Sometimes a job is created just for you. Such is the case for Gregory Pavelka. In fact, his entry into the FED was almost serendipitous.
Pavelka submitted his application to join the USACE team 1 year and 11 months after graduation, allowing him to take advantage of the Recent Graduate Program. This pathway to federal employment is available to graduates for up to two years after graduation; leaving Gregory one month away from missing the opportunity altogether.
“I wanted to work outside of the United States and accepting an apprenticeship with USACE gave me the chance to do that. I’d served five years in the Marine Corps so coming to Korea wasn’t a hard thing for me. When I arrived in February of last year, I didn’t waste any time getting familiarized with the area,” Gregory says. “I jumped in my car and drove to Kunsan, (about 114 kilometers / 70.81 miles away) to force myself to learn the lay of the land.”
Now, as an employee of the Far East District Gregory Pavelka is working in his area of interest. His curiosity in proactive workplace safety measures was ignited when he took an OSHA course in college. Since joining the Corps, he has gone on to take advantage of an array of on-the-job training and is skilled in fall protection, electrical safety, machine guarding, excavation safety, crane safety, and accident investigation among other disciplines in order to most effectively perform safety inspections.
Since his addition to the USACE team, Gregory has taken 775 hours of combined face to face and virtual training to complete phases 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the CP12 program. He is construction safety certified, the primary instructor for the Red Cross CPR and First Aid training, and the point of contact and technical approver for personal protective equipment.
To date, he has conducted over 49 spot inspections and construction safety audits as a safety apprentice. Gregory also coordinates, plans, inspects, and provides follow-up procedures for Pyeongtaek Resident Office (PRO) construction sites.
“I’ve been able to combine my education with diplomacy and mentorship to help the District protect its bottom line,” Pavelka remarks about his duties. “I want to prevent problems before you even know they exist.”
Gregory has also worked with team members from the Construction Division to learn to plan, coordinate, and perform follow-up safety inspections with site employees. “It has been my pleasure to work with people who have 20 plus years of safety experience. Pulling from their wealth of knowledge has really helped me throughout my apprenticeship.”
“Although I am not here with my family, at the end of the day, I want to make sure each of our team members makes it home every night to theirs,” Gregory says. He also remarks that the comradery between him and his coworkers make being away from his family easier. This safety apprentice says he, “brings good cheer,” to his office by making homemade meals and desserts for his coworkers. He spends his spare time hiking.