New Orleans courier company's St. Augustine High School connection
QCS Logistics transitioned to a second-generation, family-owned business when chairman and CEO Ronald V. Burns, Sr., passed the title of President of QCS Logistics to his son Jason G. Burns, Sr., in May 2017. While many family businesses are known for being close-knit with strong ties to the community, QCS has another ace up its sleeve: the St. Augustine Purple Knights.
Both Ronnie and Jason Burns are alumni of the iconic New Orleans Catholic high school, as are several other members of QCS Logistics' management team. In 2002, the year he graduated, Jason received the school's highest honor, the Purple Knight Award, which is given to the best all-around student, after he served as student body president and captain of the football team.
Among the Purple Knights on the QCS team are Brandon Smith ('01), a project manager who oversees QCS Logistics' medical courier business segment and a fellow Purple Knight Award winner in 2001, and Lavale Washington ('02), QCS project manager for its daily refrigerated delivery service to more than 40 RaceTrac convenience stores. Both Smith and Washington played on the school's football team with Jason, along with Akieem Jolla ('02), who works in QCS Logistics warehouse, and Ken Sabathia ('01), a QCS driver. Other St. Augustine alumni are Warmoth Guillaume ('74), QCS Logistics chief operating officer/partner, Ronald "Vinnie" Burns, Jr., partner ('00) and David Domingue ('85), recently promoted to QCS general manager.
Jason credits the discipline, camaraderie and brotherhood instilled at St. Augustine as attributes that benefit the New Orleans courier company. The Purple Knights' code commits students to the virtues of respect, loyalty, honesty, chivalry and sense of community.
"In addition to our shared virtues, each of our Purple Knight employees and independent contract drivers brings a level of dedication and commitment to excellence that has proven to be an asset to our organization," Jason Burns said. "There is added level of expectation there which allows us to create a competitive work environment because we know what this institution has instilled in us."
QCS Logistics takes pride in being a good corporate citizen active in civic endeavors in the New Orleans community. Jason has continued to show his dedication to St. Augustine High School by serving as President of the Young Alumni Association and as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board. He is an active mentor in the school's Entrepreneurship Program and co-founded an annual Alumni Football Camp for current student-athletes. He also served as a mentor in the Recovery School District's internship program, and QCS is active with the Son of A Saint Foundation, a non-profit founded by Bivian "Sonny" Lee ('99) that provides mentorship, emotional support, and guidance to fatherless boys.
St. Augustine High School, which is known for its nationally acclaimed marching band and its athletic prowess, has also produced hundreds of distinguished alumni who have excelled to the top of their professions as doctors, lawyers, scientists, professional athletes, entertainers, judges, police chiefs, editors, a Mayor and a Fortune 500 CEO. Current President and CEO, Dr. Kenneth St. Charles ('81), said, "One of our primary missions is the total development of our young men so that they become servant leaders in all aspects life. We are proud that our formula has proven successful at a national level but more importantly that our alumni are making a significant impact at local & regional companies like QCS."
Over the past several years, QCS Logistics has helped warehouse and assemble items for large sporting events in New Orleans. These projects include warehousing and putting together goody bag items for the NFL Super Bowl in 2010 and storing and assembling basketball racks for the nearly 4,000 basketballs that were donated to New Orleans playgrounds by the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) during the Final Four Basketball Championship.
When another big sporting event turned to QCS Logistics for help with a philanthropic effort in New Orleans, the Purple Knights pitched in to make sure they delivered. During the National Basketball Association All Star Game in New Orleans, the NBA requested QCS Logistics store, package and deliver 52 pallets of food items for Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves low-income households in the New Orleans community. The QCS Logistics team worked through the night to assemble boxes of donated food items, but by morning they still had more to do.
The next morning, Jason Burns called in the St. Augustine Purple Knights Football Team, who arrived to volunteer. By mid-day, the group had packaged a total of 7,500 boxes to be distributed to needy families.
QCS Logistics Operations Coordinator Danielle Ducote said that when they had finished, "It was exciting. When I say 'high-fives' all around, you better believe it."
She credits QCS Logistics' strong affiliation with the school and the community with helping make it happen. "It's what the customer needed, a lot of volunteers. It was outside the box, and QCS delivered," she said.
Washington said the camaraderie and teamwork at QCS is what he finds gratifying. "It's the type of environment where you feel like you missed something when you aren't there," Washington said. "It feels like family. That's real big for me. We're doing this for a team."
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