Johnson makes sure Bison football gear arrives at the game

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How did you get started transporting NDSU football team equipment?

Eighteen years ago I was approached by then assistant sporting director John Felver. … At that time, I was involved in Teammakers.
We were still in Division II and we played in a different conference… every game was drivable.
They asked me if I would ever be interested in eventually driving with the team to carry our gear to all of our away games.
I checked with my District Manager, he checked with the region and we got a one year approval… That’s kind of how it all started.

What makes you want to do this?

I played NDSU football from 1978 to 1980 and graduated from NDSU in 1981 and strongly believe that you should give back to your origin.
As a Teammaker… it’s just another way for me to help the Bison football team.
Everything I do for a living, including my job as an HR manager, gives me back. I believe that everything I do, the more you give, the more you get.
With the transition to Craig Bohl, then Gene Taylor came in and they went to Division I, they asked me if I would keep doing what I’m doing. I haven’t thought about it.

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What are the biggest challenges associated with transporting team equipment?

A lot of people don’t realize that setting up headsets is a huge process. We spend almost three hours on each game to make sure the headsets are tested, configured.
Most of the time we’ll be using cord which means we’re literally going to run 300 to 400 feet of high wire in the box across the field to the other side.
There is so much more to what we do than everyone thinks.

Do you transport the material with UPS trucks?

It depends on the trips we take.
When we play in South Dakota or Minnesota, we’ll use a UPS truck and I’ll drive it all the way, but on some trips that are too long to drive we’ll put it all on the plane.
We actually do three different ways to transport it: we will have it drive myself in the UPS truck, we will put it on the plane and then a truck will wait, or sometimes we will ask GMR Transportation to pull the 53ft trailer.

Does anyone else drive the games with you?

The only person who could drive with me was another UPS employee. Before, someone used to come with me, but over the years, due to time constraints and other commitments, it’s just me.
What are you doing to take care of yourself?
I drive carefully and stay awake. They don’t have a radio, so the trip can be long.

Do you work home games at all?

In fact, sometimes I take a UPS truck, pick up (the opponent’s equipment) from the airport to the dome and after the game go back to the airport.
It’s about showing everyone how we as Bison treat our opponents, everything is positive… This is our way of doing things.

What were the best experiences you had in this job?

It would have to be the last three years in terms of just being involved. Even if it had been once, it would have been the best experience to be involved in a national championship and what we do in Texas.

How long are you going to keep doing this?

I haven’t even thought about it, I will continue to do it as long as NDSU football allows it and as long as UPS allows it. I didn’t think about quitting.


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