June Member of the Month: Paul Schimelpfenig
- Do you take safety home with you? If so, how?
I do. My friends even make “safety man“ jokes because I am always trying to make them rethink what we are doing to make it safe. One example being chainsaw chaps and helmets with shields. Most of us grew up without using these things.
- What is/was your position and how long have you been in the position?
I am a Safety Specialist and have been for just over 4 years.
- What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
One of the greatest challenges with a safety roll has been getting people to want to do things safely. It is a strange thing; people can be so stubborn and set in their ways. If we can give them good equipment and the information in a way that makes them really want to do it in a safe manner, they will not only do it, but also encourage others to as well.
- What is your most recent accomplishment?
Right now, we are all working on COVID-19. We are fortunate to be an essential company, but that carries a weight. We are all just trying to figure this thing out. Following the information from the CDC and working with our team to find solutions. Dispelling false hoods. So I would say team work, working as a team in a way better than before so we can get the right solutions to all of our facilities in a meaningful and uniform fashion. It is “easy” to sit in our silo at our plant and try to solve them individually but working together has been very important.
- What advice would you give to "Past You?"
I think there are so many things I could tell my past self. “You can do this” is probably what I would say. So many times, when things get challenging it is easy to doubt yourself, but when you stick with it you find the answers and things get better. There will always be challenges along the way, but you can do this.
- What makes you passionate about the VPPPA?
What I like about the VPPPA is meeting like-minded people. As a safety person you can often feel like you are in it alone at your location. Things like the VPPPA allow you to see others in their journey and how they are solving problems you may have. It is also nice to be able to share what we know with others.
- What has been your favorite aspect of the Association?
I like the creative classes some of the businesses put together for the conference. I also found it very helpful when members came to our plants to see and offer advice on our VPP journey.
- What advice would you give to someone interested in the VPP or the VPPPA?
I would say come to a conference and see all the wonderful things people are doing.
- Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I am a bit of a “jack of all trades” Having been at my employer over 20 years, I was a welder, assembler, final truck tester, quality responder, and I am also a union member. I think this helps me on my journey because I have done some of these jobs and can understand where the operators are coming from.