Burris Blog

Promoting From Within: Two Longtime Team Members Become General Managers!

Our Burris PRW Plus Division is happy to announce TWO promotions of longtime team members to General Manager!

Both Leaders have been through our PGI (Professional Growth Initiative) process along with numerous years of hands on experience in the cold storage industry including several years with Burris.

Please join us in congratulating the promotion of Jim Nestle in Lakeland and James Wells in Haines City to General Manager.


Jim Nestle, General Manager of Burris Lakeland

Jim Nestle, General Manager of Burris Lakeland
Jim has been in the Cold Storage industry for 43 years, since 1973. He worked his way up through the ranks holding every position in the warehouse including forklift operator, lead, supervisor and Operation Manager for the past 17 years in Lakeland. He has attended WFLO, Burris University, HPWP, and the Leadership Class at UNF. Jim has continually demonstrated the Burris culture and believes that his team and customer service are the keys to success.

Jim has been married for 29 years to his wife Sandi. He has one grown son Garrett. In his spare time Jim likes to spend time with his family and enjoys sports.


James Wells, General Manager of Burris Haines City

James Wells, General Manager of Burris Haines City
James has been in warehousing for 35 years, the first 22 in the citrus industry. The last 13 years have been with Burris Logistics. He started with Burris in Orlando right after it first opened. There he worked his way up to Inventory Manager. When the opportunity to be the Operations Manager at Haines City opened up, he was selected for the job. Since then he has enjoyed working in Haines City and all the challenges it presents. James has attended WFLO, Burris University, Leadership Class at UNF and HPWP. He has been interim manager in the Haines City operation since Greg Ross transferred to Federalsburg.

James was born in San Diego, California. He has a wonderful girlfriend, Mary, a marriage is in the works but no date has been set yet. He has three grown daughters that he raised by myself. In his spare time you’ll usually find him at a lake fishing for Largemouth Bass, or rooting for one of the San Diego sports teams, Go Padres!

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10 Years, 3 Locations And A Ton Of Burris Success. Here’s Jamel Gore’s Story…

Meet Jamel Gore. What a stand out team member. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us!

“The nicknames I’ve gone by are all different in every warehouse, but the name on my Burris ID has never changed.  My full name is Jamel Jaquan Gore and I am the Burris Success Story.

Jamel Gore Burris Logistics
My story takes place about ten years ago in Bear, DE when I bought my first car.  I found a Burris application in my glove box. I was 18 at the time and was ready to leave my current job, but had no clue where to go or what to do.  So one day I filled out the application booklet and turned it in at the Burris New Castle location. I was hired within a week and was off to work at the Elkton, MD location.

In Elkton, I started off as an order selector with no experience on top of having no idea what a pallet jack, hi-lo, cherry picker, or a dockstocker looked like. Fast forward five years, I had become well rounded within Elkton.  As a selector, I could operate a double pallet jack, triple pallet jack, sit-down forklift, hi-lo (reach truck/stand-up forklift), cherry picker (order picker) and a dockstocker. I was also a trainer for the new hires in shipping, part-time receiving and a lumper on Fridays.  The biggest part of my growth within that 5 year time was learning about Burris and how every department was vital to the success of the company.  While in Elkton, I had to grow a lot. On my journey, I had a lot of great mentors -John T., Steve(Stephen) C., Reggie T., Kyle K., John G., and Corey S. just to name a few.

Fast forward 3 years later.  I continued to grow but in a new Burris location.  I transferred to Burris Orlando and worked as a selector for two accounts. I also worked in Sanitation, Inventory, and for the hiring team.  The Orlando Burris family took me in and enhanced my growth and confidence with their support and love while I was 900 miles away from my family.

Today, I am the Sanitation Supervisor and have a new family in Burris Atlanta.  While under the leadership of my now friends, brothers, and mentors Victor Smith Sr. and Dallas Brown, I have 16 certification and a team that supports my vision.For everyone looking to move up in Burris and in life, keep aiming and striving to achieve your goals and never be afraid to fall.  That’s the way to see true growth.”



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Team Member Success Story – Bryant Chouinard, Burris Rocky Hill


We have another awesome Burris Team Member Success Story for you! This month we would like to feature Burris Logistics Rocky Hill Team Member, Bryant Chouinard.


When were you hired and what was your first position with Burris? I started working for Burris on April 26, 2010 as a frozen checker.

Why or how did you come to join the Burris team? When I graduated from college I was looking for a job to start paying my loans and I came across Burris. I had always worked in a warehouse and thought this would be a good opportunity to learn some new things and apply what I had already learned to the company.

What other jobs have you held here at Burris? How did you learn about and become interested in your career path with the company? I’ve done just about everything here- checker, then selector, then inventory control, then loader, then trainer, then checker lead, and finally my current position as PM receiving supervisor. When I had my initial interview with the company I was asked where I see myself in 5 years and I replied “In management at Burris.” I took basically a path that would help me understand the business as a whole. Working in inventory, shipping, and receiving has allowed me to make better decisions and to also understand why some things happen and what we can do to correct them. 

What did you learn that helped you to grow? Was there anyone who was a mentor to you? One thing I learned that helped me to grow as a leader was when an issue came up rather than trying to attack it and fix it on the spot, I learned to step back and look at the situation as a whole. This allowed me to make better decisions and taught me to be more patient. Chris Costa has been a mentor to be for years. I worked with him for a while and he’s the one who taught me this. Costa has helped me with advice and problems both inside of work, as well as outside of work.

What advice do you have for fellow Burris team members on career opportunities at Burris? As for advice I would tell people just because you start at the bottom doesn’t mean you can’t make it to the top. Constantly challenge yourself and take on additional responsibilities, and when you come out on top of it, it doesn’t go unrecognized here. Job interviews also helped me out a lot. I met a lot of management that I never got to meet before, as well as they got to meet me.

What do you like about the positions you’ve held at Burris?  What I like about the positions I’ve held at Burris is that I’ve gained so much knowledge about how the company works and why they do what they do. Also, I like how there is always something to learn and the fact that there is always room to grow in the company from position to position.

I would like to add that HPWP has also helped me grow as an individual and that it will further help me with my career at Burris.

Thanks for sharing your success story with us Bryant!

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What’s New At Burris Logistics This Fall

With so many great events happening, we have had a hard time keeping up with them on our blog! Here are handful of our most recent news stories.  Enjoy!

Penn State Career Fair!

Members of our team were trilled to once again be at the Smeal College of Business Supply Chain Career Fair. This semester’s fair was held on September ​9 & 10 and there were over 500 students in attendance from sophomore year through MBA. There were four Burris team members there: Tim Peifley, General Manager of Burris Logistics in Elkton, MD; Lisa Pearson, Talent Acquisition Specialist; Heather Grubbe, Training & Development Specialist; and Megan Howard, Team Member Relations Specialist. We had the chance to talk to many students and conducted interviews with possible candidates during our time there. We received feedback from several students who had mentioned that their professors had recommended Burris based on the positive experiences they have heard from our past interns. Congratulations to Penn State’s Supply Chain undergraduate education program which was recently ranked No. 1 by Gartner, Inc!

PSU Career Fair 2

The Ride Along Experience – A Fresh Perspective From a Burris Team Member!

When the Burris ride-along experience started, I was quite eager to sign up. As a kid I always wanted to take a ride in a tractor trailer, so getting a chance to do that was more than enough reason to add my name to the list. More importantly, I finally had a chance to see one of our customers stores. After spending two years with Burris, I thought it was about time to see our customer up-close and personal, the same way they saw our facility two weeks prior to my ride.

It was an early start for me on Saturday the 13th , as I had to meet up with Adam Banks to depart New Castle by 5am. Our destination was one of our customer’s stores located in Glen Mills, MD, about twenty miles up RT202. Before we could head out, Adam needed to put together the paperwork required for the trip, as well as inspecting both the truck and our trailer. After everything checked out, we were free to hit the open road! Driving up I95 and RT202 had been nothing new to me, but sitting five feet higher and hauling a 40+ foot trailer certainly was. For the duration of the trip, Adam and I discussed the ins-and outs of being a driver and his own adventures throughout his driving career.

As we arrived at our destination, Adam skillfully backed the trailer into an open door (first try, of course) and reviewed his paperwork before we exited the truck. Seeing as how we showed up a little early, we weren’t expecting anyone to answer the door right away. But luck seemed to be on our side as not a moment went by before someone let us in.

Immediately after walking inside I noticed how small the store’s dock was, and I thought about how careful and meticulous our customers employees have to be in order to correctly and safely break down the pallets we deliver, all while swiftly getting product to their shelves.

Adam and I worked together pulling each pallet off the trailer and safely avoiding any product already sitting on the dock floor. I even had the honor of pulling some pallets off (all heavier than Adam’s) and dropping them in the necessary areas. Once the manager checked each pallet for any concerning issues, he signed our paperwork, wished us well and sent us on our way.

The whole process went as smooth as we had hoped! I came back with a lot of knowledge on the responsibilities a driver has, from the safe driving on their route to ensuring the right product is delivered to our customer, on time and undamaged. It was a very interesting and eye-opening experience to see and be a part of the last step in our shipping process. I absolutely encourage anyone and everyone to sign up for the ride-along program while it lasts, because knowing the ins-and-outs of the Burris operation is what puts us above the rest!

– Curtis Williamson, Inventory Control, Burris Logistics New Castle

Leroy “Mike” Graham Retires After 40 Years With Burris Harrington

September 12, 2014
Harrington is at once delighted and disheartened to announce the retirement of long time Burris team member, Leroy “Mike” Graham. This month marks 40 years Mike has dedicated to the company, beginning his career in September 1974 alongside many fellow 40 year Burris veterans.

Whether he had a joke, book or just a smile to share, Mike brought much joy to the workplace. Mike has worn many hats throughout his tenure here, spending the last several years in our damage control department. We are indebted to Mike’s contributions and willingness to take on any task. He takes with him 40 years of valuable knowledge and experience.

We honored his devotion not only as a team member, but as a friend, Friday, September 12, 2014 in a luncheon filled with good food, company, memories, laughs and bittersweet tears. Mike’s wife Louise, longtime co-workers and friends Gary Walstead, Ed Melvin, Horace Dudley and Bill Adkins stopped in along with several Harrington team members to bid Mike farewell.

I leave you with a quote from Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, written by James Patterson, one of Mike’s favorite authors:
“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

Burris Logistics Attends Global Conference for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Burris attended the Global Conference for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) this past week, September 21-24. Burris is a corporate member of CSCMP. This year the conference was held in San Antonio, Texas and over 3,000 supply chain professionals were in attendance. Representing Burris was John Haggerty, Brian Haley, John Texeira, Mike Bargmann, Heather Grubbe, and Megan Howard.

From the keynote speakers to professionals leading the break-out sessions, there were so many opportunities to learn and connect with others. Heather and Megan participated in the Student Recruitment Day meeting many of our future supply chain leaders! We made some great connections with students as well as educators.

Our last key note speaker was a comedian, Judy Carter, who encouraged us all to create “the message of you.” Rather than letting our situations get us down, we can use it to create our message and serve out our life purpose. She also felt that supply chain is an industry that doesn’t get enough appreciation so she wrote us our own rap song. One of the lines of her rap was “I say this without hesitation, treat us with appreciation. We’re the supply chain association!” Thank you to all our team members who Make It Happen on a daily basis!

Burris Elkton Reaches Their Safety Milestone!

On September 17th, the Burris Elkton warehouse reached 90 days accident free! They are very excited about their accomplishment and enjoyed a luncheon and two cruise drawings to celebrate.

This is Elkton’s first time being able to meet the eligibility requirements to be eligible for the cruise drawing! They are so proud of their team and they hope to be eligible within the next 86 days for another drawing.

Pictured on the left is Constance Johns, Safety Manager, middle is Vicki Alexander (Quality Assurance Lead and winner!), Frank Ahern, and Tim Peifley. Vicki began her Burris Elkton career in May of 2006 as a member of our Quality Assurance Checking Team. She was promoted in 2012 to a Lead Checker.

Pictured on the right is Damon Portlock, the winner of the second cruise.  Damon has been with us since starting as a PM Receiving Team Member in June of 2010.



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Burris Locations Cool Off With The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

When there is an opportunity to help others while having fun, our team is there! A handful of our locations have decided to join in on this summer’s newest trend – the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Our teams have added their own twists to the challenge but the purpose is still the same – to raise money and donate to charitable causes while having a little fun cooling off in the hot summer heat.

Interesting Facts about ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge:

According to the New York Times, “ALS affects about 30,000 Americans. It is a disease which attacks nerve cells and ultimately leads to total paralysis, though the mind remains sharp. Life expectancy is typically two to five years from the time of diagnosis. The exact cause is not understood and there is no cure or treatment that stops or reverses the disease. The ALS Association said that it had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until Aug. 21.  In addition, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised awareness of the disease, which the A.L.S. Association said only half of Americans were aware of about a month ago.”

Enjoy the photos and videos!

Burris Elkton

A few of our management team at Burris Elkton accepted the challenge from our friends at BJ’s. Here are a few fun pictures of team accepting the challenge!

Other members of our Elkton team wanted to get in on the fun and raise money too so they did the challenge a few more times.

Burris New Castle

Our New Castle location celebrated their second year as a Custom Facility on 8/20/2014 with a BBQ.  Along with the celebration, the team decided to raise money for their favorite charity, The Ronald McDonald House, by doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Each team member paid $5.00 to have the opportunity to challenge someone.  If the person they challenged declined, that person had to pay $5.00. However, our managers decided that some of their team members work in an environment that really is not conducive to being wet and therefore, for each $5.00 a team member donated, they could challenge a member of the management team and then would be able to dump the tub of ice water on them!  Needless to say this went over exceptionally well.

A very special “thank you” to our entire management team for being good sports in the name of charity. These individuals were challenged from 3 tubs to 6 tubs at a time. We conducted the ice bucket challenge at three different times throughout the course of the day,  9:45 AM, 12:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. This meant that each manager stood there and had however many tubs dumped on them individually.

The best part was that they raised $600 for their charity!

Here are a list of managers and the number of tubs they had dumped on them throughout the course of the day…

Kelly Blackburn – 3+ times
Brian Kiliany (BK) – 6+ times
Chris Robbins – 6+ times
Kevin Powers – 3+ times
John Goetze – 6+ times
Jim Bertuola – 3+ times

Also, they would like to acknowledge and send a special “thank you” to a few team members:

  • Megan Tarpley, Shipping Clerk for New Castle was challenged 4+times, and accepted. GREAT JOB!
  • John Syva, John Goetze, Kevin Powers, Chris Robbins, and Brian Kiliany for their help cooking
  • Kelly Blackburn, Anna May Ottinger for prepping
  • Billy Williams, Randy Marvel for filling up water bottles, and gathering ice bags during the challenges
  • Keya Al-Amin for putting the video collages to together so we could share them with everyone

Everyone of the New Castle team members participated in one way or another and they were proud to celebrated their second anniversary raising money and bonding as a team!

Burris Orlando

Our Orlando team decided to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to the next level with a pool of ice water!

In addition to enjoying the water time, they also made a donation to Team Gleason (www.teamgleason.org) to support those fighting ALS.

Burris Atlanta

Last week, you may remember that Burris New Castle challenged their sister warehouse, Burris Atlanta to follow in their lead of doing the popular ice bucket challenge.  Burris Atlanta happily accepted on Monday and they made sure to have a video camera on hand to capture all the action! I think Onnie Robinson wins the award for slowest pour!

The team had a great time raising money for a good cause 🙂


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