When GP comes to mind, people will likely think of the food and the Culinary Team that produces it, or the parties and the Sales Team that is at their helm. However, none of this food would be present nor would these parties come together if it weren't for our Warehouse Team. They're the crew that each member of the GP staff relies on to deliver all of their supplies - from the food to the serving vessels - to each event.
So, we caught up with the man that fuels GP's engine, Willie Carrasquillo, to see how its done on a day-to-day basis.
The Warehouse Team. (L->R) Chase Holmes, Otis Johnson, Gabby Limon, and Wilie Carrasquillo.
When did you start working at GP?
How did you come to work here?
My brother worked here as a driver, I was looking for a job and, luckily, GP needed someone else. I started as a dishwasher - for the first two weeks - and then I became the morning supervisor of the warehouse. I picked up the ins and outs of the warehouse really quickly.
How has your position changed over the years?
Even though my position title has been the same, Warehouse Supervisor, for 14 or 15 years, I have gained much more responsibility over the years.
Also, the team has grown a lot! When I first started, the Warehouse group was about 10 people and now it's 22.
[Insert Warehouse Team photo here.]
Describe a Work Day in the Life of Willie?
3:30 AM: I wake up.
4:30 am: I’m at GP and starting to load trucks with food and design equipment for parties.
8 am: Scheduling drivers to see which trucks they should drive and what events they should go to for the afternoon.
12 pm: Warehouse meeting: we address problems with deliveries within the past month and discuss solutions for fixing these problems.
2:00 pm: While packing trucks for afternoon delivery, I am also scheduling the deliveries and trucks for the next day.
4:30 pm: Go home to have dinner with my family.
With such an early start every morning, how do you keep from being tired all of the time?
Coffee [laughs]…and vitamins!
What are you favorite GP memories from all of the years you’ve worked here?
Helping after 9/11. Going down to the site, seeing all of the tragedy the day after, and then seeing everyone drop their normal routines to work together to help fellow New Yorkers was incredible. I was there delivering food (sandwiches, sodas, juices) for the rest of the year. I had a Red Cross badge so I was able to drive down to the site every morning. We worked a lot with the Red Cross Volunteers. It was a very sad experience at times but also very gratifying.
What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
I’m always learning more and meeting new people.
What has been the best GP food you’ve eaten?
I took my wife out to Dizzy's for our anniversary dinner and it was one of the best meals I've ever had. We were treated like royalty there; they gave us samples of almost everything on the menu!
What’s the hardest delivery you have to make?
Hardest delivery is World Trade Center because we have to go through X-Ray machines, each driver needs a NY State ID and we have to be there an hour in advance for security purposes.
How do you deal with NYC traffic? GP lives and dies by the truck being able to get to events!
NYC traffic is New York City [laughs]. The only way we fight it is by me checking what streets are closed and noting any traffic/accident updates so we can avoid those streets. Also the morning and night guys communicate with each other; they tell one another which areas to avoid due to traffic.
When the Pope was in the city and we were delivering near his location, we had to assign more people to each job because they needed to carry the goods being delivered from a few blocks away.
And the farther in advance we schedule, the better we are in terms of dealing with traffic!
What happens if an item is left behind?
If something is left for a party or it was never scheduled to be picked up, we piggyback that item so it is brought on a delivery truck that hasn’t left yet for another party. Or if anyone, like a planner or an assistant planner, is heading that way, they can take it up with them. It’s really a team effort.