5/26/09

I Don't See Dead People I See FedEx Trucks

I see them everywhere now, just like when you buy a new car and suddenly see that same car on every street. Why? Because Mommy got to go on a Field Trip! FedEx invited a couple of Mommy Bloggers to tour their World Headquarters in Memphis Tennessee, which seems strange but can you say Peabody Hotel? And could you refuse a road trip with this awesome chick? (shhh- she sees the trucks too) Road trips are revealing, and this one revealed to Jamie what a giant dork I am. She picked me up at my office and as we hit the road, I pulled from my bag pages (and pages) of Fed Ex background information. I had the history of the company, corporate officers list, mission statement, number of planes and trucks they crisscross the globe with, financial summary page from their Annual Report (with charts!); everything but the screenplay for Cast Away. I also had a typed full page list of questions I wanted to ask them. (Lord knows what she was thinking but she’s super polite.)* Matt Ceniceros was our host (he is FedEx's media relations guy) and he carted us all over the vastness that is FedEx World HQ Memphis. He took us to meet the packaging experts. Now, what would a mom ask a packaging expert? Oh I know! What-the-heck-with-the-twisty-ties-my-kid-just-wants-to-play-with-the-little-toy-yo?! (Answer: Toy manufacturers…positioning…shelf appeal…blarghblargh…whatever. Toy companies – just fix it already.)** At night the Memphis airport closes and FedEx takes over. For this reason we were there from 10:30 p.m. to nearly 2:00 a.m. (They let us sleep in the next day! In our big, fluffy, duck-embroidered beds!) Nightly, FedEx lands 120 planes between midnight and 2:00 a.m., unloads, sorts, re-loads, and launches 120 planes between 2:30 and 4:00 a.m. Seriously, the processing of your boxes and letters into and back out of the Memphis hub to every corner of the globe is something you almost have to see to believe, to the tune of 1.5 million packages every night. (!!)

FedEx collage

We got to ride around the tarmacs and walk right up to the planes, and we saw the hanger and the office building used for filming the scenes where Tom Hanks returned to civilization after being a Cast Away. (The hotel scenes were filmed at The Peabody, which is gorgeous and I'll feature it in my upcoming Memphis post. I even have a short video of the stunning lobby.) We met with the vibrant VP of Customer Service Shelia Harrell (see picture here!), a working mother like myself and Jamie, who has been blogging on the FedEx web site about work-life balance, becoming one of the company's most popular corporate bloggers in the process. She had a lot of blogging questions for us and we could have spent a whole day just with Shelia. Matt gave me a souvenir from my field trip for Shark Boy.

IMG_7851

This toy FedEx plane didn't leave his hands for days - he ADORES the FedEx plane. (See the crazy eyes? He now sees FedEx trucks everywhere too, so we drive around going "Look! Another one!" It's sort of weird.) And speaking of Shark Boy, he was further impressed to know that FedEx helped to ship over 10 tons of ocean mammals for Shedd Aquarium. But, why were we there again? FedEx wanted to talk to Mommy Bloggers because they believe we are an influential part of the new media and FedEx is seeking new storytellers to talk about their organization in new ways. That is a progressive and proactive approach to social media and marketing, and it makes sense in that FedEx is a company well known for innovation. Also, they have their own company-sponsored Mommy Blogger, which is very cool. Thanks again to Matt and everyone at FedEx for letting us have a behind the scenes peek at the amazing things you do. *At one of our meetings a FedEx guy mentioned LTL shipping and I looked at Jamie and said "LTL means less than a truckload," and she was totally thinking she'd never travel with my freakishness again impressed with my knowledge of the world of high-tech transportation. **FYI: FedEx does not design the toy packaging. It's not their fault. I clarify this because I know all parents want to stab someone in the eyeball over this issue. When Fisher-Price invites me over, it's ON. Extra Stuff for Free: Here is a link to my Memphis/FedEx flickr group so you can see all my pictures. There's packages and planes, but also beer signs, Elvis, and ducks. You are welcome.

26 comments:

Lori said...

What a cool trip! I'm totally with you on the toy packaging!

Amy said...

There was a rumor from the packaging dudes that Amazon is actually working on that problem. Let's hope this is true!

mo.stoneskin said...

"influential part of the new media"?

I can believe that!

de said...

Wow! I'm not sure who I'm more impressed with, FedEx or you!

Missy said...

Sounds like you had fun. If you happen to book a tour of Mattel, I have words for those people... You know, the ones who sew the damn Barbies to their packages!!!

Amy said...

Missy - Oh yes - the sewing! And don't get me started on the ones that are screwed in and send you (your husband) off looking for a tiny phillips-head screwdriver. Argh.

purejoy said...

what a fun trip. i want to go to memphis! heck i just want more than three people to read my blog!

evenshine said...

I'm still freaking out over SharkBoy's eyes....dude, that's wierd.

Amy said...

evenshine - I know, he looks like he's holding the One Ring!

Belle said...

FedEx? Who'd have thought?

Mrs. CPA said...

My Father in Law is a pilot for Fed Ex. Since he loves to give us money, I LOVE FED EX.

Matt Ceniceros said...

How did I not know that you'd have an InStyle magazine on readily available in the house!?!

It was a pleasure and real learning experience having you and Jamie visit us.

We're happy that the trip out to west Tenn was enjoyable and that the team who makes FedEx what it is blew your minds!!!

Amy said...

Mrs. CPA - So cool!! It honestly seemed like a fantastic company to work for. We had no idea what to expect and were quite impressed with the FedEx people.

Amy said...

Matt - The house is littered with in In Style mags! I can't help myself.

The trip was really fun. Your corporate culture is amazing to me.

Busy Mom said...

What a fabulous trip! I love airports, that must have been cool, and it seems like a company that loves what they do!

Pop and Ice said...

Those are some scary eyes on Shark! He'll probably mesmerize the girls with them one day....

Anonymous said...

Amy, what a great blog! As I read your write up I felt so proud to work for Fedex. I am so honored that you see it the same way as I. I get to work with so many terrific people. I also want you to know that I loved meeting you and Jamie. It felt so at home to get to spend time with two other COOs of their households and family. At work we apply netowrking principals to learn and grow; this is a technique that we mom's have been doing in formallay for years. You and Jamie have introduced me to a new way of networking to grow the best legacy this world has to offer - our children. I know youare busy with a job, a husband and family and now you have added blogging. I thank you for connecting the moms of this world so we can together make it a better world!!! You are awesome. Come back to FedEx and visit any day! Thanks also for the blogging tips! Sheila

Michelle Smiles said...

I don't really get the connection between bloggers and FedEx but they have to have an impressive operation to get everything where it is going.

Of course I too hate the toy packaging morons. This year I have declared that I will unpackage all toys before I wrap them for Christmas so we can have a nice morning instead of spending the day prying toys out of cardboard.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

How fun! And a night away ALONE? AWESOME!!

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Love your post and THANK YOU for not telling everyone what a great, awesome driver I am. Ahem.

I am still kind of missing that big ole king size bed I got to sleep in ALL BY MYSELF. The Peabody is lovely.

I say we do another blog road trip again...any corporate sponsors want to hire two fabulous working mamas from Nashville? Disney? Target? Steve Madden? Ritz Carlton?

Pamela Kramer said...

What a sweet plane!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Loved your post and your photos. I can't help but think, however, of Castaway when I see those pictures. Strange, but true.

Nap Warden said...

Why do I never get to do cool stuff? Psyched for you:)

Rachel said...

That really is too cool for words!!!!
and Shark's eyes ;-) Love it, he's obviously psyched beyond belief!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

How cool! There's a Reading Rainbow DVD that goes to FedEx (or is it the Brown place), and it's fascinating.

You're a lucky duck!
:)

Hildegarde said...

This is great!

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