. I mean, when you think about it, there is no gain with no pain. And, like the carnival business you have to stick and stay to make it pay. " Carl chuckled to himself as he rattled off some of his favourite old sayings. Carl told staff reporters that he had no idea that he was going to windup as courier. He recalled the story of his life and the events of early 1983. He detailed his life as a teenager working in the carnival business and how this job paid for his university education. Carl graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1973. He graphically explained the conditions that he was working with in the restaurant management business in 1983 and how this career came to an abrupt ending. " I didn't know what to do, but I knew that I had to do something. Oh, I could have gone full time into the carnival business and made a go of things, but instead I decided to try something brand new and exciting. I decided to become a courier and I just went out and bought a new truck and dove right in. In fact, if you examine my history you will see that I make quick business decisions and then just implement them. "
And, implement them he did indeed. He started off his career in 1987 with Nova Messengers. The Company was one of the leading courier companies in the City at that time. This Company is now called Novex. Like all beginning couriers Carl had to learn the ropes. There is no other way to learn the courier business except on the job training. All couriers have to earn their stripes as it were. You have to know where the parking spots are and use the loading docks and the lanes. You have to learn the streets and you have to remember addresses, one way streets and you have to know the good routes from the bad ones. It takes a lot of work and it is stressful sometimes. You are constantly dealing with other drivers and their mannerisms. The good and bad experiences can make or break your day. But, if you are persistent and dedicated then you will learn to survive and to make money. These are the thoughts of Carl Baydala as he was trying to explain the business to us.
" And, don't forget about the customer. Treat that customer with respect and they will take care of you. People remember the little things and how you treat them. And, that is why it is important to interact favourably with receptionists and shipper receivers and the like. These are the front line people and you as courier are representing the company. So, don't ever forget these things. "
Carl had nothing but praise for the company that would be the longest lasting employer that he ever had.
" I have to tell you that not all courier companies are the same. I had worked for a few others before finally settling down at Corporate. Corporate Couriers is a very successful company and it has earned many service awards in the City of Vancouver during its 30 year history. Customer service is the key to its success. The dispatcher and the courier must work together to get the job done. The dispatcher is probably the most important guy in the organization. He is part of the management team so don't forget that. He needs to know company policy, driving situations and the ability of his drivers. He also has to be firmly committed to pleasing each and every customer. On time deliveries are a huge deal in the company and that is where our success comes from. When our customers are paying premium rates for service we do not want to let them down. In fact, that is where our success comes from, just by sticking to the basics like getting the delivery done on time. Some competitors do not even adhere to this one basic goal of the same day courier business. But, it is the most important thing imaginable. Another key to our successs I would say is the treatment of drivers by management. Some companies will try and achieve profit or fixing management mistakes by taking it out of the hides of drivers and bikers. Corporate Couriers never did that because they didn't have to - and didn't want to. And, that says a lot if you ask me. "
For some final thoughts I asked Carl for his current impressions of the business and where it was headed. I also asked him what he was going to do with all of his spare time. He informed me that much of the success of his business was related to the construction industry and the ability keep long term corporate clients. He stated that the company was lucky to have a good steady base of successful businesses in their own right. He thought that their successes were complimentary. He closed out by talking about the current stresses on the job. Traffic congestion, and particularly construction were huge issue for couriers and their on time commitments. Other problems are the losses of important loading zones which the City has taken away from the courier. " It is like an ever tightening screw and it just gets worse and worse. " Carl exclaimed.
High fuel costs and speeders, Road Ragers and tailgaters are big negatives too. So, there are lots of things to be critical about and not all is rosy in the courier business. " But, it's a tough job and somebody has to do it. I did my share and I survived even as the screw tightened around me.. it did not suffocate me necessarily, all that I am saying that it was time to pull the plug. I think everyone in their own situation reaches that conclusion sooner or later. "
I asked Carl what he was going to do for excitement now that his courier career was over.
" Well, I am not going to stop going to the racetrack on Saturday so you can count on that. Also, I do spend lots of time on my computer studying things so I am not going to be bored at all. Lots of house work to do and maybe just take a drive or two when it is sunny out. I think I am going to enjoy myself and I am not apprehensive at all. "
Carl's official retirement begins on Friday, May 13, 2011.