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Carmen Bird: ‘I wanted to create a game with a creative spin on safety awareness.’

By Hilary Reeves

Almost a year after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake sent Anchorage rocking, TOTE Maritime Alaska Invoicing Specialist Carmen Bird’s unique approach to earthquake safety and preparation has resulted in a 2018 Safety Award Nomination.

Bird was born in San Francisco but moved when she was 15 to American Samoa.

“I was raised with a bunch of my close family in a nine-bedroom home, so there was never a dull moment,” she said. “I grew up in church where we sang a lot – singing came naturally for my family. My sisters and I said when we grew up, we’d be gospel singers.”

Instead, Bird discovered logistics. Her first job was in a warehouse, unloading freight from containers by hand.

“Most of my career has been in the transportation industry,” she said. “From physically loading and unloading containers, to scheduling pick-ups with LTL carriers, to documenting bookings, to now invoicing, which is what I do in my current position at TOTE. What I love most about my job is working with my amazing team. They say if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life, and this is exactly how I feel.”

Bird’s “Safety Family Feud,” developed in the months after last year’s quake, is a hit with her coworkers at TOTE headquarters in Federal Way, south of Seattle.

“I wanted to create a game with a creative spin on safety awareness,” she said, “so I came up with a “Safety Family Feud” game with a focus on earthquakes after the earthquake Alaska had last year, complete with sound effects, prizes and all.”

Her President’s Award nominator wrote, “The game was a creative spin on safety awareness and was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and she received several compliments on it. I think something like this makes safety a ‘fun’ topic and puts a different spin from what we are used to regarding safety training. (Bird) also participated in a ‘“Near Miss’ Photo Challenge” last year as well for another ‘fun’ safety awareness activity.”

Check out Bird and her coworkers playing Safety Jeopardy, the newest game she created.

Bird said she hopes to put more of her creativity to use in future endeavors.

“I am the happiest I’ve ever been and working with the best team and under the most amazing boss! I am truly blessed.”

Her “pride and joy” – her daughter RoyalTee – inspires Bird to continue to work safely and make a difference.

“My team and I volunteer twice a month at the Emergency Food Network Mother Earth Farm in Puyallup,” she said. “We are currently growing kale and have adopted a row at the farm and assist with seeding, weeding, composting, and irrigation. When the kale is ready, they are harvested and distributed to Pierce County food banks and meal sites helping families in need. Our little part of this is making a big difference.”

TOTE Maritime Alaska Invoicing Specialist Carmen Bird is one of 10 nominees for the 2018 Saltchuk Safety Awards, awarded annually to an individual responsible for an innovative idea that improves safety behaviors and to an individual who displays distinguished service with regard to safety.

Hilary Reeves

Hilary Reeves spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining the Saltchuk family of companies as a consultant. Since People of Saltchuk launched in 2014, Reeves has interviewed more than 200 Saltchuk employees from operating companies all over the world. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Reeves is a former president of both the collegiate and local professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, a graduate of the Society’s Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, and a Toastmaster. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, ski, and practice the piano. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two young daughters.