Life on the Road
‘Santa Ray’ helps drivers’ dreams come true
At one of the oldest and largest family owned trucking companies in the United States, good boys and girls ask for shiny red trucks, a driving teammate or other career opportunities.
Most get what they ask for, thanks to Team Manager Ray Hunt, who has worked for Utah-based C.R. England for 19 years.
“Drivers have always come to me for advice,” says the 68-year-old Hunt with a twinkle in his eye. “Whether my title was orientation instructor, safety in-structor or driver relations manager, I have always helped drivers’ dreams come true as a career counselor/matchmaker.”
Scratching his naturally white beard, Hunt truly listens to people, encourages them with a jolly chuckle and shows empathy as he peers over his spectacles.
Hunt has all the qualities of a good career counselor…and Santa Claus. That’s why he’s known as “Santa Ray.” Everywhere he goes, people young and old ask the same question, “Are you really Santa?”
But it’s more than his appearance that makes even adults ask for a photo while seated on his knee; it’s his attitude. Whether it’s his people skills or the magic of the San-ta persona, everyone agrees this West Valley, UT resident is good at his job and the statistics don’t lie. Since he started career counseling, he has probably counseled 5,000 drivers and successfully assembled more than 1,000 teams, including a half dozen who have gotten married as a result of his wise pairing.
“Increasing our number of team drivers has been an important initiative for the past six years,” says Chairman of the Board Dan England. “And we’ve been able to successfully grow the number of teams due in large part to Ray’s efforts.”
Hunt takes both his role as Santa and job as a career counselor seriously. “You’ve got to be an example for people. You’ve got to smile and always be happy,”
he says of his Santa persona. As a career counselor he says it’s important to “treat people good and they’ll respect you for it.”
Maybe he really is Santa.
“I don't know about Santa Claus, but I believe in Santa Ray,” England says.
‘Santa Ray’ at a Glance
Family: He and wife, Kay, have three children, 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Favorite cookie: “The same cookies you left out for me last year.”
Toughest request to fill: “When kids ask for their dad or mom to come home from Iraq, traveling for work or because their parents are divorced.”
Best thing about being Santa: “All of it, especially making people smile.”
Toughest part about being Santa: “When people try to pull off my beard because they don’t think it's real.”
Best advice from Santa: “Don’t hang your stocking upside down.”