Akeece Jones is a team member of the response shift, former resource allocation specialist, at the new Operations Services Center (OSC). He started as a dispatcher in our eastern Pennsylvania market. He is a compassionate and humanitarian-minded philosopher who loves to read and recently relocated to central Pennsylvania. Learn more about his journey and what fuels his passion.
Flagger Force: Hi Akeece, thanks for joining us today! You’ve been with the company for a little over a year now. What were you doing before you joined Flagger Force?
Akeece Jones: Before this, I was working at Ken Crest Services — working with juvenile mental health and behavior. I worked in a juvenile center as well with kids (12 – 17) in the “As I Plant The Seed” program in Philadelphia, where I’m from. Here, we tried to help kids and point them in the right direction — encouraging them to be themselves. I was 22 when I started working there and was able to relate to them and show them a different direction, a different way to think; how to cope with life based on the experiences I had.
Flagger Force: What made you interested in working with Flagger Force?
Akeece Jones: It’s a unique story. I was in traffic, in a rush of course, and was wondering what was holding me up. It was there that I got the chance to see a work zone setup. I saw a friend working for Flagger Force. I had a full-time job but was looking for another opportunity to make more money. The opportunity was granted — I left my full-time job to take this one.
Flagger Force: Have you always lived in Pennsylvania?
Akeece Jones: Yes, I lived in Philadelphia all my life, well until now. Went to school at Temple — that’s where my roots are. The campus keeps growing and they build opportunities for the community. They’re giving back. I think that’s a good thing.
Flagger Force: You recently relocated to take a position at the OSC. How would you describe the OSC?
Akeece Jones: The OSC is an interesting situation. The best way I can describe it is, it’s a movement — a cultural movement. It’s a big transition and it’s a big change, a change that people had to embrace to understand where we are going. So, the best way to describe it is as a movement. I was hesitant to make the transition myself since I was comfortable in the position I was in, but Ed Vaughen and Mike Doner played a big part in driving my decision. They both encouraged me and were so passionate about their vision. I started to see it and wanted to be a part of it. It’s an honor to be a part of the OSC, something new. We are going in the right direction.
Flagger Force: That’s a clever description. Tell us about how you deal with difficult moments on the job.
Akeece Jones: That’s a great question. I’m very cool, calm, and collected under pressure. I can handle it [pressure] well.
I think it’s based off not letting your emotions get the best of you. When dealing with pressure or a difficult situation, understand what the person is saying. It may be a confrontation with a person or an order, but just breathe and remain calm and know you’ll get through it. Don’t let it get the best of you. Keep in mind my three favorite ‘C’s: cool, calm, and collected.
Flagger Force: What’s the best training you’ve received for your position?
Akeece Jones: I really learned a lot from and enjoyed the OSC training we received. Plus, I’m blessed to have a good crew with me. I learn so much from them — Dan, Alix, Alex, Glenn, and Kia. I take every little thing I can get from everyone
— whatever characteristic or trait that I like, I kind of take it for myself and manifest it to fit for me. So, I’m learning every day, every second. Life is about learning.
Flagger Force: What is a typical day like for you?
Akeece Jones: The OSC brings different challenges, good
and bad. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a big change for everyone and it comes with ups and downs, but I embrace it. We are striving and we’re getting better and better. Little things that you may see as a mistake, we jump on it and conquer it and learn from it. We’re moving forward. We had to adapt to the new culture, and I think that comes with adjusting and mastering your craft. We’re not just trying to take a good order, we want to take the perfect order, the perfect way; take the perfect phone call to give the perfect customer service.
Flagger Force: Sounds like quite the journey. What’s your favorite thing about the OSC?
Akeece Jones: The best thing is how we gel together. We work together and help each other and cheer each other on. And Mike, Michele, and Dave, making us feel comfortable.
This is a heavy challenge to be on your shoulders, because, like Ed says, we are the shiny new toy and we have all eyes on us — but I think that’s the best thing about it. And the stand-up desks!
Flagger Force: What is something you’re passionate about?
Akeece Jones: I’m most passionate about helping people. Like everyone, my life has its downfalls, but I’m very grateful for where I am. I think God puts us in a position where we have so much, we don’t realize it. I have a huge heart of compassion and wake up every day knowing that my life is good. I see others’ struggles, and I think helping them fulfills my life.
MORE ABOUT AKEECE:
Who do you admire most? My mom. She’s more than a role model, she’s my hero. Just to have her has been a blessing. I also admire my brother and his courage to be himself. Society today can make people afraid to be who they are, and I think my brother has shown me how to be myself.
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be? It would be three people! Solomon the Great and Buddha, to sit with them and get their wisdom. I would also want to meet Lao Tzu, because when he looked at life, even in the bad things he saw beauty. When you obtain wisdom and understanding, your life perspective is totally different.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? I’ve been given a lot of advice, but most recently and as it relates to life right now, Mike Doner said during our OSC training, “fail fast, fail cheap, fail once,” which means take a chance, mitigate the bad, and learn from your mistakes. Great people in life have gotten to where they are by learning from their mistakes
Can you describe yourself in one word? Compassionate. Having compassion keeps you level-headed and humble. You may not feel the pain of others, but you can feel the agony. Just try to do your best to help others. You never know, it can change a life.