Goodbyes are difficult, but after 28 years of service, our beloved Rates Audit Manager, Darlene Nielsen, officially says goodbye to the trucking world. Van Kam Freightways proudly celebrates Darlene’s retirement, her extraordinary career, and the undeniable impact she’s made on our organization.
Years ago, Darlene had just left her old job to have the summer off with her three kids, but her plans changed after she received a particular call. “I took a buyout from the company I worked for, which happened on a Friday. I wanted to enjoy the summer with my three kids, but the following Monday, I received a call from Van Kam about an interview scheduled for the next day. I needed a job, so I came in and got hired on the spot,” she fondly recalls.
“That call led to an awesome 28-year journey. I’m grateful to Van Kam Freightways for allowing me to be part of the incredible Van Kam family. I’m so glad I received that call!” she exclaims.
Darlene worked as a Biller/Rate Clerk at CP Express and Transport for 16 years before joining Van Kam. She joined us as a Rate Clerk and then worked her way to becoming our Rate Audit Manager. “I joined Van Kam as an afternoon shift Rate Clerk, and my job was to compile data, compute fees & charges, and prepare invoices for billing purposes. After some years, I got promoted to Supervisor of Rates and Customer Service, and again to Rate Audit Manager,” she says.
As Rates Audit Manager, Darlene ensures that our rates department operates smoothly while also managing 11 team members. “As Rates Audit Manager, I manage Quoters/Raters, track their workload, help out with blockages, and ensure a high level of productivity from the department throughout the day,” she concludes.
During her time at Van Kam, Darlene went above and beyond. Aside from her primary duties, Darlene took the time to help anyone who needed it. “I was one of ten children, and growing up, we learnt that we completed tasks better when we worked as a team,” she says. “So now, I see myself as a team player helping out anyone that needs my help, whether it’s attending to customer queries or general office administration.”
A worthy side-note: Right up to her retirement, Darlene did the “Costco-run” for our company’s cleaning supplies which she kindly monitored alongside her regular duties. Throughout the work week, she also filled many of our staff members’ bellies with delicious treats from her favourite samosa shop, bakery, deli, and numerous other delectables that our waistlines will surely (not?) miss in her absence.
When asked how she keeps a stable work-life balance, Darlene says she finds spending time with family is all that matters. Darlene was one of ten children growing up, and now she has three of her own whom she considers to be her best friends. There are also six grandchildren she’s ready to go all out for. “They keep me going! When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my children, grandchildren and my dog,” she adds.
“I enjoy reading and baking, but I’m mostly known for my baking – especially my coconut tarts and jelly rolls! People are also quite fond of my canned antipasto and pickled beets,” says Darlene when asked about her hobbies. “With my retirement, I’m looking to take up new hobbies since I won’t be able to continue my shopping sprees – goodbye Costco $500’s club, and hello Costco $2.99 hot dog and drink club!” she jokes.
Darlene already has her eyes set on some new activities for her retirement. “I have plans to learn how to knit, and I’m also going to be taking pastry classes,” she concludes.
Darlene also hopes to spend her retirement travelling around and searching for new adventures. “I’ve recently been thinking of travelling a bit more, and Hawaii is atop my list. Ever since I made it there a while back, I’ve been looking forward to returning – it’s my favourite destination,” she says.
Your retirement to-do list sounds exciting, Darlene! All of us at Van Kam can’t wait to hear about your adventures in the next chapter of your life – we’ll miss you!