FedEx at Forty: Ricky Moore
This guy delivers.
A courier since 1984, Ricky Moore is the face of FedEx for many companies who use its services. “Most people like to cut up,” he says. “That’s the cool thing about it.”
photography by Larry Kuzniewski
Before some of us even stumble out of bed, Ricky Moore is driving all over the city, unloading hundreds of packages and greeting customers. But that suits this FedEx courier just fine. “I could never sit behind a desk,” says the Memphis native. “Moving constantly — that’s what I like.” He moves so quickly that he’s been known to leave his managers panting in the stairwells. “We have ‘check rides,’ when the manager rides with the courier to make sure we do things efficiently. I’d be running up and down the steps of buildings, and they couldn’t keep up with me.” Then he adds kindly, “If you do it every day, you get used to it.”
The slim, fit 57-year-old starts his morning stretching and flexing, which no doubt contributes to his quickness. Then he “pre-trips” his vehicle — a “bob truck” that’s one step below a tractor trailer — by checking oil levels, adjustors on air brakes, body damage, and more. Unlike the smaller vehicle he drove in the early years when he delivered mostly documents piece by piece, Moore’s large truck holds 10 pallets. “I pull up to a dock and pump up the pallet jack, or a forklift drives in back and pulls off the packages. I’ve already delivered a thousand packages today and have another big pickup later. ”
As a student at then-Memphis State University, Moore was hired to work part-time at the FedEx hub in 1982. Two years later, he took a job as a courier. “It’s almost impossible for a part-timer who’s only been with the company two years to get a courier job,” he explains, “unless you’re willing to transfer.” Moore was not only willing but eager to relocate to a city with ski slopes nearby. He found just the ticket in Salt Lake City. Five years later, a growing family brought him home. “My parents really wanted grandchildren,” he explains, “and I couldn’t deprive them.”
On his route, Moore enjoys dealing with the same people and forging friendships. “Most people like to cut up,” he says. “That’s the cool thing about it, having fun.” And he even enjoys solving the occasional problem. “You show up at a customer location and they’re like, ‘Oh good, you’re here, so we can get our payroll.’ Then we break down the pallet package by package, and the payroll isn’t there. It’s a challenge and I like being able to trace it and find it.”
Not everyone he meets is amiable. “It’s really important we get a customer’s name right. This one guy didn’t speak clearly so I asked him to repeat his last name. It seemed like he just wanted to fight me. He said, ‘Do you have a problem with spelling?’” Moore took the high road and apologized. Today he says, “You can’t let people like that get under your skin.”
Then of course he sees some crazy driving, cars whipping in and out of lanes, a tractor trailer driver making a left-hand turn, while talking on his cell phone and shifting gears. “The company trains us in defensive driving,” says Moore, “so we know to expect the unexpected. Road rage is not an option.”
Though couriers can feel the stress of deadlines, Moore believes he’s wired to handle pressure, stay positive, and solve problems. “I think it’s a gift,” he says. “Some have it, some don’t. I’m glad I do.” Perhaps being the father of three — a daughter and two sons, ages 21, 19, and 12 — has helped him adapt to most anything. “They’re my hobbies,” he says.
Moore feels fortunate to work for a firm that ranks 10th on Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” survey, and on its list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” in the United States. As for FedEx’s founder, Moore says, “Fred Smith is brilliant. And he has always put his people first.”