Jeff Woodruff: The Consummate Professional
Jeff Woodruff is relentless. At work and at play. Not infrequently, he’s in one of Pagliacci's 25 stores making pizzas, especially on busy Friday nights—not a spot you’d expect to find a VP. But when it’s time to let loose, Jeff is equally relentless. You’re likely to find him playing his beloved Collings guitar, either acoustic or electric, or out crabbing on the Sound in his outboard.
Some years back, at a manager retreat in the San Juan Islands, Jeff drove up in his 1965 Galaxie 500. It had not one but two blowouts on the way to the Anacortes ferry. Fun but impractical, Jeff no longer drives the ’65 Galaxie.
But the legend lives on. “Having owned a '65 White Galaxie with suicide doors, we had an immediate bond,” says Pagliacci co-owner, Matt Galvin. When Matt bought the company in 1999, Jeff had already been with Pagliacci for five years and saw himself as on the way out. “That was one of my first jobs—to make sure Jeff stuck around,” Matt says. “I had to earn his trust, which took a while.”
And stick around Jeff did. “When I started at Pagliacci, there wasn’t much competition in either the pizza world or home delivery,” Jeff says. A lot has changed since then, and Pagliacci has had to evolve to stay ahead of the competition. Jeff has been indispensable to our success.
“Jeff is relentless about moving the company forward,” says John Clifford, Pagliacci’s Senior Director of Training and Development. “He is always looking for a better way.”
Matt says, “Jeff has been a tremendous partner for me. He’s a consummate professional that’s always improving how we do things. He keeps us focused on operations, helping design better stores, improving how we support our managers, and making our employees' experience better. Above all, he never forgets that making great pizza and offering great service is what it’s all about.”
Reflecting on his 25 years at Pagliacci, Jeff notes some advice his father-in-law offered his oldest son at his virtual graduation ceremony from high school this past June: Never stop learning. “That mantra is one I’ve embraced at Pagliacci,” Jeff says. “It's forced me to extend beyond my comfort zone and, in some cases, well beyond.”
Early in Jeff’s management career at Pagliacci, he allowed his frustration with an employee to build to such a caustic point that he blew up. “I unleashed on him in the middle of a rush,” Jeff remembers. “His response to me was one I’ll never forget: Why didn’t you just tell me?”
“I have learned the value of honest, respectful communication,” Jeff says.
“Jeff brings this incredible energy and propels us forward because he gets bored with static,” Matt says. “He’s relentless in his pursuit to make us better.”
“Jeff cares a lot about his people,” John says. "While he can frustrate some by pushing them to reach their potential, he is very aware of their contributions and cares.”
Angela Agustin, a field manager who reports to Jeff, says, “No one wants to see you succeed more than Jeff. He is your biggest advocate.”
In 2016, Jeff married Brie Moulton, now Brie Woodruff, and they merged their two families. They enjoy getting away to their cabin on the Olympic Peninsula with their three children and, weather permitting, getting out on their new boat.
Neither of them had trailered a boat when they bought it. “Brie was backing in, and it wasn’t going smoothly,” Jeff says. “I was trying so hard not to say anything but couldn’t help myself.”
Brie, with a Mona Lisa smile, says, “I’m surprised we’re still married.”
When not “collaborating” on how to best back in their trailered boat, Jeff and Brie are usually in harmony—often with guitars in hand playing music with friends. “For my 50th, Brie took me to the Gorge for a weekend with the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons, and she got me the I-35 LC Deluxe,” Jeff says, referring to his Collings electric guitar. “Beautiful, beautiful guitar, and it plays beautifully.”
The constant hard work, integrity, and spirited fun that Jeff exemplifies have left a deep impression on Pagliacci and its employees. “I like to tell my kids that integrity can be found in the shadows,” Jeff says. “It’s the choices we make when no one is looking that matter the most.”
That steadfast integrity is key to Jeff’s success and ours. “He’s been the GMs strongest advocate,” Matt says. “He’s immensely supportive. But he won’t compromise Pagliacci’s values for anyone.”
In 25 years, Jeff has witnessed enormous changes in the city and the business environment. Pagliacci has gone from selling slices to focusing on delivery to adding in-house seating to combining all four elements: delivery, dine-in/pickup, catering, and slices to go. “Through the many changes, the constant is our commitment to quality,” Jeff says. “Our dough recipe is the same as it was when I started. We still hand toss dough, cook on bricks, and source quality ingredients. Twenty-five years later and I still absolutely love a slice of our pie!”