10 questions for Keith Yordy

Warden Yordy by brick pillar at Central Office
New ISCI Warden Keith Yordy

The Idaho Department of Correction recently announced that Keith Yordy will serve as warden of Idaho State Correctional Institution, a medium-security, men’s prison south of Boise.  EDOC asked Yordy 10 questions about his life, his career and his management style.

EDOC: Where were you born and raised?

Yordy: I was born in Boise but raised in Nampa. A true country boy at heart. I grew up with horses, cows, chickens, goats and sisters. 

EDOC: Any college or military experience?

Yordy: No military and a year of college.

EDOC:  When and how did you come to join the department?

Yordy: I joined as an officer in 1986. I liked the idea of getting into law enforcement and seemed like it would be some great stories to tell grandchildren. I don't have any grand children yet but I do have lots of stories.

EDOC: What positions have you held over the years?

Yordy: I have been an officer, corporal, sergeant, employment coordinator, lieutenant, acting captain, deputy warden of operation and security.

EDOC: What do you like about the correctional field?

Yordy: I like that every day is different and challenging. I've been blessed with many opportunities and I have always appreciated the diversity our agency offers. I like that we do a job that most in society can't understand and we do it very well. We do it with compassion, empathy, firmness and fairness and that is a testament to the level of professionals we have.    

EDOC: How would you describe your management style?

Yordy: My management style is pretty laid back. A sense of humor is huge! It's what get us through the tough days. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I'm big on empowering others as I realize a key element for our success is letting others perform what they were hired to do.

EDOC: What are your priorities as you take on this new assignment

Yordy: My priorities are to continue having a safe environment for staff and inmates. We have a good culture in our facility and we need to make sure it's a priority in maintaining. In part, that is accomplished with the warden getting out to the population and interacting daily with staff. Our staff is our most valuable resource and we need to take all the steps we can to show that.  

EDOC: Any favorite quotes?

Yordy: I'll go with the quotes I have used most often as they seem to be my favorites. 

“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

                                                                             --John Maxwell  

“The power to do good is also the power to do harm.”

                                                             --Milton Friedman 

“Never insult seven men when all you're carrying is a six-shooter.” 

                                                               --Col. Sherman T. Potter (MASH) 

EDOC: Anybody, either who you know personally or who is an historical figure, who inspires you?

Yordy: Personally, my father has had the biggest impact on my life. He showed me how to live with integrity, honesty and to always treat people right. Two historical figures that have inspired me is Col. Hal Moore and Major Dick Winters. Moore served in Vietnam and Winters in World War II. These men exemplified the highest qualities of leadership. Both recognized that their role and purpose was to increase the level of performance of their troops and that principle influenced everything they did. They were also men of strong faith and family men which I admire.

EDOC: What's your life like away from work?  Family? Favorite activities?

Yordy: My life away from work is family centered and pretty quiet. I've been married for 23 years and will be the first to admit that I overachieved when I landed Jill (Yordy)! We have two awesome kids that are 19 and 22, a wonderful golden retriever that recently passed, and a cat that appears is going to live a long, long, long time.

Story published: 03/14/2014
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