Jeff Kirkey, St. Paul District chief of safety.
Jeff Kirkey, St. Paul District chief of safety. (Photo Credit: Emily M Chavolla) VIEW ORIGINAL

The St. Paul District chief of safety, Jeff Kirkey, inspires a culture of safety. Kirkey, who started in January, previously served as the operations safety manager.

Born and raised in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, Kirkey said he is grateful to have returned to the area.

Kirkey retired from the U.S. Navy as the command master chief petty officer for the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland. Before coming to St. Paul District, Kirkey worked as the emergency management officer in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and emergency management officer at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington.

Kirkey’s goal is to embed safety into everyday activities at work and at home. He uses the example of seatbelts. “Some of us recall when seat belt use in vehicles was optional,” Kirkey said. “Now we feel awkward if we don’t buckle up right away. I’d like us to take the same approach with safety, to make it an everyday habit. We can assess our risk without ever really thinking of it.”