30 Mar Getting to Know Colby and Erik
Colby Shawver and Erik Jensen are long-time AMT team members. Erik’s been working here in some fashion almost 9 years and Colby’s closing in on six. Committed and super-talented logisticians, these guys are also good under pressure, and a lot of fun in and out of the office.
When did you start working at AM Transport Services, and what did you do when you started?
Colby: I was hired on as a carrier manager. I worked to secure carriers to haul our customers’ freight. I believe I was also hired to serve as AMT’s in-house DJ.
Erik: I started working at AM Transport about eight 1/2 years ago as an intern in the billing department (has it really been that long?). When I graduated college in December, I was hired on as a carrier manager.
How has your job changed and evolved over the years?
Colby: When I started working here, we did not track very many loads. Fast forward to today, we are tracking over 90% of loads in the system. Once a carrier has accepted the tracking, our system will automatically update when a carrier arrives and departs a shipper/consignee. You have complete visibility on the shipment from start to finish.
Erik: Tracking is definitely a big one. A high level of visibility is the expectation in the transportation industry. When I first started, we were only tracking job-site deliveries, and when we really dug into it, carriers sometimes fought back. But at this point in time, they realize this is something that’s not only expected from us, but everyone who works in the same space.
Do you have a favorite funny story/memory of something that happened at work?
Colby: We used to have Minute-to-Win-It challenges in the office. One of the challenges was to shake your body to get a ping pong ball out of a tissue box tied to the participant’s waist. We had some people twerking and doing handstands to get the ball out. It was a fantastic demonstration of skills.
Erik: Oh man, that’s a tough one. The internal banter is fantastic and always makes me laugh. We have some real comedians in here. I wouldn’t be doing this group justice by singling out just one specific story.
Tell me a little bit about y our family.
Colby: I’m the middle child between two sisters. My parents, little sister, and my family have a pumpkin patch we open to the public in the fall. It started out as my wife’s idea to sell pumpkins. It got out of hand real quick once we started working on it. This year will be our 6th year. The year before Covid, we had about 15,000 people come out. We do love our animals, as well. We have had a Kangaroo (RIP Bert), Patagonia Maras, Fainting Goats, Miniature Cows, Rabbits, Emus, Alpacas, Skunks, Ducks, Donkeys, a South African Porcupine, and a Camel.
Erik: I’m the oldest in a family of four. I have two younger sisters and a younger brother. My wife, Hannah, and I have two beautiful girls. Grace is 3 1/2 with an enormous personality, and Lyla is just over two months old. We’re all excited the weather is finally getting nicer so we can start spending more time outside (we grilled out last night). Like everyone else, we were starting to feel a bit cooped up.
Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Colby: Morning person. I always like to wake up early. I wake up at the same time each day. Every once in a while I’ll sleep in, but I like getting an early start to each day.
Erik: I’m a morning person too. One of my favorite things about the weekend is getting up early with Grace while Hannah and Lyla catch up on a little sleep. I usually let Grace decide what she wants to watch on TV, and we inevitably end up playing a game. She has a doctor’s kit play set, and she loves to give the whole family check ups.
What’s your favorite AMT activity?
Colby: Our company golf outing.
Erik: Agreed. It’s tough to beat the golf outing.
Do you have a favorite season?
Erik: Summer, for sure. You can’t beat a cold beverage in the heat.
What’s your favorite food?
Colby: I love BBQ.
Erik: Hot wings . . . but pizza is pretty damned good too. In terms of snacks–I love pepperoncinis.
Favorite childhood memory?
Colby: My grandparents took all 10 of my cousins to the Indiana State Fair every year. I always looked forward to it and had a blast every year.
Erik: I have so many good memories with my family that it’s hard to pick out just one. We’ve taken a lot of trips together–our big extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That’s always a lot of fun. We’ve gone as far as Mexico and as close as Pere Marquette State Park. Wherever we end up, we always have a blast and eat some good food.
Tea or Coffee?
Erik: Coffee. But tea is solid too.
What’s the best book you’ve read or movie or television show you’ve watched in the last 12 months?
Colby: I just finished Hell on Wheels. It is a western series on Netflix. I highly recommend it.
Erik: I’m almost done with A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders and have thoroughly enjoyed it. There are so many good television shows that I don’t even know which one to point out. The Mandalorian was terrific. If you’re looking for something funny, give Fleabag a shot. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is as talented as they come.
What’s your favorite dish to take to a potluck and would you like to share the recipe?
Colby: Meat. All the meats. I do take deviled eggs and slaw to potlucks, as well. Here is my favorite recipe for Mustard Slaw.
⅓ cup Dijon Mustard
1 cup Sugar
⅓ cup White Vinegar
⅓ cup Vegetable oil
1 tsp of celery seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 large head of cabbage or 1 bag of shredded cabbage/ slaw mix
In a large saucepan mix the mustard, sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Heat on the stove until the mixture has dissolved. Put the pot in a cold water bath until cool. Once the mixture is cold, you can mix it in with the cabbage and carrots.
Erik: I can’t compete with Colby on this one. He’s one helluva cook. I like to keep it pretty simple. If I can grill it, I usually will. With that said, I do make a pretty mean European Toastich.
Dogs or Cats?
Colby: Dogs for sure. I have cats, as well, but cats act like it’s their world and you are just living in it. They jump on our cars, and it drives me nuts. They do kill a lot of mice in my garage, so that is the only reason we have them.
Erik: Dogs. I love Pugs. I had three of them growing up and would like to have another one at some point.
With warmer weather on the horizon, what’s your favorite summer activity?
Colby: My favorite activity is hanging out at the pool and cooking food on the grill or smoker.
Erik: Golf! I’m lucky enough to play every Saturday with my dad and a good friend.
The pandemic has really slowed things down and isolated people. What is one thing you are looking forward to as people get vaccinated and things open up?
Colby: Last year was really slow with our pumpkin patch. It will be nice when everyone feels comfortable getting their families out for those activities.
Erik: I can’t wait to see fans in the stands at sporting events.
If you could give your 12-year-old advice, what would it be?
Colby: Start cooking sooner. I did not really start cooking until my mid 20s. I love it. I should have learned more from my grandmother when she was cooking. She made a lot of great food, and I wish I had paid attention and learned how to make some of those dishes.
Erik: Hmmm. Good question. I guess I would remind myself that everyone has their good and bad days–so if you have a chance to make someone smile, don’t pass it up. We all need that.