Tag Archives: UPS

Keith Reid

August 25, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Coming home to a pile of packages on the doorstep is like…well…celebrating Christmas. Postmaster of Omaha Keith Reid knows that, because his team of postal workers deliver tons of packages to people each and every day.

Those packages that come from UPS? They actually come from the U.S. Postal Service…at least they are dropped off by someone at the USPS. Those books and electronics from Amazon? Yep, USPS again.

KeithReid1It is one of the many ways the postal service is combatting the decline in correspondence.

Reid says Omaha, specifically, has found increased revenue in packages.

“Packages have increased by 20 percent over 2015 and 18 percent over 2014,” Reid says. “That is a volume count from our machines. We now track every package. For Omaha, our package delivery volume was up 21.9 percent from same time last year.”

That 20 percent increase represents eight million packages delivered as of early July.

They also created a revenue stream by delivering packages for United Parcel Service. While UPS delivers 90 percent of the way to a home or office, the USPS goes the extra mile to send those packages down the last mile.

“The last mile is the most costly,” Reid explains. “For them it’s more practical to bring it here. If you think about it, just at Boys Town (Post Office), I have about 55 routes. It’s more cost effective for them to drop it at the post office when we have seven carriers going to those places anyway.”

UPS pays the USPS for that last mile.

Conversely, packages that need to fly from one place to another, even when mailed from the USPS, often come through FedEx, for the same reason. It is costly to fly packages.

In terms of revenue, however, the biggest increase has come from efficiency.

Need a passport? There is only one place in Omaha to go. That’s Postal Impressions at 132nd and Q streets. And an appointment is necessary.

“That way the customer knew they wouldn’t need to wait,” Reid says. “It used to be 15 minutes per passport.”

In order to reduce the wait time, customers go online and make the appointment. The customer is then emailed with instructions on what to bring with them.

“It’s down to seven or eight minutes,” Reid says. “I have four clerks doing passports.”

Postal service employees also offer more personalized services than they used to.

Need stamps to send a letter or bill? Need to send a stack of fliers regarding a coming sale? Let your local carrier know. He or she will help you.

“We are getting our employees involved,” Reid says. “We originally looked at where our competitors went. Now, we will go right up to businesses and ask how we can help them.”

Friendliness goes a long way.

“We’re over a million in revenue, just by having our carriers talk to customers,” Reid says.

Reid also believes the USPS’ positive results will continue.

“Every time people refer to us as a dinosaur, we establish ourselves as bigger and stronger.”

Visit usps.com for more information. B2B

Pam Mertz’s Copper-Penny Ceiling

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Pam Mertz expresses her creative side through home decorating. She enjoys watching DIY Network and HGTV, perusing home interiors magazines looking for projects, and decorating her Papillion home of 10 years. And she’s also not afraid of a design challenge.

“I definitely like tackling a project,” she says. “I’m not intimidated by them. I think I have a gift for decorating…I can walk into a room and picture how a space will look if I do this or that with some end tables or paint on the walls. But I admit I’m more of a big-picture person…not as good with the accesssories.”

When a tour through some Street of Dreams homes led Mertz to a fascination with faux finishes on the walls, she put her mind to learning how to do several painting techniques.

“A girlfriend taught me some skills…rag rolling, feathering…and I had a knack for making it look professional. I did it in my home, then I started doing it for friends.”

During some time off work (she works full-time as a UPS driver), she took a week-long class learning about plasters, glazes, and other materials and techniques for wall and ceiling treatments from local decorator Kelly King. The class was not cheap. “It was $1,500, but I figured if I could learn to do it myself, it would save money in hiring a professional,” Mertz says.

Detailing of the copper-penny ceiling.

Detailing of the copper-penny ceiling.

The first project she tackled was her dining room ceiling. It was not an easy undertaking. The process took nearly 30 hours over two weekends and involved plastering cheesecloth to the ceiling in various shapes, then pulling it off, sanding it until smooth, adding a glaze, painting it a copper-penny color, then trolling on a topcoat to fill in the cracks.

“I learned the plaster technique on a paint sample board standing up on-end,” she says, “so doing this on the ceiling, over my head, was much harder. When I was done I looked like I had cake batter all over me, and I thought I’d have permanent neck damage.”

Still, Mertz says the ordeal was well worth the effort. “It turned out beautiful. A lot of that has to do with the products I used (which she special-ordered online), but [they] make a huge difference.” She recommends the Blue Pearl metallic and pearlescent paint line.

Since then, Mertz has gone on to apply textured finishes and faux paint to walls and ceilings in many other rooms—“I used a metallic copper in my kitchen, a paint technique in the master bedroom, a suede finish in another…[The finishes] give the rooms a depth and warmth I love.”

While Mertz gets a lot of requests from friends to do their homes, she admits she doesn’t have much time. “I may take up more projects when I retire, which I hope to do in less than three years.”

She admits faux finishing is not a home project for just any do-it-yourselfer.

“If you are not a patient person or detailed person, it’s not for you,” she warns. “You have to be willing to do it just so or it won’t turn out the proper way.

“And you can do too much. There are ways to do techniques more subtly.”