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Cody Potter worked alongside his father, Bill Potter, for years before recently joining Delta Western

By Hilary Reeves

Bill Potter is a self-proclaimed “lubricants nerd.”

“I’ve done everything during my career from warehousing, driving and operations management, to sales, to installing equipment and fixing the kitchen sink,” he said. “I still love the field of lubricants – I guess I’m pretty boring.”

Bill stands in a warehouse of blue barrels wearing a yellow reflective vest.Raised in Oregon, Potter and his five siblings lived briefly in Alaska as children, and he returned during the summer of ’75 after graduating from high school.

“I never went back,” he said.

Potter began his career in Fairbanks, working at Chevron’s airport plant in operations and sales support during the pipeline boom. By 1986, Chevron had sold off most of their plants, and he went to work as one of “the original seven” at Inlet Petroleum, where he is currently a Certified Lubricants Specialist, training manager, and assists with business development for the company. Potter also assists with the lubricant supply for various other Saltchuk companies through a unique program with one of Delta’s main lubricants suppliers, Chevron.

“I enjoy assisting the other sites as well with lube or fuel issues,” he said. “I enjoy the challenges some of the customers have in their businesses. Since my father was an engineer, two of my sisters were CPAs, one was a biology major, and my brother is an electrician, it’s no surprise that I kind of enjoy mechanical and technical stuff. Drives the wife crazy.”

His sons, however, were a different story.

“I have two sons: Ryan, 35, and Cody, 23. My daughter Randi is in the middle at 31. Ryan is a diesel mechanic – and a customer of ours. Randi is a chiropractor’s assistant. I have a nephew in Fairbanks who is a State Wildlife Trooper and has been on the Discovery Channel – that’s our link to Hollywood,” he joked. “And now Cody drives package trucks for Delta Western.”

Cody Potter grew up in Anchorage and joined Inlet Petroleum in the warehouse four years ago, shortly after graduating from high school. His greatest challenge was obtaining his commercial driver’s license – which he achieved this past February. Now he’s on the road.

“Growing up, my mother was a very important person in my life, taking me camping and fishing every weekend while my dad worked through the night,” Cody said. “But when I was a kid, I looked up mostly to my dad. I am proud of my father and what he has sacrificed in his life for us as a family, working 15 hours Bill and Cody stand in a warehouse full of blue barrels, both smiling and wearing reflective vests, Bill crosses his hands in front of him and Cody has his hands in his pockets.everyday, always on-call and keeping a roof over our family’s head.”

According to Potter, working with family requires a delicate balance.

“You can’t get too involved, but I try and give advice on how to work with fellow employees and customers,” he said. “It’s a bit tough, as the younger generation generally has a different mindset. Part of it is their not having gone through as many tough times – in my opinion,” he laughed.

Since Cody began at Inlet Petroleum, Potter has transferred from the port to the company’s L Street offices.

“We still touch base from time to time.”