Getting To Know: Heather Watson

Getting To Know: Heather Watson

Heath Watson
Heather Watson in front of Mercer garden

If you've ever had to call in to our Imaging Department you may have spoken with Heather Watson. She started with us back in September of 98 and other than one six month period she's been in the Imaging Department the entire time. We asked Heather if she had any tips for our Owner Operators on how to make sure that their paperwork gets processed properly. "Light," Heather says in her soft spoken way, "the more light the better, and not with a flash." Following up with that we ask about how long it takes to get paperwork. "The mobile app sends paperwork in batches once an hour. If an owner operator sends it right before the batch gets sent it may only be a few minutes, but if the owner operator sends it right after a batch is sent, it can take about an hour."

Greener Spaces

You may remember a few weeks ago when we spoke with Tom Pifer about the Mercer Campus. During that interview we talked with him about greener spaces. One of the spaces that Tom worked was a garden that he and Heather collaborated on. Tom brought over some old tool boxes filled with dirt, and set aside a giant reservoir for water. After that she was able to fill the re-purposed tool boxes with many different plants and vegetables.

Growing Results


So how are things going with the garden? Well Heather is currently growing banana peppers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, and even zucchinis, just to name a few. The banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers have already grown enough produce to be harvested once already. Heather also shared a little secret for getting the blueberries to grow. She adds a little mixture of water and vinegar to the soil around the blueberries.

So just remember if you call into our Imaging Department and get Heather on the phone. You may just want to ask her how the garden is doing.

Tips for Sending in Paperwork

  1. Make sure your document is well lit.
  2. Make sure you put your order and unit number on every document you send in.
  3. Documents come in in batches once an hour.

Getting To Know: Tom Pifer

Who is Tom Pifer?

Tom smiling.
Tom with Mercer Sign

You may have seen Tom around Mercer and not even realized it. He’s the guy wearing the boonie hat, walking around outside, checking things out, always on the move from one project to the next. Tom is one of those guys that is just easy to talk to and ask questions. Although much like some wise character from a movie, he might just answer your question with a question. He’s Mercer’s Facilities Manager and he’s kind of awesome. Tom joined us back in April of 2014 right after the Mid America Truck Show, with his first task being, how do we make Mercer’s booth more inviting to drivers. If you’ve been by our booth in the last few years you’ve seen some of the changes Tom came up with. An inviting diner like atmosphere that draws both current and prospective drivers to come by, have a seat, and visit with us. Since then he’s been working with management all over campus to update our workspaces.

Changing Workspaces

One of the bigger remodels to campus was the work area for the coordinators. Tom worked with Dale Corum and the Truck Ops managers on what they wanted the new space to accomplish. “With more opportunity to learn, better tools, and an environment that reinforces exposure to all those opportunities, if somebody wants to succeed they’re going to have the opportunity,” explained Tom. To do this Tom, his crew, and some fine people from Ron Metts Construction, created workspaces that were uniform and had defined space but were still open enough to encourage communication between coordinators. That way newer coordinators could learn for more tenured coordinators, and vice versa.

Form and Function

When talking with Tom you realize he never rushes into a decision, every choice is made after careful thought and planning. Lots of the design choices serving multiple purposes. Tom and Dale Corum talked about making the outside of Mercer match how great the inside was, and help make Mercer part of the Louisville landscape. With that goal in mind Tom looked into updating our lots and buildings. Somethings were as simple as a fresh coat of paint, but for our security Tom wanted to not only keep us compliant, but also make the place more welcoming. Tom talks about “soft edges” and “hard edges.” “Could we make fences, not just barriers, but beautiful spaces, soft edges,” he asks. If you’ve been by lately you know the answer is yes. Tom had them bring the fence around Building 8 in, creating an area to plant trees providing a more welcoming look. There’s also the new sign right there on the corner of 12th and Main letting new recruits know that they’ve not only arrived at Mercer, but hopefully feel welcome as well.

What’s going on with the Atkins lot?

Some of you may or may not know that Mercer recently acquired the Atkin’s Lot next door. Those of you who ran UPS last year may remember parking your trailer there. So Tom plans on using the space similarly in the future with parking for around 200 trailers when the need arises. There will also be offices in the main building although which departments will be in there has yet to be decided.

The Future

Of course Tom is always working, and here soon all of the lots will have new uniform signage not only on our gates but our buildings as well. So that drivers and employees can better navigate our campus. We asked Tom about what the end goal was, Tom didn’t really see it in that way, “I don’t really believe in ends, mostly transitions.” In Tom’s view, there will always be change on the horizon, either in up keeping facilities, or redesigning them to meet future needs. We look forward to seeing what Tom has in store for us.

Getting to Know: Len Dunman

Len Dunman Mercer's Safety Director

Safety Directors can be scary, but here at Mercer we’re lucky. Our Safety Director Len Dunman is a pretty cool guy. He’s been working with us since 1982 in various departments, he’s figuratively and literally shaped the face of Mercer.

Len wasn’t new to the transportation industry when he started with us back in '82. He’d already worked at the Taylor Motor Company, and he has over the road experience. He tells us about how he used to haul cotton seed, “I ran cotton seed from Paris and McKenzie, TN to West Memphis… The driving was cool, but you had to climb up in the bin and load the stuff yourself. It was dirty and dusty. It has to be tarped because it gets very heavy if the load gets wet,” with a wry smile he adds, “ask me how I know that.”

He talks with us about how there is always common ground no matter which side of the desk you’re sitting on. He gets where drivers are coming from because he’s been there. “[I] know what it feels like to start over with nearly nothing. I know what it is like to work 2 jobs for 24 years.”

Len Dunman Car Enthusiast

If you’ve never been by Len's Office, don’t be afraid to at least stop by and see it next time you’re in town. He's a man fascinated by anything on wheels. The windows all have shelves, and each shelf is filled with die-cast cars, trucks, semi-trucks, and trains. It’s an impressive collection.

We ask Len to take his Ford Fairlane 500 out to the new Atkin’s lot so we can take some photos. He poses proudly with the car. We ask him about it and he tells the car’s history. His grandfather E.M. Moody was the first owner and he special ordered it back in ’65. It was passed to Len back in 2000 by his late Grandmother. It’s a real beauty to look at as we search for the best angle to snap some photos. He continues, “My father and I were the only people to ever work on it. The only thing Len and his father didn’t work on were the pipes and the paint, with the paint work being done by Mike Fagan (3324).”

“I do a few cruise ins in Louisville and LaGrange when I have time… [I] take off time each year to hang out with my old high school buddies and my sons at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville the first weekend of August. And yes, I keep a picture of E.M. Moody in the car. I think he approves.”

Before we finish the interview we ask him what his favorite part of the job is. ‘The best part of my job today is getting to go out and do field inspections. I love talking about trucks with our drivers, it gets me back to my roots. I wish I had more time to do that.”