Meet Jessica Orosz, area supervisor (AS) out of northwestern Pennsylvania. Jess has been with the company for three and a half years, working her way up from crew member. She has great insights for all, but especially for any field employees looking to advance. Learn more about this West Mifflin native and what she means by “the sandwich effect.”
Flagger Force: Hi Jess, thanks for being here today. Tell us, what’s it like working as an area supervisor?
Jessica Orosz: I prefer to work in the field. It’s a lot of being out there and dealing with the public: making sure they’re happy and comfortable. It’s working with our field employees: helping them do their jobs so that one day they can replace me, and I can keep moving up.
Flagger Force: What is the travel like as an area supervisor?
Jessica Orosz: It can be a lot. I oversee a large area, so if I put in an eight-hour day, at least six of those hours are just driving. My most northern area takes almost three hours to reach. It’s a lot of driving, especially in Pittsburgh with the crazy traffic.
Flagger Force: Wow. Sounds like you put on some miles. How many sites do you visit per day?
Jessica Orosz: I’m usually visiting between three to six per day, depending on the area I’m staying in. In the central Pittsburgh area, it’s usually six. The farther north I go, the number of visits drops down because there is so much space between each site.
Flagger Force: As an area supervisor, you are a key field employee point-of-contact. How does that responsibility
shape the AS role?
Jessica Orosz: As soon as I arrive at a site, I ask the crew about their day and then try to find an equal balance between us that we can use to talk about. I explain to them my experiences and then I always make sure to say something nice before I leave. I tell them to be safe and have a great evening. It’s called “the sandwich effect.” You start off a conversation with a good thing and end it with a good thing, but in the middle, it can be anything you want it to be—maybe something negative, though it can continue being something positive.
Flagger Force: The sandwich effect seems like a good conversation technique. What’s your approach to working with field employees you may be meeting for the first time?
Jessica Orosz: I try to find something we can talk about and let them know “you can count on me.” I don’t care what time of the day it is, if you have an issue with a client or one of your fellow employees, absolutely give me a call. I try to build that level of trust and respect. Sometimes it’s just a conversation that’s needed to fix things.
Flagger Force: Crew members surely appreciate that. Tell us about one of your best days on the job.
Jessica Orosz: Day one! I showed up at the meeting location very nervous. As soon as I parked, two people came out of a truck and walked straight over to me. It was Tyranee Simon and Tyler Orazio. They introduced themselves and we’ve been a great team ever since. Tyranee and Tyler were from the first class hired for the western PA market and I’m from the second class, right behind them. I’m the only one from my class still here.
Flagger Force: Tell us about one of your more challenging days on the job.
Jessica Orosz: My crew leader class. I was a crew member for one week and then was brought in for a crew leader class. It was more of a four-hour training instead of four-days. We were handed our keys and I was put on a job right after class.
I showed up but was very uncomfortable. I felt that the foreman was rude. My appearance kind of throws people off most of the time. I don’t bother with it, but a lot of people treat me differently. I’ve learned to ignore it, but all day long this foreman kept throwing comments my way and was disrespectful. I got through the day and he didn’t call in to complain about the job site set up or anything. He loves me now, but not once has he apologized.
Flagger Force: Sounds like a difficult situation to be in, especially as a new crew leader. Life is full of experiences, good and bad. What about your other training? What’s the best you’ve received?
Jessica Orosz: It’s all been great, but what stands out is the training about communication. I’m not a big communicator—I’m just the one that stands behind the crowd. But I see a change in myself and it’s been noticed by a lot of people.
Flagger Force: What are a few things you are passionate about?
Jessica Orosz: Cooking, even though I don’t have a job in that industry any more. I love cooking but not baking—I will not bake! If there are any carnivals or picnics where help is needed, I always make sure I’m in the food stand. I also help my mom by volunteering in the kitchen at the American Legion. I love sitting down with the old veterans and listening to their stories.
ADVICE FOR NEWBIES:
Jess stresses the fact that this job takes safety seriously. Anything can happen within a blink of an eye. Take safety home with you.
MORE ABOUT JESS:
Who do you admire most? My mother. She’s a single mom who raised three of us. She was always there and was my biggest support in coming out. I was terrified that she was going to disown me, but she was there for me. We have a lot of fun together — it could be anything and we would be having fun!
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be? I don’t know of anyone specifically. If I meet you, it was meant to be. So, until I meet you, I won’t know that I want to meet you.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Thinking back on everyone who’s had an impact on me, what comes to mind is that it’s my life. I need to live it the way I want it to be and not let other people tell me how to live it.
Can you describe yourself in one word? Trustworthy. Trust is very important to me, and if I don’t have it, I can’t build a relationship. In following our VVM, I feel if you don’t have trust, you can’t have integrity and can’t lead. Trust is even
important to me in my “outside life.”