While you’re asleep, Kenneth Canada is making sure your FedEx packages arrive on time

"I can’t even imagine working a daytime job. I don’t think my body would let me."

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After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

Kenneth Canada

51, flight operations manager, FedEx, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Kenneth Canada wakes up when most people are eating lunch and starts his day with a workout at the gym or on the Silver Comet Trail. By night, the veteran oversees FedEx packages at the airport.

Oddly enough, much of my 26 years in the Air Force was on the night shift, and I’ve also worked the night shift here at FedEx, all 25 years. I’ve never really had a daytime job. And I prefer it that way. I’ve never had an alarm clock. I get up when I want to get up. I’m not real big on coffee. I’ve always been kind of a fitness buff, so no real issues energy-wise.

My workday normally starts around 1 or 2 p.m. and goes to around 2:00 to 2:30 a.m. I check with agents, check that the weather and equipment are good and the aircraft are ready to go. I check in with our station counterparts to make sure everything is functioning well. We make sure all our i’s are dotted, our t’s crossed. A lot of it’s conference calls, a lot of meetings in the wee hours. It’s an all-day event, and once it starts, it just goes. We have flights that go to Memphis, to Indianapolis, to Newark. And once they make our Memphis hub flight, they connect to everywhere in the world.

After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

After Dark Atlantans: Kenneth Canada

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

Most cities sort of fall and slow down after dark. Atlanta wakes up, from the entertainment districts, the concerts, the restaurants, the four professional sports teams. Most of that traffic comes through the airport. It doesn’t go to sleep. It’s buzzing.

For me, it’s about a 25-minute commute home. Traffic is not an issue, but it’s scary sometimes. The nightlife of Atlanta can go a little crazy. You have to be careful. A lot of bars are closing up around that time. You have to drive defensively. But downtown traffic in the afternoons—it can be a beast. Not having to deal with that at night, it’s a good thing.

I can’t even imagine working a daytime job. I don’t think my body would let me. —As told to Josh Green

This article appears in our September 2019 issue.

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