Our employee spotlight shines a light on one employee at a time. We value diversity and inclusion and welcome diverse thinking. It takes a village — through collaboration, living safely and driving innovation we realize our goals and help our clients achieve mission success. Our mantra is people first, mission always. As part of National Safety Month, we’ve been featuring employees that focus on safety within each SBU. Today’s Q&A is with Alexandra Brown of IS4.
How did you come to join Amentum?
After working in manufacturing for many years, I was working as safety manager at a plant that was closed due to a merger with another large company, which had newer plants that could manufacture the same products as us. I began looking into jobs where I could diversify my skillset and was interested in the facility operations and maintenance sector at federal government sites, since I felt like I could expand my construction and project management knowledge in this environment. I applied for a job to work on an O&M contract at a federal government agency site and have worked on growing and expanding the safety program at that site ever since.
What is your professional and personal background?
While majoring in environmental science at the University of South Carolina, I wasn’t certain how I wanted to apply my practical knowledge as a career. I was hired as an environmental health and safety intern at General Electric Aviation and was hooked immediately on the fast pace and interesting problem-solving opportunities for the challenges presented by occupational safety and environmental compliance at manufacturing facilities. After another internship at Owens Corning, I was hired on full time into its EHS Leadership Development Program, where I had the opportunity to learn about EHS as well as operations, with a rotation as shift supervisor. After similar roles at Merck and Sherwin-Williams, I transitioned into a role at AECOM to expand my expertise into the unique EHS challenges of the facility operations industry.
Describe the work you do and how you think it makes a positive impact.
On a day-to-day basis, I work to systemically develop and implement site-specific versions of the corporate EHS programs, which of course mirror OSHA and environmental regulatory requirements. I work with important stakeholders in the work force to understand the specific activities we do that present challenges for implementation of these programs, and ensure they are edited accordingly to be site-specific. Then, I work to confirm that each group has the appropriate equipment and training to be compliant with the program requirements. Including multiple members of each department in this process ensures that we earn trust with the groups and that they feel comfortable with our safety team, but also allows them to advise us on how to design solutions that are feasible and as convenient as possible for their coworkers. I feel that every day I am given an opportunity to improve the experience of each employee at our site, while arming them with the knowledge and tools to allow them to go home in the same condition they reported to work that day.
What are some of your accomplishments and/or what has been your proudest career moment?
During my time working in EHS, I have earned my CSP, began work on my MBA, and earned certifications as a trainer for First Aid/CPR/AED, Confined Space, and OSHA General Industry 10- and 30- Hour training. But by far my proudest career moment was while working at a site that had no safety programs, PPE requirements, or safety committee in place when I started, an employee brought to me an article about a safety topic to share with me that they found while they were reading the news in their spare time. The idea that I was able to influence that employee’s level of understanding, interest, and passion for safety to the point where they were sharing things they noticed both inside and outside of work, was the best testament I could have that we were making progress.
What do you enjoy about working for Amentum?
I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the various teams I have worked on at Amentum while working towards a common goal. I have also really enjoyed learning from my co-workers’ rich field of experience, and being surrounded by tradesmen, engineers, and project managers who are experts in their fields.
What are you passionate about?
I feel passionately about protecting people and the environment, as well as traveling to see as much of the environment as possible.
What’s your career advice?
Learning as much as you can about any given task, situation, or topic will help you feel more confident — and no one will ever hold the fact that you are well-informed against you. People appreciate someone who is prepared and has done their research.
What does safety mean to you, or do you have a favorite safety tip?
To me, safety is habit, just like any other good habit in our lives. Once folks are able to get into the habit of mentally identifying hazards, assessing the risk, and identifying the appropriate controls, it’s almost second nature. Like all habits, they become ingrained through practice.
What’s the best invention in the world and why?
While learning the history of industry and construction throughout my career, I have been struck by the huge number of fatalities and severe injuries that have been prevented by fall protection. Despite being a simple concept, the introduction of personal fall arrest systems has revolutionized construction and helped to completely change the attitude that some injuries are unavoidable due to work at heights.