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Ted is a Safety Operations Executive from Appleton, Wisconsin with a passion for people development. He has been in the construction industry for 20 years and has built multiple high-performance teams. Ted has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and has been a CHST Board Certified safety professional since 2008. Ted was on the National Safety Council committee and Mobile Crane Safety and the past President of Fox Valley Safety Council and Wisconsin Tripartite Safety. He has been published in multiple research studies with CII Research Team 284 and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on leading indicators. Ted adds value and mitigates risk to organizations by monitoring, mentoring, and developing high-performing teams through active leadership and innovative learning.
How long have you been in the safety world?
Well, I’ve been in health and safety for approximately 25 years. The majority of it’s been in construction and as I’ve gone through the years, I kind of started out in the field, as that person learning about construction, because I really didn’t know, I learned a lot of interesting stories, I should say while working with a lot of great construction people that kind of mentored me in health and safety. As I went through my career, I was fortunate enough to be able to go through and become a safety director and watch out for companies on the worker comp, make sure the training is done. So a lot of that type of stuff that I’ve done for the last 25 years, and I just am very passionate about keeping people safe and keeping families together.
How did you get into safety?
Well, I graduated from Oshkosh, as you were saying in the introduction, and I wanted to be a law enforcement officer. So I became a police officer and wanted to be the Barney Fife of the area if you will and it just wasn’t the right fit for me. As I got out of law enforcement, I got a job as a safety consultant for a local safety company here in Appleton and I was learning all these different regulations, and I kind of found myself enjoying them, and being able to go into some of these companies and help them along the way. So just understanding safety and behaviors, how to work with people, but also I really enjoyed learning the business side of safety, which is also very crucial within organizations. So I think it was kind of a unique story, I started off in college on one path and didn’t like that and found health and safety.
When did you decide to start Total Health and Safety then or why did you decide to start?
One of the reasons why I wanted to start Total Health and Safety was because I believe that there’s a lot of companies out there right now, small to medium size, either manufacturing or construction companies that really don’t necessarily have a safety person that they can rely on. A lot of times its human resources or somebody else that’s filling in a little bit, but their main role is something else and I believe that we could come in at low overhead and be able to help companies grow their organization, and really get that return on the dollar for the services that were performed by keeping their worker comp down and more importantly, keeping their families together, and their employees happy at work.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you have?
Well, it’s kind of funny, I think the one that I just had today was a good example. I met with a person several months ago, on a different networking thing and we were just chatting and we got to know each other a little bit more and more and I found out that his brother actually owns a construction company. Through all that, his brother came in here and I just got done talking to him for an hour or so about safety. So you just never know where any of those networking conversations are there. They are so important to a small company like ours to be able to go out there and talk to people and get to know about them.
How do you stay in front of or best nurture your community?
That’s one question that I’m always kind of asking myself because it’s tough. In a small business, as you know, and I’m sure a lot of listeners know, there are so many things that can distract you away from it. But I really find that there’s such great return on networking, that you have to stick with it, and you have to stay honest with it because, as I said, you never know where it’s gonna go and you want to make sure that you’re making good quality connections that will last your lifetime.
What advice would you offer those business professionals looking to grow their network?
I think, one thing that I’m very passionate about is that any opportunities you have to network with people, even though you may not be in your area of expertise, that you still take advantage of those and grow from them. One thing that I’ve learned is to ask a lot of questions and ask for referrals when you’re talking to those people because people want to help people, and with networking, that’s what allows you to be able to keep on growing is because people want to help each other, you want to help other people they want to help you. So it can really become a very vital part of your business.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I think if I go back to my 20s, I think the first thing that I would probably do is start the business a little bit earlier. But also, I think, really learn networking, because that is so vital in whatever you do, especially for my business and just talking to people. Networking, to me, is everything vital to both relationships, and the business.
We’ve all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you would love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
I think if there was anybody that I could, it would probably be Scott Geller. He’s a safety professional out of Virginia University who’s done a lot of behavior-based safety so he’d probably be my choice. I would start it probably on LinkedIn and try to connect with him there. If I was successful there, then I would try to schedule something from there like a short chat just to get the norm a little bit. Hopefully, that will grow from there. If for some reason that didn’t work, there’s always this thing that a lot of people forget about, it’s called the US mail. I think mailing somebody something and maybe not an envelope, maybe a box or something to make it a little bit unique and different to get their attention so they actually read what you sent them.
Do you have any final word or advice that you’d like to offer our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?
I think you’ve got to get out there and do it. Some people sometimes are a little nervous about meeting people and talking to people, but you have to realize people want to help people. Once you get to know somebody, they’re going to bend over backward to help you so I think networking gives you that ability. Kind of like Lori was just saying about being able to reach out and have people in your back pocket to help you accomplish things. Also, just remember, you’re giving them a good feeling when they’re helping you too. So just get as involved as you can in networking. Network, network, network is what I always try to say!
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