MOUNT STERLING, Ill. - Dot Foods, the nation's largest food industry redistributor, hosted its 9th Annual Forklift Rodeo National Championship on June 19, 2014 and Warehouse Order Selectors Nick Blayney and Jordan Dickson brought home a pair of national championships, along with expenses-paid vacations, to help the Oklahoma Distribution Center net another DC National Championship.
Rodeo success is nothing new to Blayney or the Oklahoma Distribution Center. Blayney has qualified for the forklift rodeo nationals six times in six years with the company. Meanwhile Dot's Oklahoma location brought home its second national championship.
"We take a lot of pride in winning the rodeos," said Oklahoma General Manager Mike Ford. "We hang a banner in our warehouse for national championships, and representing our DC at nationals is something all of our employees want to do."
Blayney earned his choice of seven trips by safely posting the best overall time of 1:06.4, besting New York Warehouse Order Selector Mike Corbitt by a half-second, in the electric pallet jack category to capture the championship.
Where some employees might attribute a background in racing or another type of vehicular hobby to their success, Blayney can't quite explain his aptitude for warehouse equipment mastery.
"I just must have a knack for driving equipment, I guess," said Blayney, a Wynnewood, Okla. resident who captured his third rodeo championship in six years with the company. "I grew up on a farm and I'm used to running equipment. That'd be the only thing I think might tie into it."
Dickson, on the other hand, captured his first championship in his first attempt. He achieved a flawless run of 1:19.4, edging Indiana Warehouse Order Selector David Smith by six-tenths of a second.
A safe, perfect run shouldn't be a surprise coming from Dickson, a recent graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a degree in occupational safety, who's been with the company for three years.
The rodeo pits four representatives from each Dot Distribution Center and Illinois headquarters temperature against one another. Each representative qualified for nationals by winning a regional rodeo in one of four categories at their distribution center: Electric Pallet Jack, Forklift, Narrow Aisle and Order Picker.
Ryan Mangold of Illinois captured the narrow aisle championship and Rob Cuddy of Maryland won on the forklift. The winners from each category will enjoy their choice of one of seven all-expense paid vacations: Walt Disney World-Orlando; Memphis Tenn.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miami, Fla.; San Antonio, Texas; a Bahamas cruise; or Cozumel, Mexico.
The Oklahoma Distribution Center took home the overall Distribution Center Championship by beating Dot's Maryland Distribution Center 15-18 in points. The overall championship was determined by the distribution center whose four representatives combined for the lowest score based on their finishing rank.
Contestants were penalized for contacting course barriers, improper stops, horn usage and dropping a basketball that was loaded on their machine. This ensured contestants practiced the same safe habits in the competition that they use daily in the workplace.
"While this is a great celebration of our employees and their skills, we really like to focus on working safely," said Dot Foods Vice President of Warehousing John Long. "There are tight turns, stops and other obstacles that make this a challenging course, but we expect our contestants to practice the same safe habits they always use in the workplace. They did a great job."
Dot Foods Inc. carries 105,000 products from 650 food industry manufacturers making it the largest food redistributor in the United States. Through Dot Transportation, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dot Foods and other freight carriers, the company distributes foodservice, convenience, retail and vending food products to distributors in all 50 states. Dot Foods operates eight distribution centers, which are located in Modesto, California; Vidalia, Georgia; Burley, Idaho; Mt. Sterling, Illinois; Cambridge City, Indiana; Williamsport, Maryland; Liverpool, New York; and Ardmore, Oklahoma. A ninth distribution center in Dyersburg, Tennessee is under construction and scheduled to open in November 2014. For more information, visit www.dotfoods.com.
Dot Foods and Dot Transportation each continue to experience exceptional growth. Both companies are looking to fill full-time and part-time positions in all locations nationwide. To learn more about careers at Dot Foods, visit www.dotfoods.com/careers and follow @DotFoodsCareers on Twitter. To learn more about careers at Dot Transportation, visit www.DriveForDot.com.