My Story

My Story: Mike C. Farrell


I fell into safety (pardon the pun) by happenstance. After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I joined the Coast Guard because the service’s deep safety culture truly inspired me. Where else could you serve as a maritime safety, security and environmental steward across 11 different mission areas?

You can say I was bitten by the safety bug fresh out of the academy. For 20-plus years, I did my best to personify our motto, “Semper Paratus” – meaning “always ready.” As a regulator of safety, my job was to ensure safety compliance in the maritime sector. I also had to dig deep into what really went on when accidents occurred. This really interested me. The more I could understand the “whys,” the more I felt I could help prevent accidents and keep people safe. It’s like trying to appreciate the size of an iceberg from the surface; until you get to see it below the water, that’s when you really gain an appreciation of its formation.

Having retired from the Coast Guard, I now work as the director of HSE for a private maritime shipping company. Transitioning into the private sector as a safety professional wasn’t easy. My challenge was figuring out how to build a foundation of trust and credibility with our employees. They knew I came from the regulatory side of the house. I needed to show them that I care about their safety. They needed to see what lay beneath in my iceberg.

Mike C. Farrell
Director of Health, Safety, and Environmental
Traverse City, MI

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