A Day in the Life of Jeff McKinney

By David Furgurson

              Jeff has been the Vice President of Safety for Jetco for more than 15 years and for The GTI Group since it acquired Jetco in 2019. At Jetco, where safety is our number one value, he carries a ton of responsibility and wears many hats. I got the opportunity to shadow Jeff throughout the workday and experience what it’s like through his lens.

At a high level, Jeff strives to ensure safety is ingrained in every decision, action, person and process throughout our company. We continually reinvest in our people, processes and technology, and Jeff ensures the three integrate and interact seamlessly. As part of executing this goal, he oversees approving safety-related expenses for Jetco, rewarding drivers with DriveCam bonuses for their safe practices while on the road, overseeing maintenance of all Jetco facilities, and monitoring drivers’ locations, cameras (inside/outside the vehicle), tablet and the drivers’ phones via GeoTab. GeoTab allows Jeff to detect and predict at-risk behaviors from our drivers on the road. From there, he can develop proactive ways for us to think and operate safer.

              Jeff is in the office before 6:00 a.m. to start the day and check his emails. “This is what I love doing” he said, and you can truly see it by the way he approaches his responsibilities. Part of his day includes walking around the office, listening and talking to coworkers and “being seen.” He contends that this allows people to feel more comfortable coming to him with problems and I agree. Every time I see Jeff around the office, he’s in a good mood with a smile on his face. “I consider my department to be the whole company, the whole company is safety,” Jeff said.

He proceeds to tell me a story about a couple of drivers returning from an overnight drive. One professional driver noticed the other had unhooked his trailer but forgot to put down his landing gear. The driver that noticed the error made him aware to avoid any problems and keep his coworker safe.

“The culture is what brings me back every day. That’s working together and when I see everybody doing the right thing, it makes me feel good,” Jeff said. In fact, he’s put a campaign in place to let our professional drivers know if they see something, they need to say something – whether positive or negative. This initiative is called the “I’ve got your back” campaign.

Another responsibility carried by Jeff is coaching. The warden of our most important, non-negotiable core value of safety, he is very much looked at as a leader. Jeff’s wisdom and credibility come from his impressive resume and lengthy career.

His passion for safety sparked during his time serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he discovered his own personal core values – trust, loyalty and safety – that still guide him and his safety strategies today. From there he became a professional driver and night warehouse manager for Southeast Pet until 1994, the safety supervisor at Werner Enterprises from 1994-2000, and then the director of safety & operations for General Logistics from 2002-2007.

When Jeff joined Jetco, he leveraged his experiences and personal values to ignite our safety culture. “I probably stress my own self out. I see things go wrong and it takes me back emotionally. I ask myself where I went wrong or how could I have done better?” Jeff said. He doesn’t take his role lightly, and we are very appreciative of the vast amount of value Jeff brings to our team here at Jetco and GTI!

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