Building Communities and Brighter Futures with Jeffrey Nickerson
In the heart of our construction company lies a story of resilience, determination, and triumph. Meet Jeffrey Nickerson, our dedicated Safety Director, whose journey from foster care to overseeing safety protocols is nothing short of inspirational. Despite a challenging start in life, Jeffrey has demonstrated a strong spirit and an unwavering determination to succeed. When he’s not studying for his bachelor’s degree, he spends his free time volunteering in programs such as Big Brother for less fortunate kids. Here at Buffalo Builders, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace where everyone can thrive.
Jeffrey’s journey from foster care to the Safety Director position is not just a personal victory but a source of inspiration for everyone in the herd. We met with Jeffrey to learn more about his story – this is what he shared with us.
Q: Can you share a bit about your backgroundgrowing up in foster care?
Jeffrey: “I was only 14 years old when I entered foster care. At that age it’s difficult to get adopted. It was a challenging time in my life, I had lived in multiple group homes and foster homes throughout the state of Arkansas during my time in the foster care system. I also changed schools more times than I can count.”
Q: How did you find your way into the construction industry? What steps did you take to learn and develop your skills as a Safety Manager?
Jeffrey: “As a kid I would tend to find myself getting into some sort of trouble and ended up working with my grandpa who was a residential contractor when I wasn’t in school and during the summer. When I was 12, he passed away and I swore I would never work in construction. But when I was 18 and aged out of the foster care system, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life so I got a job in construction. I genuinely care about people’s well-being, and while I was in the field I witnessed a lot of people get hurt. That led me to write a safety policy for the company I was working for at the time and on the side I started working for a safety firm for 6 years. Throughout the years of being a safety consultant, I learned a lot about safety and was involved in a lot of OSHA informal conferences.”
Q: Were there any challenges you faced or lessons you learned during your formative years that you find useful in your current construction career at Buffalo Builders?
Jeffrey: “Because of the challenges that I have faced, it has helped develop my ability to listen to people, look for the character of a person, and not to judge so easily. In my current role, the lessons I’ve learned from these challenges have helped me effectively communicate with people. Because I bounce around from job sites, it’s important that with the time I do get with people that I express that I genuinely care about them and am here to help.”
Q: In what ways has Buffalo Builders helped advance you in your career aspirations?
Jeffrey: “Working at Buffalo Builders has allowed me to pursue my education at John Brown University to learn more about job safety and obtain a degree in Construction Management. I’ve also had the support and opportunity to build a prominent culture around safety.“
Q: Are there any initiatives or ways in which you give back to your community or support others from similar backgrounds?
Jeffrey: “Giving back is the most important thing I do. The more positive seeds I plant, the better future, opportunity, and hope I give to these kids. My favorite way to give back is by coaching because I get to test them physically, mentally and emotionally. I coach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), youth folk-style wrestling, and a youth AAO football team. I will never deny any kid the opportunity to play, even if I personal need to pay their fees or drive them to practices, games, and competitions. I get my church involved with helping raise money for the kid’s registration, equipment, and any other additional fees that enable the kids to particapate in the sports. Additionally, I am apart of a Big Brother program that allows me to teach kids how to shoot compound bows, camp, and hunt. The kids I voluteer with are less fortunate, troubled, or in the foster care system. My goal is to be a role model that shows them how to view life from a different perspective.”
Q: What advice would you give to young individuals in foster care or facing adversity who aspire to pursue a career in construction?
Jeffrey: “Construction is a great career that accepts people from all walks of lives. You just have be consistent and eager to learn.”