By Fara Foster, Communications & Community Engagement
“Continuous Improvement” is a term we talk about a lot, especially this time of year. As an organization, we are firmly committed to always getting better. We aim for improved safety precautions so every employee goes home to their family each night. We aim for improved equipment maintenance so we can complete jobs without delays due to break-downs. We aim for better practices so we can maximize efficiency and produce more at a lower cost, generating higher profits. We aim for improved health so we all feel better, live longer and enjoy the rewards of working hard.
Ricky Pike very graciously took the time to talk with me recently about “continuous improvement.” With the company for over ten years, Ricky says he has seen great strides in improvement since he started in 2006. He started working at Plant 4 and has gone on to work in the shop, at Plant 2, North Plant, Plant 5 and now Plant 10. He says, “I got to see a little bit of everything. I drove front-end loaders, dozers and dump trucks, and I learned to weld. I float around to help out wherever I’m needed.”
Ricky is quick to note the value of the people he works with. Throughout our conversation, he mentions repeatedly his co-workers and their willingness to do anything for each other and anything for the customers. He says that realigning personnel has helped in creating improved attitudes. He told me he and his co-workers joke around, but says, “When it’s time to work, we get to it.” Ricky goes on further to say, “I like to take pride and try to do things right. But, if it wasn’t for Rabbit (Calvin Wright), my life would be hard. Between Rabbit & John Whipple, we can make anything work and don’t mind doing it. We even use our own tools if we need to.”
Ricky was a part of the team that produced the asphalt for our I-40 job last summer. Because every employee has their own specialty, very few of us know what goes on in an asphalt plant. Night work in particular, as the I-40 job required, never affords a consistent crew in the plants. Ricky’s willingness to train people helped contribute greatly to the success of that job. “I try to show anybody anything. None of the guys had been at the plant before, but we kicked into gear, worked our butts off and got it done. I was really proud of them,” Ricky said about that job.
“I like working here because I can just be me,” Ricky shared. “I take care of business when it’s time, and I appreciate the confidence I get from JP (Finerson) and Howard (Green). I’ve seen other bosses who checked up on me every two hours, but they trust me. I try to do my best because of that.”
Ricky Pike is not only focused on “Continuous Improvement.” He is a great example of “Humility,” being willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done right, “Stewardship,” taking care of his equipment and team, and “Relationships,” putting his co-workers before himself.
Congratulations, Ricky, on being our Employee Spotlight.