People First: Kevin Tubbs on Oshkosh Corp.’s Cultural Evolution

“If we treat our people right, if we treat people with respect, and expect them to treat each other the way they should be treated, then things will flow from that, financial results will follow, and it will be a place where people will want to work.”

Kevin Tubbs

Kevin Tubbs of Oshkosh Corp. talks to LRN's Ben DiPietro about the company's people-first culture, what that means for the ethics and compliance program, and how fostering a speak-up culture helped to save one employee's life. Prior to his current role, Tubbs held senior environmental management and sustainability positions at Ingersoll Rand Co., Trane Co., and American Standard. He began his career at Exxon Corp.


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Kevin Tubbs holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University, and Master’s degrees in engineering management and occupational safety and health from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He holds a certificate from the Wharton School’s Executive Development Program.

For three years Kevin was the mayor of Chatham Township, N.J. during which time Chatham was named the “Best Place to Live in New Jersey,” and was one of the first communities to receive “Sustainable Jersey” certification from the Sustainable Jersey organization.


  • [0:50] What does Oshkosh Corp. do?

  • [1:55] What sparked Kevin’s interest in having a career in ethics and compliance, and how does he describe the path that he took that led him to Oshkosh?

  • [3:49] How has being mayor of a town in New Jersey impacted Kevin’s view on ethics and compliance? What has he learned from that experience and how does that shape what he does now?

  • [4:58] Kevin recently spoke about Oshkosh’s “people-first” culture at LRN’s “25 and Beyond” event. What does that term mean and how does Kevin meld it into what happens to each employee every day at work?

  • [6:28] How is the “people-first” culture actually embedded and how does Kevin discuss it with employees? What are some of the ways he transmits those messages?

  • [8:21] How does that emphasis get driven down into middle managers, supervisors, and then into the employees? What role or importance do the middle managers play in all of that?

  • [10:22] As the workplace is being transformed by diversity inclusion initiatives and a blending in of machines and technologies to work alongside people, how can ethics and compliance teams work to minimize disruptions to the employees involved while maintaining compliance and building strong cultures? What role can the board and the executive leadership play in setting that standard?

  • [12:29] Was there a time that Kevin and his team faced a hardship related to ethics and compliance? How did Kevin deal with that situation, what did he learn from it, and how has that lesson shaped some of what he does today in his current role?

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