A young Navy vet who joined UPS in 1960 recently became the first driver in the company’s history to pass the 50-year mark for safe driving as a member of UPS’s “Circle of Honor.” Ron “Big Dog” Sowder – the nickname comes from being the company’s longest-tenured safe driver – began his UPS career 50 years ago as a package car driver, delivering to businesses and private residences.
In 1976, he shifted to driving tractor-trailers on the open road and has served as a UPS feeder driver ever since. Currently, Sowder transports packages five days a week, making a 306-mile round trip between the distribution center in West Carrollton, Ohio, and the UPS Worldport global air hub in Louisville, Ky.
More than 5,200 active UPS drivers currently are members of the Circle of Honor – meaning they’ve gone at least 25 years without an accident – but no driver in the company’s history had hit the 50-year mark. A native of Springboro, Ohio, Sowder figures during the course of his career he’s driven more than 4 million miles, transported more than 35 million packages and climbed into a UPS truck more than 12,000 times.
“Ron continues to set and reset the gold standard for our drivers,” says Myron Gray, UPS’s president of U.S. operations. “He is an asset to UPS, a great example for all our drivers and a leader within his peer group of Circle of Honor members. It’s operators like Ron who help ensure UPS is able to keep its promises to its customers.”