United Parcel Service (UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering transportation of packages and freight, and facilitating international trade in more than 220 countries. The Atlanta-headquartered company has also developed a large presence in the province of New Brunswick since 1995, becoming one of the largest private sector employers in the capital city of Fredericton.
Tammy Bilodeau is a 21-year UPS veteran — one of the company’s first 35 New Brunswick hires. Opportunities NB (ONB) spoke with Tammy, now Director of Customs Brokerage, to learn more about UPS and its New Brunswick operations.
ONB: Everyone knows what UPS is about, but what exactly does its New Brunswick presence entail?
Bilodeau: We have close to 500 employees in our Fredericton location working 24/7 to ensure customs clearance of shipments coming into Canada from around the world. This is the company’s national customs brokerage centre. Anything coming in via UPS trucks or airplanes over $20 dollars requires a declaration to Canada customs. Our Fredericton site does all of the assessment of duties and taxes owing to the government on behalf of our customers.
In Moncton, we have two operations. We have our customer contact centre, and again that’s a national centre housing approximately 100 employees, and a finance and accounting operation employing 105 people.
ONB: What brought the world’s biggest package delivery company to New Brunswick to begin with?
Bilodeau: UPS decided it wanted to consolidate some of its administrative functions. We evaluated multiple locations and New Brunswick offered most of the things we were looking for, including an educated workforce. This province has a strong community college network and some outstanding universities, so having a well-educated workforce was the big draw.
Having a bilingual workforce was also huge given the fact that we service all of Canada. We wanted to be able to do that in both official languages, so that was important.
Lastly, in the ’90s New Brunswick was starting to tout its telecommunications infrastructure. The province had really built that up and was rightfully positioning it as a benefit of investing here. That was important to UPS as a global company working around the clock. We’re in contact with people across the world so a strong telecommunications infrastructure was crucial.
Twenty-one years later all of those things continue to be huge advantages. Leadership has come to realize that the workforce here is stable and loyal; employees here really care about their work. We celebrated 20 years in Fredericton in 2015 and had 73 people present that have been with the company since that first year.
Any time we’ve expanded operations here over the past 21 years we’ve had good public sector support from organizations like ONB. That’s been another plus.
ONB: On top of those business advantages you’ve noted, can you speak to the work-life balance of New Brunswick?
Bilodeau: I travel a lot for work. Many of my senior management counterparts live in bigger, busier cities and they’re quite envious of the quality of life we have here. I have been very fortunate; I’m able to work as an executive with a Fortune 500 company while living outside city limits with a 10-minute commute to work. That’s not common in large centres.
So for me, achieving that great work-life balance has been easy in New Brunswick. That’s important to me as a working mom with two small children. They have lots of activities to keep them busy, and I’m still able to be career-driven. I absolutely have the best of both worlds here.
Written by Jason Boies
Cover image via Tomás Fano