Meet Ian Linnell-Simmons - Director of Safety and this year's first Hard Hat Hang Up.
How did you get into the construction industry?
The honest answer is not the typical answer you would expect – but I was finishing my degree in Sport and Exercise Science (Liverpool England) and realized that I wanted to not have a boring desk job but to leave a lasting mark in my community more than being a coach in sports even though I love playing sports. This made me think and realize Construction would meet this need by the challenges that it creates but also that I could point to a building once completed and say I helped create that. I changed paths and restarted with a degree in Construction Management (Liverpool England). I was lucky to be taken on as a summer intern after my first year with a large International GC and was supported through the rest of my schooling while working during time off / holidays etc…. many years later I’m in the DMV working as Director of Safety and excited to see where this journey ends up.
What do you like most about being Director of Safety?
I like that Safety requires you to where many different hats depending on the situations and timing – we have the unique ability to see many projects across various stages of completion while having an influence on the outcomes. Safety helps with the culture of the business, is the mentor / coach at times to associates, is the auditor of safety on projects, is the educator of associates in terms of safety requirements, be a expert in the safety field dealing with stakeholders and our trade partners, act as a vehicle to communicate lessons learned from project to project. This allows me to have contrasting day to days which is unique to the construction Industry compared to most other industries.
What are your top 3 safety tips you want everyone to know and remember?
I have been in Construction for what feels like a lifetime (18 years this summer) there are some things that have stuck with me over time that I believe has steered me in the right direction in not just my career but in life.
1 – Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want to be on the front page of the Newspaper for everyone to read.
2 – If it looks wrong generally it is wrong, and you should ask questions to find out why a short cut was taken and learn from the issue.
3 – Just because it has been done the same way for a long time doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient/safest way to do something. Don’t accept normality always ask more from yourself and others will follow.
You recently joined the Chesapeake team, what do you like most about working at Chesapeake so far?
Coming from a large International Company previously that I got to do and see some amazing projects but, sometimes you could get lost and feel like just a number if you were not careful, during my interview process what came across was the community feel that has been built up within Chesapeake. I was drawn to this and to the Challenge of helping Chesapeake on the next stage of their safety journey. I have been here for just over 3 months now and everyone has done a great job of making me feel very welcome and so part of the team that I sometimes forget that it has been such a short of a time and feel like I have been here forever. To feel so comfortable and part of the team so quickly is a positive to the people I work with daily.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
Outside of work I keep Fairly busy – if it’s not DIY with my Wife (Mary) and our constant project which is our fixer upper house. My two kids take up most of my time. Sebastian is my oldest at 15 and is excelling at High School / Track and Cross Country and Boy scouts which means I tend to support as background coach / mentor and Scout leader not just “Taxi Dad” to and from events. My youngest is Arthur who is 4 and is in PK4 and is just getting into the world of activities with Tots soccer and kids Ballet and in a few months will be starting Cub Scouts too which will mean continuing the traditions from the first kid to the second. When I get a chance to watching my Favorite sports team Liverpool FC you can find me at there supporters bar (Queen Vic) in Dc. When schedules permit as a family we like to get away and either camp or stay in Cabins to get away from the hectic City life of DC. In my down time I like to read and watch films (which actually means I get to sit down for more then 5 mins LOL).