August Member of the Month: Bret Skellenger
Do you take safety home with you? If so, how?
Absolutely! I try to preach we should never leave our safety hat at the door when we leave our facility. Always take it home with you and it should start with vehicle safety when we leave. From there it is the everyday activities we take for granted. I live on a farm so there is always a lot of work to be done where safety needs to be the focus. Things like mowing, working with ladders, working around our horses, etc.... these things should always be assessed for potential hazards just like when we are at work. After all, the likely hood of being injured at home is far greater than it is as work, so we should take safety at home very seriously.
What is/was your position and how long have you been in the position?
I am the Safety Manager at Cardinal IG. I have been in this position for seven years and have been with the company at this location for 28 years.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
The biggest challenge of my career has been the realization that I couldn't change the world in just one day. When I was offered the opportunity in safety I knew there was change that needed to be made and I was going to do it right now...lol. Well, reality hit me fast and hard and luckily I had people in my support system who said it doesn't work like that. People have to believe in what you are trying to accomplish before any change is going to happen. So I took a step back and reassessed how I was going to go about getting commitment and making the changes necessary for our facility. I think in the last five years we have come a very long ways and there is more support for safety now than there ever has been. This is also a product of the awesome team I get to work with every day!
What is your most recent accomplishment?
We had a mock OSHA audit with 17 safety managers from different Cardinal facilities located all over the country. When it was all said and done they could not believe how far we have came as a facility and the buy-in from the people on the floor into our safety program. This was one of those "we are doing it right" moments that makes all the hard work worth it.
What advice would you give to "Past You?"
Slow down, build relationships, and sell your product (safety).
What makes you passionate about the VPPPA?
The association has always been there to help with questions and to lead me in the right direction. I want to be part of that so I can "pay it forward" for those new to the association.
What has been your favorite aspect of the Association?
The awesome people I have got to network with. Not only are they colleagues, but some have become friends.
What advice would you give to someone interested in the VPP or the VPPPA?
Don't wait to start being involved in either one. There are so many great things to come from being a member of VPPPA or taking the leap into becoming VPP certified. Look at it this way, it is only going to make you and your organization better in the long run. And remember, you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!