Kevin Sibley: ‘We’ve come a long way in the past seven years.’
Kevin Sibley was working as a night cook when he graduated from high school in 1987. He thought about joining the military, but a buddy of his who was working in transportation convinced him otherwise.
“It was so different from restaurant work,” he continued. “Honestly, I really enjoyed freight handling and our community of blue-collar workers. I definitely wasn’t eyeballing some sort of white-collar job. It was the teamwork thing that really appealed to me.”
Sibley joined Carlile in 2006 running the company’s off-site warehouse and was retained as Operations Manager after Carlile joined the Saltchuk family of companies shortly after he was hired. Now the Tacoma Terminal Manager, he was named a 2019 Saltchuk Safety Award Finalist.
“I believe I was nominated because of our terminal’s overall safety record,” Sibley said. “We’ve met and even beaten all of the safety goals set by our regulatory department during the past five years, including lost time and recordable injuries. I can’t take all the credit – my team knocks it out of the park with the safety culture in Tacoma.”
“We’ve met and even beaten all of the safety goals set by our regulatory department during the past five years, including lost time and recordable injuries. I can’t take all the credit – my team knocks it out of the park with the safety culture in Tacoma.”
A new challenge
Sibley said he fights complacency and keeps safety top-of-mind by implementing the message “on a constant cadence” of daily safety briefings with all personnel and clear signage throughout the terminal.
“Safety now has become culture. Safety and safe practices in Tacoma have practically become instinctual and safety leads itself,” he said.
Sibley said he’s most proud of being a great father to his daughter, and he and his wife look forward to retirement.
“I’ve been working since I got my first paper route at 10 and, being 51, it’s been a long haul,” he laughed.
In his 14 years with Carlile, one particular story of camaraderie stands out.
“Years ago, the managers and supervisors had a strong year, and top brass elected to send us on a fishing trip off the Washington coast. I knew I had no sea legs and the odds were I’d get sick. The guys sort of razzed me on it–no big deal, but the funniest thing happened. The waters were a tad rough and all of them but one were just as sick as me,” he laughed. “So much for the prior bragging by them. We laughed it off the next day.”
Sibley said he’s most surprised how quickly the time went from “looking for a change of scenery” when he was young to Terminal Manager more than 30 years later.
“It went fast and it’s been very rewarding, but still surprises me.”
He hopes to continue focusing on best practices.
“We’ve come a long way in the past seven years, and we’ll use what we’ve learned to improve more going forward. We’ll just keep tackling every challenge and opportunity with our Continuous Improvement focus and strategies, and always strive for excellence,” he said. “A lot of my success at Carlile is definitely attributed to the team that reports to me, but also the great leadership at Carlile above me. The company nor myself could have gotten where we are today without solid safety-and success-driven messages, as well as strong support.”