In observance of Veterans Day, we're spotlighting one of our team that served with honor and distinction.
Most of our Customers and Carriers that have spoken with our Government Services Division know Bob Sawyers. His amiable disposition and subject expertise makes his phone calls a welcome change to the flurry of unsolicited and often hectic calls dispatchers and drivers field daily. This is part of his commitment to operational excellence, a trait he proudly proclaims he learned serving in the United States Navy.
"The Navy took me from being a college kid to being a man," Sawyers said. "My time at sea and my ten years in the Navy taught me more than I learned at University."
Sawyers joined the Navy in August 1976. He earned a four-year scholarship to The Ohio State University and graduated with degree in Accounting. The day of his graduation he was commissioned as the rank of Ensign 01, knowing that the Supply Corps was what he was looking for. Sawyers said that his six months in Supply School was intense, yet rewarding. One lesson learned there bares fruit even to this day, "They made it real clear, don't go out there thinking you know it all. The quickest way you get into trouble is to go out there and tell a sailor you know it all," Sawyers said, "Nowadays, I always try to listen to every driver and every customer so I can give them whatever specific support they need."
During his time in the Navy, Sawyers saw much of the world. With stops in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Georgia Coast, it was time in the Mediterranean where Sawyers life was most impacted. "I was very fortunate we had a chance to spend some time in Israel, and got to go to Bethlehem. As a man of faith, seeing where Jesus Christ was born really changed me."
The inflection in Sawyers' voice as he recalls this time can be felt across the years.
As those years passed, a conversation with his wife and daughter suggested it was time to move on to a new life. "I was offered a great deal to stay in, even a tour in Hawaii, but family called," Sawyers remembers, "It was a family decision. My wife, daughter and I would do a lists of pros and cons of staying in the Navy. And as a family we decided that ten years was a good time to leave."
The transition wasn't an easy one at first for the family. Sawyers found the laid-back nature of civilian life challenging. The free market isn't as buttoned-up military life, so Sawyers sought advice from friends and mentors.
"When I first got out in December 1986, supply chain seemed like the most natural fit, and to be honest I enjoyed it. Friends, former professors, and my mentor Steve Yates, a former Naval Supply Officer, recommended transportation and logistics as a natural fit for my skill set."
All the years of balancing budgets, managing disbursements and overseeing quarterly audits, Sawyers attributed his time handling bi-monthly shipments into Cuba as a cornerstone in his Supply Chain foundation.
Here, he oversaw Crowley's shipments to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, and that helped set the table for his life at Atlantic.
"I've really found a home here at Atlantic Logistics, and feel like everyone here is like family to me. I couldn't feel more blessed to have my civilian career end here."
Atlantic Logistics provides capacity for truckload, LTL, flatbeds, stepdecks, lowbeds, vans, and reefers throughout the United States and Canada. Moving over-dimensional/over-weight freight with specialized equipment, Atlantic Logistics is an approved Department of Defense and General Services Administration broker, qualify as a woman-owned business, and are members of the Transportation Management Sales Association (TMSA),Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), The National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA.)