After 35 years of service to the University of Lethbridge, Allan Besplug will be handing over the dozens of keys he carries every day to make sure packages get to their intended destination as he retires from his position. 

Born and raised in Leader, Saskatchewan, Allan took a job at the local Revelstoke lumber yard after high school. In 1981 when he was 19, a young woman named Sylvia moved to town for her first job out of college — providing recreation at a senior citizens’ home. While he faced some competition, Allan eventually won out and the two of them began dating. 

Allan transferred to the Revelstoke store in Lethbridge while Sylvia, who was his fiancée by then, continued to work in Leader for another year and a half. The couple married in 1986 and decided to make Lethbridge their home. 

As part of his job at Revelstoke, Allan made deliveries to campus. Someone in the personnel office took note and recommended he apply for an open position in Shipping and Receiving. He was hired and began working at ULethbridge in April of 1989. 

“My duties in 1989 were the same as they are in 2024 — delivering everything that comes to Shipping and Receiving,” he says. “It gets written up in Receiving and I am one of two drivers who deliver it to wherever it goes at the University.” 

“I get to go on every floor of every building. When I first started here, I had keys to just about everything, but there weren’t many buildings on campus either. Now, there are lots of places that I don’t need to have access to,” he says. 

All kinds of materials go through the Shipping and Receiving department, from receiving live rats and mice to shipping instruments built at ULethbridge and destined for outer space. 

Except for seven years spent working at the Bookstore, Allan has been a part of the Shipping and Receiving team. 

Post-retirement and after a holiday with Sylvia visiting their two sons in B.C., Allan plans to continue being involved with St. Augustine’s Anglican Church taking care of the buildings and property and helping out wherever he can. And when he’s not busy helping people, you can probably find him reading an action or adventure book or, if the weather’s nice, camping down by the river near Taber. 

What has been the best part of your job?

I like talking to people. Because I am always on the move, just how many people have I known in 35 years who have gone through this place? There’d be thousands. It’s interesting how, in the late ‘80s and the ‘90s, people tended to stay in their jobs longer. They didn’t move around that much. In the 2000s, I noticed the turnover in jobs was increasing and it hasn’t stopped. 
I love my job; I love this university. But I also love life and that’s why I’m retiring. I’ve had 35 years of enjoying this place and I’ve loved my time at the University. It’s a great place to work and I hope the next person enjoys it as much as I have. 
And I want to give a shout-out to K. and C. They are friends here and they will know who they are.