On exactly the 46th anniversary of Ronald (Ron) Wallin’s hiring at Alaska Airlines, he officially became a Legend of Customer Service, the airline’s highest employee honor. Wallin was among 15 award recipients at the April 30 ceremony in Seattle that celebrated the 2019 Legends class.
According to the co-workers who know him best, however, this Ramp Service Agent who works in the Air Cargo Warehouse in Seattle achieved legendary status long ago—for his dependability, watchful commitment to safety on the job and willingness to lend a hand.
“I started working with Ron in 1977 in Ketchikan, and I’ve known him for 55-plus years,” says Larry Tinney, a Lead Ramp Service Agent who still works with Wallin, now in Seattle. “Ron has always been a positive and helpful person who works well above any standards.”
Born and raised in Ketchikan, Wallin hired on with the airline as a ramp agent in his hometown. He and his wife moved to Seattle in 1985, after their children finished high school.
Wallin, who has had different roles on the ramps in his career, now works as an early-morning runner for priority packages shipped via Alaska’s GoldStreak service. He ensures that packages are assigned to the correct flights and then rushes them from the warehouse to planes, ensuring there is time to load them.
Over the years, Wallin has handled a variety of intriguing incoming and outgoing cargo, including medical shipments—even transplant organs—that must be kept cold. He has also enjoyed participating in the airline’s annual rush shipment of the first Copper River salmon to Seattle. It reminds him of his Alaska roots.
Whatever cargo Wallin is in charge of, customers can be sure it is handled with care.
“It’s all about service,” he says. “When I want something delivered to me, I want it to arrive as soon as it can, safely. I want the same for our customers.”
Questions & answers
What’s the best thing about your job?
It has always been the people I work with. I also like doing something physical. I go to work, and I get a workout. I enjoy that.
What advice do you have for new hires?
You just have to execute on your job. That is what we always try to do.
Where do you like to travel?
Pretty much all my wife and I do now is try to spend as much time as we can with our grandkids. They are in Kansas City now, but they have moved around a bit. Visiting them has been a great way to see different parts of the country.
What do you pack on trips?
We take very little. We like going to warm places, so we bring gear for warm weather.
What should people know about you?
I’m an early riser. I work from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m., and I love the morning shift.
Kudos from Ron’s co-workers
“Ron is a Legend in my book because he leads by example. He comes to work every single day, does his job, does it really well, is always in a good mood and never calls in sick.”—Scott H., Air Freight Cargo Operations, Seattle
“Ron knows how important it is to our customers that they receive their cargo in a timely manner. He goes above and beyond to ensure that their shipments are on the flights, as expected.”—Mary Q., General Manager, Cargo, Seattle
“If you need help, Ron steps in and helps out. And he always has a good story to give you a laugh. Also, Ron always shares his cookies!”—Kim B., Supervisor, Cargo Operations, Seattle
“Ron always shows up for work with a smile on his face. He genuinely cares about the things that we ship. I love coming to work every day and working with him.”—Helene R., Lead Customer Service Agent, Air Freight Cargo Operations, Seattle
Alaska Airlines employees such as Ron Wallin are the reason for our service excellence. Join us in creating an airline people love. Visit careers.alaskaair.com.