From left to right, Rocky Yedman and Jeff Gebre.

When long-time Facility Manager Rocky Yedman, shared his retirement news, searching for a replacement to fill the position was easy because he already had someone in mind to continue in his steps, long-time colleague Jeff Gebre.

Becoming Colleagues

Rocky and Jeff met at another corrugated facility years ago and stayed in touch through the years. When Jeff was interviewed for this blog post, he shared as he chuckled, “I remember us meeting like it was yesterday; the plant manager at the time introduced us, and before long, we hit it off.” Jeff continues, “Then we ordered Stromboli’s, which began a friendship of 20 years.”

At that time, Jeff had worked in the corrugated industry, but it was in 1988 that he began his career in the corrugated industry, working at Regal Paper Company in New Jersey.

Working in the Industry

Jeff quickly applied himself and learned every aspect, from making starch for the corrugator by hand to learning almost every machine in the facility. Soon, he began working double shifts, explaining his capabilities by learning about the different positions in the facility. His hard work paid off as he soon became an operator and was promoted to supervisor shortly after.

Joining the Team

Today, he works as the NEW Operations Manager at Tristate Container Corporation. Around the holiday season of 2022, Rocky hired Jeff to begin training and introducing him to facility protocols and team members. Since then, he’s made it a point to know all team members at each facility, understand the processes, and see which can be improved.

After a few minutes of speaking with Jeff, you can quickly notice he’s an active listener, asking questions and engaging in other people’s ideas with positive feedback.

“Through the years, I experienced different management styles.” Jeff shares, “In the past, I worked with authoritarian-style management styles where it was “their way or the highway,” and that management style never worked for me.”

He shares, “I want everyone to flourish; we are a team; let’s get everyone’s input and discuss it together.” Jeff shares.

His Management Style

Jeff believes to be successful, communication is key. He shared his view on the power of listening, which helps us gain a deeper understanding of what someone is trying to communicate, which can take some effort. Jeff explains, “Listening and understanding require us to be attentive, stay focused, ask questions, and think about what is being said; listening is an undervalued trait.”

Jeff connects with two members at the ProCorr facility early in the AM.

His management style is evident in the first two months of settling into his position. Jeff walks through the facility every morning, greets team members stops to chat with machine operators, and checks on jobs to ensure jobs are running smoothly. He feels making the rounds at each facility is essential to help create a friendly, encouraging team culture. If someone has a question about a job or any of the machines, he uses those opportunities for teaching moments. “Let’s take time to teach and learn from each other; it’s how we grow together.”

Jeff’s Day-To-Day At Tristate

As the Operations Manager, he’s responsible for production, hiring, training, and ensuring communication with all plant managers, among other responsibilities. He manages operations for all three of our locations, so he can be either at our Corporate office for a better part of the day or at our Solutions Center in Fairless Hills before spending time at our ProCorr Facility.

Outside the office, Jeff often analyzes corrugated displays or packaging in the marketplace. He looks at boxes, analyzes the colors, and tries to see who produced the box.

And, when he’s not checking out corrugated displays or packaging in the marketplace while running his personal errands, he spends time with his family. “I’m a family man. I find great joy in working to provide for my family; they are my motivation each and every day.”

End On A Personal Notes

Jeff shared three things that his team members may not know, and they are: he’s an advocate for adopting your furry friend, and his family donates to local shelters when possible. He also loves fantasy baseball and finds himself very curious about the metaverse.

We are excited to have Jeff on the team and look forward to seeing what he will accomplish in the months ahead. He does not take his new position lightly and is excited about the challenge. “I appreciate the opportunity. While it’s hard to replace a colleague who has a strong history with his team, I step into this position eagerly and enthusiastically.” While we will miss Rocky, we are excited to see what Jeff accomplishes in his new role.

Welcome aboard, Jeff!