When Brian McNamara of Vernal started his new job as a driver for UPS, the internet and Seinfeld were brand new, Dances with Wolves was the hot new movie and the Euro dance band Milli Vanilli had their Grammy award revoked after admitting to lip-syncing two hit songs.
That was 1990. Now, 29 years and 1.45 million miles (estimated) later, McNamara is being recognized by his employer and invited to join the company’s Circle of Honor for drivers who have achieved 25 years or more of accident-free driving. Utah now has 49 Circle of Honor drivers.
“My thanks go to all of them for their dedication and focus and for the countless lives they’ve saved,” said Kenneth Cherry, president UPS Mountain District. “Their attention to detail has kept them safe and has helped improve public safety.”
McNamara isn’t the sort to seek recognition. The 54-year-old who has lived in the Uinta Basin for most of his life, has a calm confidence that puts people at ease. “Plenty” of dogs have bitten him, he’s had a wood plank and a drop-hitch fly off trucks and come through his windshield on Highway 40. He’s extra careful during inversions, winter storms and around drivers who are using their phones, which is common, he said.
He likes the job because it keeps him active and in shape, and he plans on working for another six to eight years even though he could retire now. “It’s a good company to work for or I wouldn’t have been here this long,” he said.
The trick to dealing with territorial dogs is to give them a biscuit, which he does nearly every day. He says he still likes dogs in spite of all the bites. But it’s frustrating when people let them out as he is walking away from a house.
Winter driving and inversions are among the biggest challenges. “Getting up in the morning and seeing six to 10 inches of snow and knowing that’s your day is challenging sometimes,” he said.
Watch what you’re doing, drive defensively and don’t text and drive are the three things McNamara attributes to his 25-year safety record. “I see people on their phones everywhere I go,” he said. “You’re sitting higher than them and when they pass you look over and they are texting. That’s the biggest thing I see.”
The holiday season can be a bit hectic but UPS keeps drivers on a five-days-per-week schedule. Each driver delivers about 100 packages each day. The pace of work has gotten a bit more relaxed over McNamara’s career. He said the company has learned that pushing drivers too hard can lead to costly mistakes.
McNamara is the longest-tenured UPS driver in the Basin. But during that time he’s only had to work one weekend. “I always have weekends off which is great because when the day is over I don’t have to worry about being on call,” he said. “When I leave the office I put it behind me.”
UPS gave him two new jackets and put out a breakfast for the entire crew in his honor for reaching the 25-year milestone. In his spare time he likes to catch walleye and hunt elk.