10 Questions for Jeff Robicheaux
November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, recognizing the sacrifices and bravery of our Nation’s service members and the resilient families who support them. As a proud employer of veterans across the U.S., Northwest Pipe Company celebrates, with gratitude, their military service and the essential contributions they bring to our organization.
Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing interviews with veterans here at Northwest Pipe, discussing their military and career experiences, and the people and values that have inspired them along the way.
10 Questions for Jeff Robicheaux
As the Safety and Lean Coordinator at our Geneva Pipe and Precast facility in St. George, Utah, Jeff’s responsibilities include leading the Plant’s safety program and ensuring compliance with OSHA Standards. He inspects the plant and property regularly to identify safety, health, and environmental risks and, if discovered, ensures they are mitigated in a timely fashion. Jeff provides environmental, safety, and health training to all plant employees and conducts monthly environmental audits. His lean manufacturing role involves recommending process improvements to the management team, leading continuous improvement projects, and listening and following up with the employees.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe?
My job title is Safety and Lean Coordinator and I’ve been here for five years.
2. Tell us about your time in the service – what motivated you to enlist and how long did you serve for?
My younger brother had a Marine Corps recruiter come over to the house and when he decided to enlist, I was moved to do the same. From 1986-1990 I served in the United States Marine Corps as a Military Police Officer stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station El-Toro. I received four Meritorious Mast awards over my career, was meritoriously promoted to PFC in Boot Camp, and then to Corporal E-4 while stationed at El-Toro.
3. Describe your transition from military to civilian life and how it led you to your current position?
After the Marines, I worked as a foreman for Excel Paving’s underground crew for seven years, then as a production manager at Pace American Trailers for 13 years, and finally as a production manager at RCS Rocket Motors for five years before joining Geneva Pipe as a project coordinator.
After four years in that role and holding the Safety Chair position, Justin Fraughton (Multi-Site Operations Manager) asked if I was interested in the Safety and Lean Coordinator position. How could you say “no” when someone trusts and believes in your ability to hold this important position?
4. What’s the most exciting or interesting thing about your job?
Daily interaction with the employees has always been something I look forward too. Listening to their questions, concerns, or anything the team wants to talk about is important to them and to me. We should all try to slow down sometimes and be attentive to the ones that grind day in and day out.
5. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
At work it would have to be how all of us in the office greet each other in the morning. It’s all about family outside of work.
6. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?
The value that resonates most for me is Commitment (dedication to the cause). If you don’t have Commitment then you have no Team, nor will you be willing to be held Accountable. Accidents don’t just happen, they are caused and I have to be committed to helping identify these hazards so that all employees go home safely to their family, friends, and pets.
7. How did your military career experience prepare you for your current role?
As a Military Police Officer, you always have to be vigilant. Having good situational awareness is essential to staying safe as a Police Officer and here at work. Having a law enforcement background is undoubtedly relatable to the role I have here–to help protect and to serve.
8. Name someone who has been a source of inspiration in your life and why?
Gunnery Sargent Soper, a Vietnam Vet that I served with in the 80s. Gunny Soper checks all the boxes with qualities we can all aspire to have: unquestioned integrity, leadership, loyalty, and selflessness. He is in his 70s now and continues to stay in touch and inspires me to be a better man than I was the day before.
9. What advice do you have for other veterans entering your profession?
Work on building relationships and mutual respect with all employees. Be relentless in your pursuit of reaching the Company’s goals.
10. What has been your biggest career or personal achievement?
I can’t choose just one since both are equally important: serving four years honorably in the United States Marine Corps, and proud husband and father to my two boys.