Continuing our Staff Spotlight Series, we shine a light on the people behind Leighton O’Brien who make the company tick. We are pleased to announce this spotlight is shining on Jeff Stevenson who has recently celebrated working at Leighton O’Brien for 15 years!
Describe what you do and the best part of your job?
I’m the Vice President of US Testing at Leighton O’Brien. I look after the maintenance, upgrades and repairs of UST test equipment in the US and Canada. My role requires me to oversee report writing for our integrity testing and fuel cleaning solutions. A large part of my role involves working with our Licensed Service Providers (LSPs). From the early stages of performing demo tests for prospective LSPs, right through to supporting the sales team and maintaining relationships with our current LSPs.
Just last week, I met with an LSP technician on site to test a suspected failing tank that had been highlighted by our Statistical Inventory Reconciliation (SIR) software – also known as SIRA outside the US. Luckily, thanks to SIR the tank was brought to our attention and the testing carried out by our LSP technician confirmed that the tank was indeed failing. This is just one example of how important our LSP technicians are to service locations that we would otherwise not be capable of mobilizing due to all the equipment required.
I love that my role is always evolving and changing. Here at Leighton O’Brien there is always something new going on, plus I really enjoy dealing with people from all over the world.
Congratulations on 15 years with LOB! What’s been the biggest industry changes you’ve seen over that time?
To be honest, I believe Leighton O’Brien itself is the biggest change!
When I started in 2005, I conducted Leighton O’Brien’s very first UST integrity test in the US. We were still an emerging company but our persistence and evolution has paid off. I am proud of the advancements in technology driven by Leighton O’Brien, but I am also surprised by the lack of technological development by everyone else in the US.
Nowadays there are not many people in the industry who don’t know who we are.
What key things have you learnt from working at Leighton O’Brien?
I would like to think I’ve learned what it takes to be a good teammate and co-worker. With that said, a large portion of the company is based outside of the US and many live in Australia. I have learned that working with Aussies is different to Americans, plus I’ve also learned (learnt) that Aussies spell a lot of words differently than we do.
Australians seem to have a lot of pride in their daily lives. The first thing I noticed during my first visit was that every motorcyclist wore a yellow safety vest. In the US, many still don’t even wear helmets. I’ve also noticed over my 15 years with LOB that employees in Melbourne are very well qualified; some SIR analysts have a PhD, for example. And from a testing perspective, the goal is to ensure no fuel is lost whereas in the US, testing is primarily a means to meet regulatory requirements so business can continue.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I wanted to be a baseball player. Then as the years went by at college I began to focus on the environment, but it was not something I thought of. I should have known from the beginning that petroleum was always in my blood. My grandfather drove a tanker truck for Mobil in the 60s and 70s. Plus my dad was a plant manager for Mobil and then compliance manager for ExxonMobil in the 70s and 80s.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Melbourne is still the best place. I’ve been there 6 times! I was lucky enough to live in Melbourne for nearly a year with my wife and son back in 2006-2007. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity when the role as Operations Manager opened up. Thanks to my wife’s fascination with the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin), I managed to convince her that we should move there for a year with our 18 month old son. Sadly, before we made the move the Crocodile Hunter passed away, but fortunately for me, my dream of living in my favourite city did not die with it! I love the city and the food, plus it is always great to see the team based there.
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
One time when I was in Puerto Rico I had blood sausage and to this day it remains one of the foods I crave the most. Plus, the past two times I have been to Melbourne, our CEO has taken me to a restaurant that has the absolute best kangaroo!
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