Van Kam Freightways Ltd. is excited to celebrate the recent 30th work anniversary of Merian Nakashima. Merian is part of our payroll team at the Van Kam head office in Surrey, BC. We here at Van Kam acknowledge this as a significant milestone. The feeling’s not lost on Merian either, as she was kind enough to open up about her professional and personal journey thus far.
When the opportunity to join Van Kam came for Merian 30 years ago, she could only work with us as a part-time employee, even though she was looking for a full-time opportunity. She explains, “Van Kam was looking for a couple of part-time people, but I really wanted a full-time position, so Van Kam offered me three part-time positions which I accepted as it seemed like an interesting opportunity. I began working two days in the accounts receivables/bank deposits department and three days in interline payables. Also, I doubled as the backup/relief receptionist.”
After three months, Merian was given the opportunity to choose a department where she would work full-time. She chose the accounts payable department as her area of focus, working in various capacities before finally moving on to her current department of payroll.
Working in payroll involves a great deal of confidentiality as the department manages people’s sensitive information. One thing Merian shared about her department that might not be widely known to “outsiders” is that payroll never stops. “Payroll is an ongoing process with a lot of unique information – – most of which is very confidential,” she says. “Working in the department requires me to pay critical attention to details; mistakes can be costly, as you can imagine.”
As an organization with many staff members throughout Western Canada, we can confidently say on record that if there’s anyone who’s an expert in ‘dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s’ when executing a smooth payroll process… it’s definitely Merian and her colleagues in payroll!
“I’m a grandmother of eight wonderful grandkids, I also have one great-grandson, and I feel pretty blessed surrounded by all of them,” Merian beams when asked how she spends her time off. “I also love to bake, so it’s safe to say the kids love spending time with me, their favourite grandma,” she added.
“Speaking of kids, one of the things I’m grateful for was moving back home to Canada in 1992 to raise my children here in Canada. We were previously living in Hawaii and California, where my kids were born, but moving back felt like the right thing to do – and it clearly was,” she added. We totally get it, Merian; nowhere like home in beautiful BC… but Hawaii doesn’t sound too shabby either!
“I enjoy watching things grow, and I like growing things, but I wouldn’t call myself a gardener,” says Merian when asked about what physical activities she enjoys outside work. “I can’t tell some weeds from regular plants, but I can grow some things! I already started growing peas, cucumber, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, strawberries, blueberries, and beans besides the flowerbed in my garden,” she happily claims. Safe to say that if she continues honing her gardening skills like she’s mastered payroll over the years, we’ll eventually be seeing some ‘extra’ fruits & veggies floating around the office for her colleagues to enjoy – – this writer calls dibs on the tomatoes!
Happy 30th anniversary Merian, continue to be awesome!