Whether he is leading a large consumer product fulfillment company, volunteering with a local sheriff’s foundation, or competing in an Ironman championship, former Middlesex student Ken Wiseman is a believer in lifelong learning and giving back.
Eighteen years ago, the Portland native transplanted his business success to the Santa Clarita Valley in California, promising mom and dad Eunice and Dick Wiseman that he would be back in a few years. Once he and his family got to California, however, his business success and involvement in the community caused him to firmly plant some California roots. As the CEO/managing partner of AMS Fulfillment, Inc.,* a full-service order fulfillment company, Ken oversees multiple distribution centers with more than 350 employees within 750,000-square-feet of warehouse space. The company’s working philosophy centers on approaching each client’s business needs as their own, because then everyone succeeds.
Ken and his company recently took this vision to heart through a groundbreaking collaboration with the College of the Canyons (COC), a community college in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County. While he could attribute his business achievements to his M.B.A., he also believes that his early Middlesex classes and bachelor’s degree in teaching created the foundation for a strong belief in the importance of a community college learning experience.
In 2016, his company and COC launched an innovative warehousing and shipping apprenticeship program for individuals to earn while they learn. The first of its kind in California, the program includes a learning center and classroom space at AMS and focuses on targeted efforts to recruit and employ underserved individuals.
At a recent education conference held at the AMS warehouse facility, Ken told educators from around the state, “What people need to know is that someone believes in them. We do, and hopefully this program will help our apprentices believe in themselves.” The conference was designed for attendees to discuss how community colleges and companies can partner with customized training.
An active volunteer in a number of Santa Clarita Valley community organizations, Ken is president of the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation, an active member of the Sheriff Search and Rescue team, chairman of the Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, and a board member of the SCV Economic Development Corporation, among many others.
But Ken’s passion doesn’t end there. He has previously set world records in the Double Ironman (three times between 1985–91) and the Triple Ironman (1989) triathlon competitions. A Double Ironman is twice the Hawaiian Ironman, and the Triple is three times. Therefore the distance of the triple Ironman was a 7.2-mile swim, 335-mile bike and then a 76.2-mile run. Ken’s record was 39 hours and 43 minutes.
When asked what advice Ken would give to students, he explained, “Don’t allow yourself to be in a silo. Look for opportunities to try new things. In your job, try to find ways to experience other departments or other functional areas of the business. In your free time, try new things. Success in life is the balance you achieve between all that you do. Middlesex filled a gap in my life as I was transitioning between Xavier High School and pursuing a teaching career. I took several courses in sociology and psychology, and it made me feel like I had a head start when I began my teaching career. Of course as life would have it, I ended up in business and getting my M.B.A. at the University of Hartford. Never be afraid to let life show you new paths.”
Ken and his wife, Betty-Lou, have two sons, Justin and Eric, and three grandchildren.
Written by Thea Moritz in 2018
*Update: In 2019, AMS was acquired by Fort Point Capital Partners, and Ken retired as CEO of AMS Fulfillment. He is staying on part-time as the chief workforce development officer to oversee employee engagement programs.