The $1.1 billion air hub sprawls across the equivalent of more than 80 football fields, holds 17,000 conveyors that can handle 304,000 packages an hour, houses computers that process nearly 1 million transactions a minute, and serves as a linchpin for a $33 billion business that has become the world's largest package-delivery company.
At its operational heart is one woman: Jovita Carranza.
As vice president of UPS Air Operations in Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. Carranza is responsible for the day-to-day management of the 4-million-square-foot, state-of-the-art international package-processing facility known as UPS Worldport that is the centerpiece of UPS' global distribution network.
Far from her start with the company as a part-time, night-shift hub clerk in Los Angeles in 1976, Ms. Carranza – who was named to her current position a year ago this month and is the company's highest-ranking Hispanic female executive – now oversees more than half of UPS' 25,000 employees in Louisville and every aspect of the hub operation from technology, engineering and brokerage to ground support, human resources and security.
Ms. Carranza's corporate achievements, determination, drive, innovation and leadership in business have earned her selection as the 2nd annual recipient of Hispanic Business Magazine's Woman of the Year Award from among this year's roster of Top 25 Elite Women, reflecting the nation's most influential and accomplished Hispanic women in the business and entrepreneurial arenas.
More apt to focus on the accomplishments of her team at UPS than on her own achievements, Ms. Carranza, who grew up in Chicago's inner city in a first-generation Mexican-American family that did not speak English, credits her parents with inspiring her commitment and determination to overcome any obstacle and take every opportunity that came her way. "They weren't perfect, but they strived to improve every day," she says. "My father was not a corporate employee, but the level of responsibility that he did have he took very seriously."
And opportunities for responsibility quickly began to come Ms. Carranza's way after she joined UPS. While she initially viewed it as a job to help make ends meet as a single mother attending college, within four months she had been named to a supervisory position for the company's Metro Los Angeles hub operations and human resources.
"The one error that people make early on in their careers is that they're very selective about opportunities so they avoid some, prefer others," she says. "I always accepted all opportunities that presented themselves because from each one you can learn something, and they serve as a platform for future endeavors."
More opportunities, along with the company's team-driven and diverse corporate culture, convinced her to stay. UPS, which has more than 370,000 employees, champions teamwork, diversity and promoting from within. The company says minorities make up more than 33 percent of its 330,000 U.S. employees and hold more than 27 percent of the company's 50,000 U.S. executive positions.
As Ms. Carranza's career progressed, her responsibilities continued to broaden. By 1985, Ms. Carranza was the workforce planning manager in Metro LA. By 1987, she was district human resources manager based in Central Texas. By 1990 she had accepted a move to district human resources manager in Illinois. She received her first operations assignment, as division manager for hub, package and feeder operations, in Illinois in 1991. Two years later, she said yes to becoming district operations manager in Miami. In 1996, she accepted the same role in Wisconsin.
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