Viewpoint video

O’Brien is thrilled to share this new video by Viewpoint Project, which specializes in short-form Public Television stories. Viewpoint features ground-breaking organizations and industry professionals around the world, and they approached us to tell our story. Happy viewing!

OBrien equipment truck

Q&A with Jeff

I grew up in this industry. I started out when I was pretty young. My dad was a concrete finisher when I was a kid, before I was born. When I got to be around 10, 11, 12 years old he would take me to work with him sometimes. If it was on the weekend he would take me, and I’d help him. I mean, my dad is my hero. So, you know, being around my dad and doing the same thing my dad does, that was always good. Still enjoy being around him.

I’m in the Valley at our Dundee location. Chris Mallett brought me on my last year at Allegis. I was doing the Mox Boarding House in Portland. On his first visit he asked me if I was interested in leaving and working for O’Brien, and I said I didn’t have any reason to. When I was finishing the project, it turned out they were considering closing the Portland Division. The main office is in Seattle, and I have no desire to live in Seattle. So, I interviewed with Keeley and Hank and Chris Mallet, they made me an offer, and I accepted. The Valley is what I interviewed for, coming out to wine country to do wineries, and tasting rooms and stuff like that. And here I am, going on 4 years now.

Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t assume because your title is superintendent, that you are only going to do Superintendent duties. Don’t assume because your title is project manager that you’re only going to do project management duties. There’s something this company has taught me: blur the line. I’ve probably learned more in four years with this company than I have in the last dozen easily.

So far this year I’m making a little more progress on a project, so that’s good in terms of stress relief. My better half got a promotion at work, so she’s making a little more money, so that’s good.

Keep an open mind. Appreciate the opportunity to be here. Regardless of all the headaches and the growing pains, I appreciate what I’ve learned since I’ve been here. There are some relationships that have developed here that I’m very grateful for. There are some good people in this company that really make a difference.

A red target visual with "Target Zero" in large letters. "No incidents. No injuries" in smaller letters.

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” – Vince Lombardi

Lets take a moment to reflect on the “impossibles” in history that are now a reality; electricity, putting a man on the moon, cell phones, vehicles that are more advanced than the first Mercury 1 capsule, and the list goes on. Sure, these are all technology based, but there was a common mindset that needed to be overcome to accomplish these monumental achievements; the mindset that it’s impossible.

I’ve been carrying the torch and beating the drum of Zero Injuries for 12 years, and I’m still marching on.  It’s all about aligning in a belief system that we won’t tolerate any injuries. If we are not striving for zero injuries, then we are saying that injuries are ok, that they’re acceptable, which is absolutely not okay.

Before the second Industrial Revolution of the early 1900’s, it was acceptable to consider that you could die to earn a paycheck. People were viewed as tools to generate revenue, they weren’t viewed as living, breathing human beings with feelings, emotions, abilities, families…value. There weren’t any employee protections then, there were labor laws, but padding a handshake with officials made them turn a blind eye to the poor conditions that employees were working in and the hazards they were unnecessarily being exposed to. One in every 686 people died at work in 1900, truly disturbing.

In the US, we no longer view a paycheck as something to die for.  You don’t have to risk your life to support yourself and your family. We have OSHA (enacted in 1970) and firm federal, state, and local labor laws that serve to protect workers, and thereby eradicate the mindset that people have no value other than making money off them. With these entities in place, the fatality rate for 2022 was 1 for every 32,600. We’ve made great strides, but we need to keep striving for the zero mark; and it’s only achievable if we believe that it can be a reality.

If we all take a moment to realize that we can’t tolerate or accept that injuries are unavoidable, we can all make a difference. If we take time to firmly stand and say, “no one is going to get hurt on my project”, then we are already working toward the goal of zero injuries. Through teamwork, collaboration, and dedication, we can make zero injuries a reality, because I believe that it’s already a possibility, we just have to make it so.