SCSI Joseph Pacheco — and His “Bestie” — Followed His Mom into Federal Service
By Suzanne Hensell, OPACE
Supervisory Consumer Safety Inspector (SCSI) Joseph “J.J.” Pacheco began his FSIS career as an intermittent food inspector (FI) in the Office of Field Operations’ Alameda District in September 1991. He became a full-time FI in November 1992, was promoted to CSI in June 2007, and became an SCSI in 2009. He recently received an award for 30 years of service with the agency. Said Pacheco, “I am proud to be a member of a team that keeps consumers safe from foodborne illness.”
From Assistant Ranch Foreman to FSIS Career
His previous experiences, including agriculture classes in high school and involvement with Future Farmers of America (FFA), led to Pacheco earning the American FFA Degree and helped prepare him for his FSIS career. In the late 1980s, he worked for the company that owns the establishment he currently serves in as SCSI. Pacheco worked as an assistant ranch foreman on one of the company’s chicken ranches; this is where he first got experience with poultry diseases and developed an understanding of how it affects food safety. He worked for the company during the day, and at night, he took agriculture business classes at Merced College in nearby Merced, California. With this strong foundation, he quickly became assistant foreman for the company he inspects today.
Pacheco’s mother, Madelyn, and his aunt, Mary Garcia, were FSIS CSIs for 30 and 25 years, respectively, and he and his best friend since first grade, James Butrym, learned of FSIS career opportunities through them. The friends applied for FI positions at the same time, and both became intermittent FIs at the same establishment.
The two women taught Pacheco the importance of a strong work ethic and that their work is important to consumers. For years, Pacheco and his best friend worked in the same establishment, but now Butrym works as an SCSI in another facility in Stockton, California. Said Pacheco, “We pushed each other to learn more and succeed.” The two continue to communicate almost daily at work and see each other often outside of work.
As SCSI in a New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) poultry slaughter and processing establishment, Pacheco supervises 20 CSIs on two shifts who oversee the processing of 500,000 chickens per day along four NPIS lines in the 360,000-square-foot facility, helping ensure consumers are safe from foodborne illness.
On a daily basis, his job involves ensuring proper staffing for both the establishment and the circuit and providing direction and support to the CSIs. Pacheco believes his years of FSIS experience are invaluable in his role as SCSI. Said Pacheco, “I have been through so many different situations over 30 years, so I know what it’s like and what issues to look for.” Pacheco works with those he supervises to help them improve and advance in their careers. He mentored one FI by training her and allowing her to shadow him at work when she was an online/offline FI. As her career progressed to CSI and eventually, SCSI, the two would meet when they were on the same shift to discuss issues and how best to address them. Pacheco saw her potential and encouraged her to continue to challenge herself and apply for more positions. Similarly, another FI received encouragement and guidance from Pacheco, progressing in her career before recently retiring as a CSI. Through the years, Pacheco has mentored countless FIs and CSIs, helping them to grow in their careers, an accomplishment he finds gratifying.
Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Dr. Dannette DeWeese, Pacheco’s supervisor, said of him, “As a supervisor, SCSI Pacheco ensures his employees are up-to-date on their training, and he provides additional training if needed or when requested. He answers questions from in-plant personnel or directs them to where they can find the answers themselves. He shares tips on how they can improve their performance and routinely recommends deserving employees apply for higher-grade positions. SCSI Pacheco is an outstanding employee. He is very hardworking and knows his job thoroughly. He never hesitates to step in to help when we are short staffed and he always leads by example. He’s even taught me a thing or two (million)! I could not do my job without relying on his expertise, experience and willingness to go the extra mile.”
Pacheco credits his team for working well together. “The team is great about assisting each other. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand,” said Pacheco.
FSIS Core Values
Pacheco holds himself Accountable for fulfilling FSIS’ regulatory mission and serving the public. He accomplishes this by reviewing daily tasks in the Public Health Information System to ensure all tasks are completed. If he finds any incomplete tasks, he determines why and guides the CSIs on how to complete the tasks.
Collaborative is the core value Pacheco demonstrates when he facilitates meetings to ensure things run smoothly. This includes weekly meetings with the establishment to discuss what happened in the past week and reflect on ways to improve. When necessary, he schedules meetings with establishment employees where they openly discuss any concerns before they are entered into a Memorandum of Interview report.
Through training, Pacheco is Empowered to be successful in protecting public health. When he was promoted to CSI in 2007, he participated in the agency’s Food Safety Regulatory Essentials training. Later revised to Inspection Methods training, both courses have been invaluable resources throughout his career. Finally, Pacheco is empowered by his supervisor’s unwavering support.
By working with team members to identify and solve problems, Pacheco demonstrates he is Solutions-Oriented. If he observes a practice in the establishment that is concerning, he will discuss it with the employee and suggest corrective actions. This may happen on the line, in a one-on-one meeting, or both.
Outside of Work
Pacheco and Rosio, his wife of 25 years, have three children. He enjoys grilling, watching football and spending time with family and friends. Said Pacheco, “My family and friends are always asking about food safety, including how to cook and store food safely.”
Pacheco has been a guest speaker at 4-H meetings and for high school agriculture students, explaining the mission of FSIS. He finds it rewarding when the students are interested in FSIS.
Pictured above: SCSI J.J. Pacheco inspects poultry at an establishment in the Alameda District.
Photo by SPHV Dr. Dannette DeWeese.
Pictured above: Alameda District SCSIs and best friends, James Butrym (left) and J.J. Pacheco (right).
Photo by CSI Rey Cielo.
Pictured above: Pacheco enjoys a day of fun with his wife, Rosio, and their children.
Photo by a fellow park guest.