Shane Brown: Master of Operations & Bead Art

February 27, 2023

Van Kam Freightways’ Afternoon Operations Supervisor, Shane Brown, has many talents. Not only does he supervise a team of 20-30 people on our afternoon shift, but he’s also a skilled bead artist who creates intricate pieces inspired by comic books, movies, video games and pop culture.

From Tourism to Trucking

Before joining Van Kam, Shane worked in tourism. “I worked in tourism for ten years before this, which was all suits and ties, and everyone is shaking hands and smiling, so you can imagine the dramatic shift I went through,” he says.

Despite having little experience in cross-dock freight movement, Shane quickly learned the ropes. “Van Kam is extremely fast-paced with keen attention to detail. If you don’t know how to plan properly, you might struggle because everything relies on you having a good idea of what you’re doing every minute of every step of every day,” he says further.

However, Shane’s background in managing both small and large operations made him a perfect fit for Van Kam. “I had run both a small and a large operation before, for example; Canada Post, where I managed an operation with a thousand employees. I’ve been running a small operation for the last ten years, I wanted to switch back to a larger one. Van Kam fit the bill and provided the challenge that I craved,” he explains.

Beadmaking Artist

Shane’s love for comic books, movies, and superheroes inspired him to try bead art, and most of his pieces are based on comic book characters. “I’ve always been a nerd and loved comic books, movies, and superheroes. One day, my wife showed me a picture of one small bead art, and I thought, well, maybe I could do that,” he recalls. “After that day, I bought a little kit, a couple of boards, and a bucket of beads, and I just started building. Started with smaller pieces and gradually progressed to bigger stuff,” he adds.

When asked about his favourite superheroes, Shane says, “I’ve always been a fan of X-Men and Superman. They were my go-to heroes growing up, so much of my bead art is based on them. I love the vibrant colours and intricate details of their costumes.”

Shane’s Art: A Hit with Everyone

Shane has been making bead art for a decade now. His most memorable highlight is his ongoing relationship with the Vancouver restaurant, MeeT on Main. He praises the restaurant’s unwavering support for local artists, saying, “They give you their entire restaurant, and you can put your art on their walls, and for 3 years in a row, I’ve been putting up my pieces.”

Shane’s art pieces are displayed on the wall of MeeT on Main restaurant, Vancouver, BC.

Shane’s art pieces at MeeT on Main have been a hit with customers, selling thousands of them since the relationship began. The placement of his art lasts for an entire month, giving his work an extended exposure period. 

Shane’s bead art has also made its way to various shows like Comic-Con in Calgary and Vancouver, and several game expos. He’s also had the opportunity to meet various celebrities such as Jason Momoa and Lou Ferrigno. “My wife is a huge fan of Lou, so meeting him was a big deal, and we gave him an incredible bead poster of Hulk’s face. He loved it and even gave us a shout-out on social media,” he shares.

Shane with a bead art portrait of Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson (left) and Shane with his wife, Carla, presenting Lou Ferrigno a bead art portrait of The Hulk.

Balancing Work and Art

Van Kam Freightways is committed to promoting work-life balance for our employees. We believe that supporting personal interests outside of work is essential to creating a productive and fulfilled workforce, and Shane is proof. According to Shane, he has been able to maintain a healthy work-life balance since joining Van Kam. “My schedule allows me to spend time with my wife and kids during the day, and I dedicate some time every day to making pieces,” he says.

Shane’s art-making routine typically involves spending 2-3 hours daily on his creations. “When I make small pieces, I spend between 15-30 minutes, but the bigger stuff takes longer, between 30-40 hours,” he shares. With Van Kam’s support, Shane can pursue his passion for art while maintaining a successful career in the transportation industry.

Here for the Challenge

Shane truly enjoys working at Van Kam and loves the challenge of the job. He says he finds the opportunity to make positive changes within the company to be very rewarding. “When I first started, we had to do a big shake-up across the entire dock to encourage seamless teamwork amongst the dock crew. It was a challenge because I was new and I had to earn my team’s trust. But now, over a year later, the team is doing much better because of the switch up, and everyone understands and performs their duties as expected,” he shares.

“I also love the fact that every day is always going to be different. You never walk in to see the same thing. Every day brings a new challenge,” he concludes.

Van Kam Freightways is lucky to have an employee like Shane who is dedicated to his work, and also brings a unique and creative aspect to the workplace. Keep it going, Rockstar!

Fun fact: Shane also has one of the largest followings on Instagram for this genre of art. Check out his bead art pieces on social media:

Instagram – @perlerking604

Facebook – Carla’s Creations Vancouver

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