By Robin Shannon
Published/Last Modified on Tuesday, January 24, 2012
St. John the Baptist Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Jobe´ Boucvalt said his 35 years of experience in emergency operations and safety at Marathon’s Garyville refinery should transfer well to the duties necessary to keep the residents of the parish safe.
“I held several positions and wore many hats,” said Boucvalt, who retired in August as a refinery shift supervisor. “I handled quite a bit of emergency management dealing with response to incidents and making sure things were operating at maximum production.”
Boucvalt explained that he managed everything from small process emergencies in one part of the refinery to other large-scale incidents with offsite impacts, often having direct relations with the St. John Emergency Operations Center.
“We made sure we were taking all the necessary steps to protect the residents,” Boucvalt said. “You act as a team to ensure the job gets done, which is how the members of this department and this administration will operate.”
Boucvalt said when he applied for the director position, he highlighted his experience in emergency operations, as well as his experience in incident command at Marathon. He said he climbed the ranks of the refinery’s Special Emergency Response Team in becoming a supervisor.
“We often handled things all on our own,” he said. “We had our own firefighters and emergency responders that were part of the team.”
Outside of his time at Marathon, Boucvalt also said he has experience in public service as a St. John Councilman. Elected in 2002, Boucvalt served four years on the council and was also a member of the parish’s planning and zoning and sewerage and water boards.
“I understand the process of government and what it takes to be a part of the process,” he said. Moving from industry to government can be a big move, but there are many similarities that will be an advantage to me.”
In the few days Boucvalt has been within the department, he has observed a strong core group of employees who have a great deal of experience. He said there is a solid line of communication between EOC and the parish president’s office.
“That line of communication is critical,” Boucvalt said. “We need accuracy and we need it timely and this parish does a great job with that. Every emergency is going to be different, but you learn from experience. You learn a lot about yourselves and others.”
Boucvalt said he wants to focus on gelling the industry in the parish with the government that runs it to improve both sides’ working relationship.
“In a time of need, both sides depend on each other to keep up operations,” he said.
“It is important to keep those relationships solid,” he said.
Boucvalt was born and raised in St. John the Baptist Parish and lives in LaPlace. He and his wife have raised six children in the community.
“The parish has been good to me and I feel a great need to give back,” he said.