Veterans Day: The Special Connection Between Flatiron Safety and the Military
Don’t talk to Greg Plotnik about pressure. He was a nuclear missile test technician during the height of the Cold War.
In a comment that likely won’t surprise anyone he says: “Due to National Security, there’s not much I can say about my job and I definitely do not have any pictures.”
The Health & Safety Specialist II at the Redlands Passenger Rail Project is one of many Safety staffers who have gone from a military uniform to a Flatiron career.
“Veterans are disciplined. Safety is discipline. For me, working for Flatiron Safety was a natural progression,” Plotnik says.
Northwest Division Health & Safety Specialist III Michael Martin, who served ten years in the U.S. Navy, points out that “both jobs are places where I can give all of myself and to push myself for the betterment of others.”
Flatiron’s safety head: military service a “very good indicator”
One of Flatiron Corporate Health & Safety Director Rob Lopez’s most important roles is upholding the company’s unparalleled commitment to safe work environments.
“If I am reviewing a resume for a safety position, and see a history of military service, it’s a strong indicator that the person possesses a skillset that will make them valuable contributors to our profession,” he explains.
Lopez also says a good safety professional is compassionate and truly cares about the team at their project. Rob Lubas, the safety manager at the I-95 Fredericksburg Extension Project, is also a big believer in that. “I think my military training and expertise was what got me into safety. I was always passionate about protecting and training whomever I could along the way,” the U.S. Coast Guard veteran explains.
Health & Safety Manager III James Walcik, who manages safety operations for the Texas District, believes military service parlays into the safety world. “These two careers are parallel in the fact that they are both structured with a chain of command,” he explains. “They have distinct guidelines and policies that are expected to be adhered to and followed.”
Walcik himself served 13 years as a U.S. Army combat medic, and saw service in Desert Storm.
As a Safety manager who learned leadership in the Army, Walcik has high standards for those who he brings aboard. Two of his stars are North Texas Safety Manager Charles Troglen, and Health & Safety Specialist II Josh Castellanos. Both men are also veterans.
Troglen is the type of person who lives every day to the fullest. He actively competes in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments—winning a silver medal last month at a major tournament in Fort Worth.
Coming out of high school he was offered a scholarship to play college football. He passed up the gridiron to join the Army. In a decorated 15-year Army career, Troglen had 157 confirmed lives-saved both in combat and in peacetime. His bravery won him numerous commendations, including for his role in rescuing 18 U.S. Marines whose helicopter had crashed on a mountainside.
Any number of companies would clamor for the opportunity to have Troglen work for them, but he chose Flatiron for its recognition of special veteran skills. “Flatiron understands that veterans are disciplined team players who can bolster any employer’s business,” Troglen says. “We can enter your workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real-world situations.”
Flatiron’s culture of professionalism mirrors that of the military
Former active duty Marine Castellanos couldn’t agree more: “Flatiron offers distinctive opportunities and provides a healthy work environment based on professionalism, growth and responsibility which is attractive to people with a military background because of the familiarity of those core values.”
Flatiron’s core values—People, Accountability, Innovation and Excellence all underpinned by Safety—speak to skills developed in the military.
Castellanos says at the end of the day whether he was in the military or is at a project site, his job is to get the work done “efficiently and safely.”
Flatiron’s Safety team veterans stress that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Consider these wise words from Health & Safety Manager III Larry Purvis, who served two enlistments in the U.S. Air Force: “The mission is more important than the individual. If everyone does their assigned jobs, then you will have success. Show attention to detail because everything matters.”
Other members of Flatiron Safety who proudly served in the military.
Central Division Safety Manager William Johnson
Northwest District Safety Manager Mike Day
Mid-Atlantic Safety Area Manager III Larry Parks
EE Cruz Safety Manager Jean Dorceus
Corporate Safety Manager Nason Spangler
Texas Safety Trainer Jayme Hernandez
Texas Project Safety Manager Alex Castellanos
East Coast Marine Safety Manager David Davis
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