This isn’t James Robles’ first time in the safety ring. Prior to becoming JE Dunn’s National Safety Director in January, James served as the regional safety director for the South Central region.
It’s been over nine years since James joined JE Dunn, onboarding with a background in safety from his previous job. Settling into his latest role, James brings over 17 years of experience in health and safety operations.
James is the fourth national safety director at JE Dunn, and the first to have worked under all three previous national safety directors. “My intent is to use the best of all of them and continue on the journey that was started back with the first director,” he says.
Among the top focus areas James notes for 2023 are the safety success of JE Dunn’s trade partners, safety training, and leadership engagement from a regional level down to the jobsite level. To reach the next level as a department and company, he says, all levels of engagement are necessary to prevent complacency and stagnation in growth.
“Working with the top clients in the country, safety is even more upfront and center,” James says. “It not only protects our people, but it’s good business and what our clients expect from us. The only way we can be successful is if we bring our trade partners along with us, to be holistically successful as a team.”
Originally from Houston, Texas, James found himself planting roots in Austin with his wife, Lenessa, where they are raising two young daughters, ages six and two. James comes from a family of construction workers; both his dad and uncles worked in the construction industry. Having someone look out for them and set these rules, he says, is part of the reason he has chosen to remain in safety all these years.
“Safety helps people go home at the end of the day,” James says. “What has kept me in safety is now having a family, and I think of everyone on our project sites as someone’s mother, brother, sister…. someone’s relative is out there, and it’s up to us to help make sure everyone goes home.”
“But, we want to know more about James,” you may say.
James enjoys marathon running and has run nine marathons so far. He admits this hobby has taken the backburner lately, but he is getting back into it. When he travels, he enjoys going on runs to explore the city. “Every city I visit, going for a run is a good way to wake up and see the city from a ground-level perspective.”
When it comes to his job, James recognizes the impact of having thorough safety protocols and a solid team of safety professionals. “It’s a privilege of life, and if we’re safe, we get to do it all a lot longer.”