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FedEx StartUp Timeline


last update 7/21/13



1962-66 FWS attends Yale University  
1965 FWS writes term paper at Yale on a future hub & spokes small package airline. Supposedly gets a "C"; professor believes that airline regulation would be too difficult to overcome to be successful  
1966-69 FWS serves in U.S. Marines, completing two tours in Vietnam  
1969 FWS purchases controlling interest in Ark Aviation Sales from his Stepfather(AF Col Fred Hook), primarily selling executive corporate jets  



June 18, 1971 Federal Express is incorporated in Delaware  
Dec '71 FWS engages AT Kearney for a study in feasibility of starting new airline. Roger Frock leads effort. Completed in April, 72  
  FWS in parallel engages Advanced Planning Group using Art Bass and Vince Fagan to do another study.  
May 12, 1972

Roger Frock joins company as COO. Starting salary is $36,000. FWS salary is $35,000

1972 The company is awarded contracts to fly USPS mail ($300K per month)  

Joining FedExpress: Mike Basch, John Tucker Morse, Norm Timper, Leon Tyree, Art Bass, Wes Terry, Ted Weise

1972 Mike Basch/Federal Express approaches UPS with the idea of UPS being the ground delivery network for express packages. UPS turns down offer.  
1972 Ned Cook(MEM Airport Board) offers FWS 3 Hangers, acres of ramp space and 20 year bond financing for a sort facility. Decision is made to start operations out of Memphis. Leon Tyree & Wes Terry hired.
January-March 1973 Ted Weise is assigned to bring up sort hub in Memphis Tom Bullion hired.
1973 FedEx searches for a firm to create a logo for the new company. The minimum is $100K from New York firms. Rick Runyon from LA, flew a Cessna 310 to Little Rock to meet with FWS and offered to do a logo for $25K, and will only charge for it, if Federal picks his design. FWS accepted his offer.
Mar 12, 1973 Pre-Launch 6 pkgs first night  
  FedExpress shuts down own flights; uses airlines; Charlie Brandon leads Ops Research effort to revamp network and a 25 city plan developed within 30 days.  
April 17, 1973 Official Launch date; 186 packages first night May -473 pkgs; July 1000 pkgs/night
  Federal Express Corporation consists of 389 employees, 14 Dassault Falcons & serves 25 cities.  
  Ted Sartoian is brought out of UPS retirement to lead sales efforts.  
Dec 1973 Bonus checks to all employees $15-$100 FWS included note with bonus: "Rome wasn't built in a day. Possibly it could have been if Federal Express employees were in charge."
Jan 1, 1974 Wage increase Chuck Graham hired.
1974 Charlie Brandon SVP of IT; hires Ron Ponder to head Ops Research; Joe Hinson is hired in 1975  
1975 FedEx starts deploying Drop Boxes  
Sep 26, 1975 Federal Express applies to FAA to fly larger aircraft.  
Nov 9, 1977 Bill is approved and signed. Buddy Johnson hired.
Dec 1977 FedEx orders 727's  
1977 or 1978 Purchase of Cook IT shop and IBM mainframe, starts the conversion from Burroughs to IBM. About 50 employees or former Cook employees came to FedEx in 1977+; Jim Moore hired.

'Project Sydney' prototyped on Burroughs 6700 to centralize customer calls and dispatch to local stations for pickup. Precursor to COSMOS

Required Telecom to route local city customer calls to a remote call center(using FX circuits) & starting the use of Rockwell ACD's(Automatic Call Distributors)

Kathy Crockett is over the Memphis Call Center.

August 1978 COS development facility opened on Janitel Road under Howie Bedford who reported to Charlie Brandon. Cheryl Bowen, Jim Tollefson, Bob Higgins, Dave Dalton and others hired in COS
    Ancel Hankins, Terry Cox hired in '78
1979 Jim Barksdale moves from Cook as successor to Charlie Brandon as SVP of IT. JimB manages Data Systems consisting of Computer Operations, COS Development, Memphis Development & Telcom reporting to him. John Schwarzmann hired to head Telcom Engineering.
1978-1979 COSMOS launches on IBM, running ACP (Airline Control Program) Winn Stephenson hired in '79


March 1980 FedEx starts deploying the DC-10; first is route between Memphis and Newark in March.  




DADS launches in Memphis & Chicago automating electronic dispatching from COSMOS to computer terminals in the VANS over the FedEX private radio network.

Jim Moore, Richard Dunn build Private Radio Network. Jimmy Burk & Jim Bentley write DADS/DEC software.

Jimmy Burk hired, Randy Roy



COSMOS IIa (scanning of packages) launches in the Hub and stations, scanning all packages in and out of those facilities. Dave Dalton coordinates project. Winn Stephenson & Les Wilcox write ICD collector on IBM 3705

First tracking of packages by bar code in transportation industry. FedEx announces they can tell you within 30 minutes, where your package is.



1981 SuperHub launches capable of 400K pkgs per night; quickly expands to 1M per night.

Mike Basch in charge of bringing up SuperHub



First Automation Device deployed.

Apple II with floppy disks & TI 810 printer. For volume customers who did not want to fill out airbills plus their own labels.

Chuck Deiotte, Mark Ramsey, Lydle Simpson develop 1st automation device. Followed by Epson meter, then Vector Computer, NEC and then IBM compatible computers.
1982 An automated drop box prototype is developed with card reader, voice output, printer, phone and tested. Results are that customers that use the drop box, are on their way home, and just want to drop it off without doing anything.  
1983 Federal Express becomes the first corporation to achieve $1Billion in revenues without doing an acquisition or merger.  
1989 Federal Express purchases Flying Tigers.