Medicine Creek Enterprise Corporation (MCEC) is proud to put a spotlight on a journey of dedication, growth, and a commitment to excellence. Meet Robert Johanson, a vital member of MCEC’s Nisqually Construction Services (NCS) and our October 2023 employee spotlight recipient.
The employee spotlight feature highlights MCEC workers who’ve gone above and beyond in their roles and duties and have been nominated by their managers to receive recognition for their efforts.
“Robert is a decedent of a Nisqually Tribe member and was hired by NCS in 2017 as an apprentice operator,” said NCS Executive Operations Manager Karl Hedlund. “He was promoted to foreman in 2020, and his attention to detail, construction knowledge and pleasant demeanor progressed him to superintendent status in 2022.”
Robert’s entry into NCS came through the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) program, where he had an interview with MCEC Chief Executive Officer Bob Iyall to eventually be placed on a worksite with NCS. Eager to learn and grow, Robert set his mind to gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to being an asset to the company.
His journey has seen him grow from an inexperienced broom operator to a superintendent coordinating entire projects. Robert’s aptitude for mathematics and his determination to gain job-knowledge led him to become proficient in tasks such as shooting grade and laying pipes.
As he honed his skills, Robert’s responsibilities expanded. He operated the GPS unit at various job sites, effectively becoming an in-house surveyor. As operated by Robert, the GPS unit became an invaluable tool, allowing NCS to handle surveying tasks internally.
He then moved into the role of foreman before being promoted to superintendent earlier this year. The position involves overseeing the flow of operations, ensuring the team adheres to plans and specifications, and coordinating various aspects of construction projects.
But for Robert, the real highlight of his job isn’t the titles or responsibilities – it’s the crew he works with.
“Our company is small compared to some others out there, and we’re like a family,” he said. “I’ve worked with every one of these people. I’ve almost hung out with everyone outside of work. We’re always helping each other out and rooting for each other. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for all the people on the jobsite.”
Robert recognizes that every member of the team, regardless of their position, contributes valuable knowledge and ideas to the projects.
“The crew members are our biggest asset,” he said. “If a project is done well, I want the crew to get credit for doing the job per plan. They deserve the recognition. And if something doesn’t go to plan, I’m responsible for that, not them. My crew is the real spotlight, I guess I would say.”
Robert’s success has been built on open communication and a willingness to say ‘yes’.
“I can talk to anybody, no matter if they’re higher up or lower down the line,” he said. “I’m willing to do what’s asked of me, and I’ll do it with a smile. That’s probably some of the reasons I’ve been successful.”
He said he has a connection to Nisqually and feels like he’s a part of the community, adding, “I want to stay around Nisqually, and hope to never leave this company, to be honest. This company’s been awesome.”
Currently, Robert is overseeing the reconstruction of the Nisqually Kalama Hatchery, a project that stands out due to its intricate piping systems. It’s a job he described as both challenging and fulfilling, especially as his first project as superintendent.
Outside of work, Robert enjoys riding motorcycles and loves spending quality time with his two children in the woods, often hunting and fishing with them. His aim is to provide them with the same connection to nature and community that he has come to appreciate.
Robert Johanson’s journey at Nisqually Construction Services exemplifies the opportunities and growth that flourish within MCEC. His dedication, from broom operator to superintendent, is a testament to the values of hard work, perseverance, and community that define MCEC’s mission.