A Hall of Fame Career
Nearly 60 years ago, Tom Camp stood on a pitcher’s mound on Okinawa throwing fastballs and curves for the U.S. Marines. Every ballplayer dreams of setting unbreakable records, and Tom was no exception. But Tom’s dreams would prove to be different. Tom Camp’s dreams of an immortal accomplishment would come true, albeit, off the baseball field.
How extraordinary was Tom’s performance? Michigan governor Rick Snyder declared an official day to mark Tom’s achievement. His accomplishment was read into the Congressional Record. A flag flew over the U.S. Capitol in his honor. Tom’s hometown of Livonia, Michigan, declared an official “Tom Camp Day.”
55 Years and Counting
On October 18, 2017, Tom Camp became the first driver in the 110-year history of UPS to reach 55 years of safe driving.
One million miles driven . . . 5 million packages delivered . . . 55 years behind the wheel . . . not one accident or injury.
As UPS CEO David Abney said at the ceremony honoring Tom, “Tom, your record stands alone. I think your achievement, your work ethic, and your focus on service would make our founder, Jim Casey, extremely proud of you.”
A Major-League Celebration
Tom was greeted at work by a large group of reporters, speakers, co-workers, retired friends, and a few surprises. “The whole thing was very overwhelming,” he says. “Everything was first-class.”
The first surprise came when Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline stepped to the microphone. Al is a Detroit icon, a Hall-of-Famer who led the Tigers to the 1968 World Series Championship. He presented Tom with a vintage 1968 jersey along with a current jersey with “Camp” and the number 55.
“I remember him when he came up to the major leagues, 18 years old, just out of high school,” Tom says. “He was always a quiet man, very nice, and he just went out and won gold gloves and batting titles.”
“While I was out stealing bases and hitting home runs,” says Al, “you were protecting lives by staying safe on the roads. That’s Hall of Fame material if you ask me.”
Tom’s attitude toward his own work seems to mirror that of the baseball legend. As longtime customer Julie Stinebiser says, “Tom comes in, he does his thing, and he leaves. But he does it in a very friendly and efficient manner. And as he’s leaving, he’ll always make us laugh.”
Space and Visibility
Tom Camp’s celebration was an exclamation point on one of the great achievements in UPS history. But what’s the secret to his safety success?
“He follows the methods, he doesn’t shortcut anything, and that’s how he has 55 years of safe service,” says Driver Supervisor Kevin Bush. “Great drivers weren’t born that way. They were trained. And it takes commitment every day.”
For Tom, the answers are simple. “My biggest thing is having space between yourself and the car in front of you,” he says. “Don’t change lanes all the time, get in a lane and stay there, unless you have to pass the person. And just keep your eye on the cars around you. But that space cushion is probably the biggest thing.”
Be aware, slow down, and keep some distance. It’s a recipe for success.
Tom Camp may not be throwing curves, but he negotiates them better than any driver in UPS history.