My Story: Don Goolsby
My career path into EHS started after I received my degree in engineering, with a career path to become an operations manager in manufacturing. My first job was in quality. However, through my quality connections, I interacted with the various other departments through the implementation of standards such as ISO-9001 and ISO-14001. My connection to safety began with my technical interface with human resources in assisting it with OSHA compliance and related training. We were able to formalize the PPE, hazard communication and lockout/tagout processes, as well as control the chemicals coming in and out of the facility.
My connection to environmental compliance began with my interface with plant facilities and its requirements to become compliant with the updated EPA requirements. As a result, we were able to reduce our hazardous wastewater and air emissions to meet the new EPA standards.
The ISO standards, along with the quality experience, assisted me in tying together operations, safety and environment. The newer version of the ISO standards aligned the various sections, enabling me to address EHS requirements and operations as well as quality requirements in the same set of procedures and instructions. My experience in quality gave me insight into how to address corrective actions and continuous improvements as well as the audit process for EHS.
My next job experience started in quality, operations and project management; however, I once again would find myself involved in EHS. My EHS experiences have continued in other jobs. They included building a safety program to include procedures, metrics and safety committees; addressing permitting and regulatory requirements; and ongoing safety training for all employees.
EHS was not the original career path I had planned to take; however, I have been on this track most of my career. I believe safety should be No. 1 on any company’s list of priorities. Also, protecting the environment is another paramount goal companies should take seriously. I would conclude that creating a safe work environment and protecting the environment we live in are passions of mine.