2018 CEOs Who "Get It"

2018 CEOs Who Get it
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Garret Danos

Garrett “Hank” Danos

President and CEO (1990-2017)
Now Chairman of the Board
Houma, LA


  • Leadership in safety through measurement of owner, executive and field leader engagement in field visits, customer safety meetings, audits, BBS observations, participation in training and other safety initiatives, as well as planning and/or participating in quarterly “Safety Focus Forums,” monthly Town Hall meetings and weekly safety roundtables.
  • Created “Hank’s Hazard Hunt,” encouraging employees to find potential hazards and send them to him for review.
  • In the past year, supported and funded multiple hazard-focused initiatives, including a BBS mobile application, a Crane Improvement Team, HAZID Process and SHARP Process (periodic hazard assessment for permit to work systems).

Founded in 1947, Danos is a family-owned and managed oilfield service provider that employs 1,800 workers. A trusted industry partner, Danos offers the most responsive end-to-end integrated service solutions – safely, on time and within budget. Danos achieves world-class safety results and customer loyalty due to a values-based approach and an unyielding commitment to employee engagement and training.

Describe your personal journey to becoming a CEO who “gets it.” What experiences or lessons brought you to where you are now?

During the very early years of my career, one of my responsibilities was to act as a first responder to any incident. This allowed me to meet with anyone and everyone who was involved in an incident. I witnessed the pain, disappointment and embarrassment that many felt as a result of accidents, regardless if it was a personal injury, environmental or equipment-related. No one wants to be involved directly or indirectly in any type of failure or incident. I realized that this is a complex issue and required employee training, culture reshaping and commitment from management to improve safety and reduce incidents. Fortunately, as I was growing in awareness and experience, many of our partner service providers and customers were realizing that together we could impact not only safety but morale and productivity. We realized that as we worked together on communicating and improving the workplace safety culture, good things would follow. The journey began many years ago and is continuous.

Why is safety a core value at your organization?

Safety is important to our employees and their families. It is important to our customers, our communities, owners and all of our stakeholders. We realize that safety is the first and the most basic responsibility that each of us must share in, and therefore it must be core to who we are and all that we do.

What is the biggest obstacle to safety at your organization, and how do you work to overcome it?

I believe that all people desire to be safe and want to execute good, safe work practices. Not all are equally knowledgeable in safe work practices, therefore it is our job to offer training, programs and assurances that confirm we are committed to the safety of all our team members. Additionally, the challenge for management is often to help our people understand that deadlines and competing priorities should not compromise safety. This is easier said than done. Therefore, we have to consistently demonstrate that safety is a core value and our first priority. Helping our team members understand and believe that they have a right and obligation to intervene when they sense an issue is a process that we must encourage continually.

How do you instill a sense of safety in employees on an ongoing basis?

Walk the talk. Folks are very perceptive and know when we mean what we say. We must be sincere, clear and innovative in the way we offer training, develop safe work practices and implement safety tools. We must communicate that we care and are willing to place safety above production. This is a process that always needs to be reinforced and refreshed. Communication must be consistent, from the CEO to the “shop floor,” so to speak. Our organization develops safety goals for each department and group at the beginning of the year. These are published and measured. My safety performance and involvement is plain for anyone to see, and they can help hold me accountable.

How does your organization measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe your organization is, and where do you see room for improvement?

We measure a number of indicators and attempt to gain insight, which can be applied forward. Total recordable incident rate reports and near-miss reports are studied for clues as to how we may improve. We also realize that the more engaged our workforce is with safety, the better our program can become. We measure and encourage participation in a behavior-based safety observation program, job safety and environment analysis, and employee safety forums. The challenge is to keep our programs interesting and meaningful so that our employees want to participate. We know that when our field teams feel a sense of ownership we are much more successful. The information and communication pipeline is always at work with events such as a weekly Wednesday morning safety call. Team members from literally all over the world can and do call in for a 30-minute safety discussion. We also employ a robust electronic communication system to keep information flowing. Finally, we provide safety information that can be used at jobsites by field team members, safety professionals, account managers or any staff visitor.

What role does off-the-job safety play in your organization’s overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety and health programs does your organization offer to employees?

It is important for our team members to be safe and healthy at home as well as at work. Healthy folks on our worksites is a must. Many of the safety lessons learned and applied at work are equally useful at home. We have regular campaigns regarding safety issues during holidays, hunting seasons, vacations and home improvement activities. Some years ago, we began a children’s safety poster calendar contest. This was an opportunity for our team members to help and teach their children about safety. A company safety calendar was published with the winning poster designs. Our BBS observation program promotes use at home as well as at work. Danos has a BBS app that is easily downloaded to any phone and allows our team members and their families to participate.

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