Day: June 7, 2016

The 11-year-old boy’s dream that became Louisville’s single-biggest private employer

UPS Worldport
UPS started its hub at Louisville International Airport in 1982.

Boulevard focuses on news about some of Louisville’s biggest employers, nonprofits, and cultural institutions. This is one in an occasional series about them.

The first time many people in Louisville heard of United Parcel Service was in a May 1938 issue of The Courier-Journal, when syndicated columnist Dale Carnegie wrote about 11-year-old James E. Casey walking down a sidewalk in Seattle, and catching sight of a Special Delivery wagon pulled by a team of high-stepping horses.

James Casey
Casey in an undated photo.

“I’m going to have a team of horses and deliver things for people,” Casey said that day in 1899, in Carnegie’s retelling. Casey eventually started the American Messenger Co. with seven boys delivering packages by bicycle.

By the time Carnegie’s column appeared, the company was called United Parcel Service and employed 2,500 employees delivering as many as 500,000 packages a day during the Christmas rush.

Nearly 80 years later, UPS has become a giant in shipping worldwide, with Louisville the heart of a global network of 12 major air hubs. It employs 22,000 workers at the Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport. It’s the biggest fully automated package handling facility in the world, according to UPS. It turns over approximately 130 aircraft daily, processing an average of 1.6 million packages a day, with a record of nearly 5 million packages processed on peak day 2013.

(If it was a city, Worldport would rank as Kentucky’s 17th biggest by population — one rung ahead of Radcliff in Hardin County.)

UPS has had a hub in Louisville since 1982, when it was expanding into air service to meet growing demand for faster delivery. Louisville was a logical choice because it’s centrally located in the U.S. Since then, it’s been through two $1 billion expansions here. Driven by growing demand for e-commerce, especially via Amazon, UPS announced plans in May 2016 to spend another $300 million to boost capacity.

This time-lapse video shows some of the activity that takes place during each sort.

Founder Casey died in 1983, at age 95. Today, UPS is headquartered in Atlanta. Its $58 billion in revenue last year ranked it No. 48 on the Fortune 500 list of biggest companies. Worldwide, it has 440,000 employees. It’s been a publicly traded company since November 1999. David Abney has been chairman and CEO since 2014.

$9,800 a year as a Louisville coffee house barista. But even this dame couldn’t get hired there

time-clockBoulevard reports extensively on executive pay at big local employers. But we also look at what folks make down in the trenches — and behind those huge commercial espresso machines. This is from a recent ad in The Courier-Journal’s help-wanted section for Louisville.

The job: Starbucks barista.

The duties: If you guessed, make “coffee.” Or even, make one of those obnoxious Starbucks orders, like a “venti, half-whole milk, one-quarter 1%, one-quarter non-fat, extra-hot, split-quad shots, no-foam latte, with whip, two packets of Splenda, one sugar-in-the-raw, a touch of vanilla syrup, and three short sprinkles of cinnamon” — well, you’d still be off.

The Seattle-based purveyor of coffee culture says being a barista actually means “contributing to Starbucks success by providing legendary customer service.” Of course, it’s not all that vague. You’ll need to

  • Maintain a calm demeanor during periods of high volume or unusual events to keep the store operating to standard and to set a positive example for the team.

On the other hand, some of it does sound awfully touchy-feely/New Age-y. For example, be prepared to

  • Anticipate customer and store needs by constantly evaluating customers for “cues.” You’ll need to pass along that information to a manager so the team can respond as necessary to create the required “Third Place” environment.

Ditto for

  • Recognizing “alarms,” or changes in co-worker morale and passing that along, too.

Perhaps most surprising to anyone who’s visited a Louisville Starbucks recently, there really is a limit to what you can wear, because the dress code

  • Prohibits displaying tattoos, piercings in excess of two per ear, and unnatural hair colors, such as blue or pink.

What it pays: Maddeningly, the ad doesn’t post this most important information. But employment site Glassdoor reports the nationwide average for Starbucks baristas is $9.42 an hour. Working 20 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, you’d make about $9,800, before taxes.

Related: You say “barista,” we say “baristo” — or do we?

Photo, top: Dame Helen Mirren was briefly tickled pink at the BAFTA Awards ceremony in 2013.

Look at these new photos of the gorgeous, soon-to-be-completed Germantown Mill Lofts

Germantown Mill Lofts
The kitchen and living room in one of the model apartments.

The Germantown Mill Lofts website is full of even more amazing pictures of the new 185-unit complex, now nearing completion by Underhill Associates at 946 Goss Ave. Apartments range from studios to one- and two-bedrooms. All are equipped with washers and dryers. Many feature floor-to-ceiling windows (photo, top) that flood apartments with natural light. Amenities include a swimming pool, a gym (now under construction) and the new Finn’s Southern Kitchen restaurant.

Options and prices:

  • Studios. 540-871 square feet: $752 to $1,165 a month.
  • One bedrooms. 685 to 1,180 square feet: $953 to $1,480 a month.
  • Two bedrooms. 926 to 2,376 square feet: $1,202 to $2,889 a month.

The lofts occupy what was once Kentucky’s biggest cotton mill, consisting of more than 250,000 square feet of beautiful brick buildings spread over nearly eight acres in the heart of Germantown and Schnitzelburg. Finn’s was built inside what was once the mill’s administrative office.

Here’s what the Louisville Textile Mill looked like in 1937, in this University of Louisville Photographic Archives photo. In the foreground, that’s a cobblestone Goss Avenue, spliced by trolley tracks.

Louisville Textile Mill

In secrecy, Ali himself made sure his final show in Louisville would be the greatest of all

KFC Yum Center night
Ali’s funeral will be a publicity jackpot for Yum Brands and other companies. Some 15,000 mourners are expected at his memorial service Friday at the Yum Center.

Muhammad Ali planned his celebrity-packed Louisville funeral events this week in a two-inch thick document he developed in secret with his inner circle of family and advisors during a years-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Ali and his book
Ali and his 1975 memoirs.

Ali signed off on the plan in 2010, according to NBC News, although revisions continued until just days before the prize fighter and globally famous humanitarian died late Friday in a hospital in Phoenix, his primary home; he was 74.

In other words, the Thrilla in Manilla and the Rumble in the Jungle are about to meet the Burial ‘n Louisville before a television audience of untold millions, plus hundreds of thousands more attending in person across the city. The multi-day lineup may well rival “Operation Serenade,” the grand finale President Ronald Reagan’s aides orchestrated for his funeral 12 years ago. (Latest Ali funeral news, plus Twitter updates.)

Ali’s plans are virtually without precedent in recent Louisville history. They will demand the coordination of scores of businesses and government agencies. Although the final cost may never be known, it could run well into seven-figures. The events will be a publicity boon to companies from Yum Brands and KFC to A.D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home; storied Cave Hill Cemetery; a local public relations firm — and even street vendors selling souvenirs along the funeral procession route. Others are trying to cash in, too: One Craigslist advertiser in Nashville is offering a pair of boxing gloves purportedly signed by Ali himself for $20,000.

Bob Gunnell

Some proposals were scrapped, including having his body lie in repose at the Muhammad Ali Center downtown, according to long-time family spokesman and Boxcar PR owner Bob Gunnell. Ali’s wife, Lonnie, worried it would interrupt the center’s operations. “Instead,” says NBC, “Ali added a slow procession through the streets of the city, past the museum built in his honor, along the boulevard named after him and through the neighborhood where he grew up and learned to box. That will happen Friday morning, before the funeral service itself at the KFC Yum Center.”

Royalty in the house

Ultimately, a good portion of the cost will be borne by taxpayers for what will be a huge turnout of Louisville police officers, plus the U.S. Secret Service, FBI and other law enforcement needed to guard the Porter & Sons Funeral Home; control crowds, and protect visiting dignitaries — including at least one sitting king.

King Abdulla
King Abdullah

Actor Will Smith, who played Ali in the 2001 film of the same name, will be a pallbearer. Former President Bill Clinton and the comedian Billy Crystal will deliver eulogies at the massive public memorial service at 2 p.m. Friday at the Yum Center.

King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been scheduled to speak. But yesterday, they were bumped to make room for two other speakers whom Gunnell, the Ali family publicist, said would be identified later. President Obama could be one of them, along with First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Yum service is open to the public, but tickets — there will be 15,000 — are required; (how to get them). That’s already spurred out-of-towners as far away as Ottawa to offer $200 — and possibly even more — to anyone willing to stand in line to get one on their behalf when they become available tomorrow starting 10 a.m.

“Willing to pay any amount!!!” a man named Adam says in this Craigslist ad. “I am flying in from Canada to pay respects to my childhood hero, Muhammad Ali.”

At least one company was advertising for street vendors to hawk Ali flags, buttons, and other commemorative merchandise from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday along the Muhammad Ali Boulevard procession route and in front of the Yum Center.

Ali boxing gloves
But are they real?

Earn $200-$300!

“Seeking outgoing sales team,” the Craigslist poster said, before taking the ad down. “You will be selling Muhammad Ali flags and buttons, celebrating the life of Louisville’s hometown hero (and world hero)! Your pay: 20% commission; average earnings $200-$300.”

In Nashville, a Craigslist advertiser is selling what they claimed are a pair of boxing gloves signed by Ali at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where Ali himself lit the Olympic Cauldron. Asking price: $20,000. “This is a treasure find,” the ad says.

Porter & Sons Funeral Home on Bardstown Road is coordinating at least some of the services. The public ceremonies will be followed by a private burial in Cave Hill Cemetery in the Highlands, a much simpler event planned in accordance with Ali’s Islamic faith. He’ll be among other prominent figures from Louisville and Kentucky history in the historic burial ground, says The Courier-Journal. (More about Cave Hill.)

Here’s Will Smith in the Ali movie trailer:

Churchill and ‘The Greatest’ met in ’63; B-F results tomorrow have EPS up, but revs down; and Papa’s pan pizzas are back

Ali at Churchill Downs
Ali training at Churchill Downs in 1963 in recently surfaced photo.

A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 3:32 p.m.

BROWN-FORMAN reports fiscal fourth-quarter results tomorrow by 8 a.m. Analysts expect earnings per share of 72 cents vs. 66 cents a year ago, on $899 million in revenue vs. $947 million. There will be a conference call with management and analysts at 10 a.m.; details. Also, Newsweek magazine ranked the company the “greenest” beverage alcohol company among U.S. publicly traded firms (press release).

CHURCHILL DOWNS: Muhammad Ali is seen on a training run at Louisville’s iconic race track in a 1963 photograph that has just surfaced. It’s one of thousands photographer Curt Gunther took of the Louisville native during the years he accompanied the prize fighter in and out of the ring (CNN). Ali died late Friday in Phoenix at 74 after battling Parkinson’s disease for decades. The funeral he planned for himself in secret this Friday may be without precedent in recent Louisville history.

KFC: Chick-fil-A’s skip-the-line ordering app is no longer No. 1 in Apple’s App store, but it’s still holding a respectable No. 3 — enough to continue embarrassing rival KFC, which launched its own app the same day. More than 1 million people have downloaded Chick’s One app since it was announced last Wednesday. How they pulled it off (The Atlantic). In France, KFC says a video purporting to show a customer finding a whole, cooked chick in a bucket meal is a hoax; video of the alleged incident has been widely shared across social media (Express).

PAPA JOHN’S is offering pan pizza for the first time since 2005 in select markets, including parts of Kentucky; Evansville, Ind., and Denver (Courier-Journal). In Winston-Salem, N.C., an armed man robbed a Papa John’s Sunday at 3:40 p.m. after forcing an employee to open the cash registers. The man, said to be in his 30s, left after ordering the employee and two other workers to the back of the store (Winston-Salem Journal).

PIZZA HUT: A restaurant in Huron, S.D., was destroyed in a fire early Saturday morning the appeared to have started in the kitchen area (Plainsman). In New Zealand’s North Island, as many as three men armed with a machete robbed a Pizza Hut of $298 U.S. at 11 p.m. yesterday, leaving two employees shaken but unharmed. Police said the men were “heavily disguised” with balaclavas and one wore a hi-visibility vest during the incident in Palmerston North (News Hub).

In other news, U.S. stocks were mostly flat after government data showed first-quarter business productivity fell (Google Finance). The 11 big employers in the Boulevard Stock Portfolio were mixed; Ford was up 1.8% to $13.41 less than 30 minutes before the closing bell.