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Episode 04 | Safety And... Leadership with Jarrod Tomassi by LAPCO FR

Safety And... Leadership:

Lauren chats with Safety Director & US Veteran, Jarrod Tomassi GSP, MS. Listen as they discuss Becoming a Safety Professional (3:42), Designing the Perfect Safety Garment (17:14), What it takes to be a Leader (32:26), and play a Leadership Quote Match Game (43:33).





This podcast is sponsored by LAPCO manufacturing. LAPCO: premium workwear since 1989.


Lauren Brizendine  0:27 

Hey everyone, welcome to Safety And…, a laughing and learning podcast where we talk about safety and whatever else is on your mind. I'm your host, Lauren Brizandine. And today we are talking about safety and leadership. And I am with safety director, Jarrod Tomassi, who will be joining us on our show today. Welcome.


Jarrod Tomassi  0:52 

Thank you, Lauren. I appreciate it.


Lauren Brizendine  0:54 

Yeah. So, can I tell you what I'm most excited about? So, you know, doing this podcast, a lot of people, you know, I use the term safety professional, pretty loosely, I've been told, but you are actually a safety professional, you are a safety director, people in safety would consider you a safety professional, correct?



Jarrod Tomassi  1:19 

Well, you know, we just throw that around, actually. I say, Well, I say it, you know, and I respectfully say it, I have a lot of experience. I have a lot of education. I have a lot of certificates. And I'm really motivated. So, I think I think you've met you know, definitely a safety professional or mentor.


Lauren Brizendine  1:42 

Okay, great, because you have you a little nervous, I thought you were gonna say no. And then I was like, we're just gonna have to cancel this whole podcast, because…


Jarrod Tomassi  1:50 

It actually says graduate safety professional at the end of my name, so…


Lauren Brizendine  1:55 

Well, yeah. Let's talk about your name.


Jarrod Tomassi  1:57 

It’s official.


Lauren Brizendine  1:58

Let's talk about your name. Let's talk about all the acronyms. I talk about acronyms a lot on this show because there's a lot of them and I don't know what they mean, QSSP and l-m-n-o-p, and all these things. So, let's talk about all the acronyms that follow your name and kind of what your credentials are.


Jarrod Tomassi  2:19 

Yeah, sure. So, um, most of my credentials are from education. I don't have an undergraduate on the title of my name because I have a master's degree in environmental management. So that's the MS. from Columbia, Southern University. I highly recommend that program. And great, great experience, there. Very difficult, but a great faculty. Out of that I got my graduate safety professional, from the Board of certified safety professionals, because Columbia Southern University is recognized by them. So. So yes, I guess there is something that says I'm a professional in it. And then, yeah, yeah. And then beyond that, there's a few things. So that's… the only thing I have left on my title and LinkedIn is veteran which I'm really honored and proud to be one.


Lauren Brizendine  3:20

Thank you for serving.


Jarrod Tomassi  3:24 

You got it. Yeah. But you know, there's some things behind there that I that you don't see at all, I'm still a licensed paramedic, and I've got my commercial dive license, and a couple other things. But yeah, I don't tend to put too many up there.


Lauren Brizendine  3:42 

Well, well, I knew you had quite the history, though. So, I did you know, we're in good hands talking about safety with you. Um, tell us what does a typical day look like for you? I mean, are you know, paramedic - ing, one second, and then you know, leading the next second, what is a day like for you?


Jarrod Tomassi  4:07 

You know, so, as a creature of habit. I try… I try to maintain a healthy, healthy day but you know, and that's, that's because we really want to get ahead of the day and be proactive. Unfortunately, in construction industry and the safety industry, circumstances that are unforeseen happen a lot. So, it goes against everything I really want. [laughter] But no, I start my day off, yeah, at 5:20am. I like to go to the gym at 6-6:15. I'm in the plan of the day, right around 7:00 on top, you know and a lot of coordination meeting. Basically, right after that it’s a little bit of stretch and bend. I love to spend the mornings in the field. And then it's, you know, it's meetings. Unfortunately, in my position, there's a lot of meetings and those come from, you know, from the customer, senior leadership, trade partner leadership, and then a lot of actions come out of those. Unfortunately, you know, property damage happens, environmental things happen. You know, injuries happen. And it's, you know, depending on how large or small, more, you know, things could come out of those, like a root cause analysis, and some other things. Try to wind down the day around 4:00 looking at some of the Action List prepping for the next day's meetings. And then get out, you know, at 5:00, hopefully, but, and then.


Lauren Brizendine  5:54 

Record podcasts…


Jarrod Tomassi  5:55 

Go home, eat dinner, and then, yeah, yeah, and then check my emails at night just to try and get ahead of the next day. So that's kind of what it looks like.


Lauren Brizendine  6:06 

Sounds very busy, for sure. I mean, and with all those credentials, I'm not surprised.


Jarrod Tomassi  6:15 

Yeah, there's a lot of pressure, you know, and I and I say that because I want people who are interested in the professions to not think it's, it's easy. There's a lot of pressure. It's extremely challenging. It's, it's unpredictable. There's a lot of confrontation, because the things that, you know, 95% of our day, is, is finding people doing really good things wins. But 5% of our day is correcting stuff. And, and those don't go as easy even with the best, you know, um, so it's, it's, it's, it's, it's a fun, challenging career. So, if you're, if you're in it, or joining it,


Lauren Brizendine  7:05 

Well, welcome to the Jungle, right. I mean, that's what it sounds like.


Jarrod Tomassi  7:08 



Lauren Brizendine  7:10 

Well, I am glad to be talking with the best. Did you know at a young age that you wanted to be in safety? Like, how did how did you get like, what led you up to here?


Jarrod Tomassi  7:24 

So, are you ready for an interesting story?


Lauren Brizendine  7:27 

I mean, that's why I do the podcast. I'm in it for the stories.


Jarrod Tomassi  7:35 

Yeah, so I was actually born in Los Angeles and in East LA, you know, like Cheech and Chong. I literally didn't even graduate high school. I started work at 16 to help pay the bills. And got a GED at 16 so that I could actually go to work, the requirement was to have a high school diploma. So, I went and got mine early, and, you know, worked. And then I joined the army, to really kind of get out of that, that atmosphere that I was in. And then the army took me into becoming a combat medic to an EMT, to a commercial diver to piloting submarines to paramedic took me in the firefighting. firefighting took me into the science fiction channel where I went around the world for about six months introduced to international work ended up in Iraq as a as a as a critical care paramedic, got introduced to the oil and gas industry, went to Africa for six years. And then that's where I started picking up my degrees and learning about safety. I didn't even know it existed. And then once I finished my bachelor's, marathon oil actually brought me onto their team as their lead for a refinery. So, it was like, dropped me in the middle of Atlantic and find shore, you know, and so that's how I found safety.


Lauren Brizendine  9:09 

What as…


Jarrod Tomassi  9:11 



Lauren Brizendine  9:12 

Right? Yeah, I would say so. I mean, if I'm being honest, like, if I could go to Africa and find safety, I mean, I'm, I'm, I'm all about that. That must have been fantastic.


Jarrod Tomassi  9:27 

I can tell you how to do it.


Lauren Brizendine  9:28 

Okay, well, you know, maybe after the show, if things don't work out for me here, I'd say. It's nice to know that you never know where your journey is gonna take you. But I do want to talk about you know… at LAPCO, we talk about, you know, the aspects that it takes to get a job done, whether it be you know, getting the job done takes perseverance or courage. What aspects are needed, would you say in your line of work, like, in essence, like, what does it take for you to get the job done or for your team to get the job done?


Jarrod Tomassi  10:09 

Yeah, so when I, when I interview, folks, I look at four things, and I almost I said them in the beginning, I look first at passion. Like, I think that you need to be driven by something more than interest in a, in a career like safety. Because, you know, we're, we're affecting people's lives. You know, even making the decision that that someone's not a good fit for our program is, is a career changer for that person, you know, working every day to make sure someone goes home to their, what's important to them, even if it's, you know, a hobby, or a loved one or retirement in two weeks. If you're not driven, and you want to do, you know, you just want to show up and do 80%, I'd say this isn't the right career for you. Because you're affecting people's lives, you know, what I mean? Um, and so next, I look at education. Because it's, it's, it's a very didactic industry, it's very technical, there's a lot of regulations involved. There's a lot of soft skills that are needed that you gain with education. And then education also says you committed to something and saw it through. So, you know, that's important. And then certifications, you know, that's the technical side. So, a lot of folks will focus on a strength maybe like excavation or, or lifting operations or scaffolding or maybe a mix of some, which is, would be my third, um, and then experience, which would be my fourth because, you know, I think the reason I have the opportunity to become a safety director is because my… I had those three things plus experience, right. So, a lot of the things I bring to the table is knowledge that you don't get taught anywhere. You only have to learn it in in sadly, I learned it by, you know, basically falling down and having to pick myself up. But now I've had help with, with team members that did that, for me, wasn't I wasn't alone. But that's what you bring to the table with some scars, you know. So, you know, those four things are, are what you need. And I saw a post on LinkedIn that says, you know, would you pick education or character? Like, I would pick either one separate, like, I'm picking both, because, because I'm not, I'm not bringing someone on to a site that requires them to protect lives, because they're just a friendly person. Like, you don't get a job doing safety. You know, that's great. That's something you look for, but you have this is, this is a profession, this is a, you know, oh, yeah, and there's plenty of people that have a lot of that stuff… all four.


Lauren Brizendine  13:25 

I will say, I'm more of an enthusiast, like, do not hire me, I can definitely get you there on passion. And, you know, I'm learning you talk about education, but I am learning so much through the podcasts. And, and, you know, I've been in, in my field for a while. So, I have I have the experience and, you know, I just I love just the message that you're sending, because I think not only is that true of your field, but that could be true of any field, whether it be apparel, or, you know, whatever young kids graduating college might be going, you know, facing as they graduate. So that's excellent advice.


Jarrod Tomassi  14:09 

Yeah, and I will put a little disclaimer on there, there's different levels of safety. You know, there are, you know, there's some folks that there's levels in in the job, I'm at that I don't need a lot of experience. You know, we're getting young professionals out of college, but they're not, they're not safety directors, and they're not safety managers, and they're not senior safety. You know, the engineers, there's an opportunity for everybody to start, but I'm looking for all four at every level, in parallel to what they're getting hired, you know, so you don't need a master's degree. You don't need a bachelor's degree. And sometimes even the folks with, you know, coming up through the trades can bring a lot more to the table. But, but they, they will be restricted on some certain things that require technical writing. It's, it's just the truth.


Lauren Brizendine  15:08 

It sounds like kind of a, like an art and science, like a balance, you know, really to find the right personality, but also have like the technical aspects as well.


Jarrod Tomassi  15:21 

Yeah, yeah, we even interview for almost positions like I, you know, just recently I'm looking for a really strong field safety professional. And so, I'm not looking for a lot of education in that particular person. I'm looking for that leadership skills, that the technical skills, the boots on the ground, you know, background. And then a lot of times you're looking more like in the certification realm, like, are they instructor type folks, I just also recently hired for a manager's position in the and I, I feel that they need to be more educated to navigate, you know, some of the plan writing and some of the procedure writing and stuff like that. There are folks that don't have education that can do that. But that is an exception. That's just an exception.


Lauren Brizendine  16:19 

Well, I think it's interesting, you know, you talking about hiring people and kind of building a team, because I know we're going to get into the leadership aspect of it. But I was once told that when you're hiring a team, you know, you want to kind of find people that can bring maybe what you don't have, you know, I had a bad habit of wanting to hire people that were just like me, you know, little Laurens to run around and just be passionate about everything. But when it came to maybe some of the more technical things my team was lacking, right? So, I think it's, it's good that you in what you're saying is, you know, hey, where this guy might bring experience, he'll still need, you know, education, and maybe there's someone on the team who has education, who may be less experienced. So, I love kind of that concept, for sure.

Now, I work in apparel, safety apparel, but apparel nonetheless, and you work in safety. And I was, I was kind of talking about just how much I'm enjoying learning about safety. I'm curious as someone who has to wear safety apparel, if you could design like, the perfect safety garment or, or, like, if you could just tell people, your safety garments have to have these things. What would that design look like? What are you looking for? I just had to ask, because if I'm sitting down with a safety director, I need to know about the, the, you know, the technical aspects of what I do, which is making the clothes so I'm very curious to what you have to say about that.


Jarrod Tomassi  18:04 

Yeah, so like a Kevlar bubble. No, I'm just joking.


Lauren Brizendine  18:08 

Okay. I'd like one in my personal life just to hang out in, you know.


Jarrod Tomassi  18:10 

Yeah. Clear Kevlar bubble. So uh, so I came from oil and gas. And actually, LAPCO was quite popular in oil and gas. I remember even having LAPCO little thing on my… And so, I got really comfortable of actually having fr pants, actually fr jeans. Yeah. And then of course, the steel toed shoes, and then I wore fr henleys a lot. So just real comfortable long sleeves. And we worked in Africa. So, it was it was hot and humid it, but it was very nice, keeping that sun off of my off of my arms and stuff like that. And then it also protected my forearms just in in reaching and grabbing stuff. Um, so it became quite like normal and common for me. When I got in the construction industry, I literally was like, you know, we have to have four-inch sleeves. At a minimum. It's kind of like what you'll see on typical jobs and I'd find people with their sleeves up, you know, trying to show the guns and I'm thinking I'm still wearing fr henleys because I had a closet full of I'm not gonna buy you know, buy these things. And I had this closet full. And I was thinking man, why wouldn't why wouldn't we require? First of all, there the FR never made me feel hotter than a typical cotton long sleeve, so, it wasn't more uncomfortable. I was like man, why don't we just require fr henleys or fr even if you're not, you know using hot work or you know, exposed to a flame or so The flag or something? Because it was comfortable. So, if I were to design something I would say the FR Henley with cut resistant sleeves… that way… Yeah. Yeah. Because then you're killing two birds with one stone, you know, you're there not the cut resistance is simple to accomplish, because they already have cut resistant sleeves that you slip on. Right? I put them on and they're no longer they're no more uncomfortable than, than your typical fr sleeve. So, I was like, Man, cut resistant FR sleeves would be cool.


Lauren Brizendine  20:42 

Okay, now I gotta… go. Like,


Jarrod Tomassi  20:42 

That's my trademark.


Lauren Brizendine  20:44 

Yes. That Yes. I'm not gonna steal it. Now, I will say does is it sparking some inspiration that maybe there's an abrasion story? Like, I don't know, maybe? We'll give you guys some like? Elbow pads? Yeah, there's something I don't know. There's a lot of possibilities…


Jarrod Tomassi  21:04 

You know, even if it's not FR but cut resistant long sleeve shirts. So that you don't, because the ones you put on now you slip up and they fall, they want to fall down. And so, they're very, like, you know, it's like, I don't know, like a pantyhose or something just keeps always falling down.


Lauren Brizendine  21:23 

Well, I saw the coolest thing, because I'm kind of a geek for like smart fabrics, and things like that. And I actually saw there was a self-mending fabric in like a backpack. And it was like, you could cut it. And then you kind of massaged it and like the fibers rebuilt themselves. And I was like, my mind was so blown. So, I would not be surprised if you know, we're probably closer to those things that we even realize.

Well, I want to ask you about, you know, you talked about working in Africa. Now, what are you working on now? Where are you working? Now? What kind of projects do you have going on? Because obviously, your days are very busy. So, I'm sure you have a lot going on? What are we working on right now?


Jarrod Tomassi  22:23 

So, I work for the general contractor. So, I'm the safety director for the GC. Um, I oversee a mega project, a data center project in, in Illinois. Just out of respect, I know we could probably Google that stuff. So, I'll let folks Google. But I'll leave you know, the customer's name out of the out of the narrative. So, what does it look like? We're basically building a million square foot data center on 500 acres. At peak, you know, we're looking at about 1400 people. We're about 700 now. You know, there's 25 safety professionals on site. Right now, we've got an onsite clinic with anywhere from two to three medics a day with, you know, telemedicine capabilities. We've got a wellness coach that's here Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays to help you know with mind health and ergonomics. We got three big craft tents that seat 150 people spaced COVID compliance. We got you have paved trade parking lots. Billboards after billboards of education and audio visual and so it's a little city.


Lauren Brizendine  24:05 

It sounds like a good time. If I'm being 100% honest. I'm like, oh my gosh, COVID spacing and in a craft tent, like, yeah, craft services bring for it for sure. Um…


Jarrod Tomassi  24:21 

Yeah. Yeah.


Lauren Brizendine  24:23 

The last question I kind of wanted to ask you before we start transitioning into leadership, which I'm super excited to talk about, we've kind of already started talking about it. Um, you know, obviously, you mentioned COVID. So, you know, let's, let's get the COVID question out of the way. But I do want to ask you about safety in the new normal, what are your, you know, crystal ball predictions as to what that's going to look like, you know, this year in 2021, or even five years from now or 10 years from now.


Jarrod Tomassi  25:04 

Did you say COVID?


Lauren Brizendine  25:06 

Well, I'm saying like post-COVID world, like, what do you think safety's gonna look like now in this post-COVID world?


Jarrod Tomassi  25:17 

Wow. So, I don't. So, I guess I would think about how long COVID is going to last? So, I don't know how long COVID would last? I do, I do, I do see that we're losing, you know, effective communication through a lot of these zoom type calls. Verbal cues, body language, you know, closed loop communication. So those are some difficulties we're dealing with.

Some companies post [COVID] believe that we're, we might be able to eliminate some project members on site. Not eliminate the position, but eliminate the need for them on site. I think that looks more like post-COVID more like the business unit, maybe like the, you know, the folks in the office, not necessarily the project site, because there's so much more than a meeting that goes along with, you know, we got to be boots on the ground. So, I think that you'll see a lot of corporations continue to, to keep, you know, remote, remote work. But I don't feel it's going to affect construction projects as much. Um, you know, I'm kind of philosophical, I think, post-COVID. You know, once we get through this, I think there's going to be a huge morale boost, and to remember what we were capable of, like, enduring and still build legacies, you know. And, and it's going to remind us that we, you know, even with these challenges, we can move a little bit smoother to accomplish the same task. I think it slowed us down, but it didn't slow down our, our progress. So, for me, it's more philosophical, like, we're all we're able to do some amazing stuff, even in a slower style, because everything's more but more planned out now, you know.


Lauren Brizendine  27:57 

Yeah, for sure. I love that, you know, as we kind of talked to people, we ask that question, in various ways, a lot of people kind of resonate that, that optimism, like you said, like, you think it's your like, it's gonna be good, it's gonna be maybe better in some way. So, I feel hopeful that everyone's kind of saying the same thing and, and singing the same message. All right…



Jarrod Tomassi  28:29 

That is good to hear.


Lauren Brizendine  28:32 

As well, we are going to get ready to talk leadership. But I do want to thank you for talking safety with us. And before we completely jump into leadership, I just want to allow you the opportunity to close the loop on what we've talked about so far today, in terms of safety, you know, whether you're a young kid looking to, you know, be a safety director, or whether your life is taking you through some crazy journey of the military and Africa and you're about to land into safety. Anything you want to kind of say to close the loop in our conversation.


Jarrod Tomassi  29:16 

Yeah, so I would say, I would say, don't, don't find honor in being the lone wolf, or the proud lion. I know you see those on t-shirts, and they look really cool. But don't, don't trailblaze. People… a lot of us who who've grown up that way or were trained to be the strong, you know, leader or whatever, we just reinvented the wheel. Someone already did it. So, don't feel like you need to it doesn't, you know, at the end of the day, I learned like, Wow, man, why did you do that? Like, why did you make all those mistakes again, you could have just asked me. And so that's my, that's my takeaway of that is, is, um, ask for help. Yeah, you know, you want to become a safety director, go to a safety director, and say, how did you do it? What were the challenges? What, how did you make those doors open? What type of education Do you think I need? Can you take a look at my resume? Because, you know, a good mentor knows what, what you're going through. And if they, you know, do the old thing of, you know, bring me a 90% report, and I'll help you with the other 10… No that, you know, bring me what you got and let me help you with whatever you need. But of course, that doesn't mean you enable someone. You're not… I'm not gonna do them. I'm gonna tell them how to get there with what they know. So just ask, ask, ask for help.


Lauren Brizendine  31:10 

I love that. I love that. Well, we will talk more about… you brought up that lone wolf and we will talk more about that after our break.


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Lauren Brizendine  32:26 

Okay, welcome back everyone. We are talking about safety and leadership with Jarrod Tomassi. And before the break, you mentioned the lone wolf and I wanted to ask you about that because I did see a picture that you posted on LinkedIn. And it said this is what leadership is like. And it was, it was kind of sad if I'm being 100% honest, I was affected emotionally. And it was like a picture of a wolf with like arrows in him. And I need to know the symbolism. All of our listeners, America, needs to know right now what it what does that mean exactly?


Jarrod Tomassi  33:09 

America needs to know? Yeah. So, you gotta… yeah, you got to really unpack that picture. Some folks thought, you know, here's this lone wolf with arrows and leadership is you know, hard because you get stabbed in the back. Well, first of all, not many wolves travel alone. That was a picture of a dominant wolf male or female, I don't even know the gender that is probably leading a pack. So, not alone. Right.


Lauren Brizendine  33:45 

That's what I felt.


Jarrod Tomassi  33:46 

The second part of that. Yeah. And the second part of that was that wolf wasn't getting stabbed in the back, he's taking hits, because he leads from the front or she leads from the front. And so, whatever those hits are, are represented by the arrows. If you find yourself alone, and getting stabbed in the back, you're probably not doing very good in leadership. If you find yourself standing tall and taking hits for your team, you might be doing really well. So that's the symbolism of that picture. If you unpack it, you know…


Lauren Brizendine  34:28 

Well, I was sad because I'm an animal lover, so I think just to see any animal hurt I was… but I did take more of the like, that is like a leader and they're getting hurt at for the sake of their team. Like that was definitely clear and you know, and sad at the same time. But…


Jarrod Tomassi  34:51 

Yeah, well I you know, think about that like as a mom and dad too. That, you know, as that Wolf and what you would do for your kids and that's servant leadership. You know, and that's all servant leadership is, is connecting the heart and mind and making decisions based on ingredients from both things. And if, if you're doing leadership right, meaning you're leading from the front, you will encounter, you know, damage. But that's why you're put up there because that's where the experience, education, certificates, and passion help build that armor. Now, if you fall, you know, your team knows that you've done this, and they'll pick you up, you know, but it's not their job to take arrows. It's your job, you know. So, it's Don't be sad. It was just a picture, it was…


Lauren Brizendine  35:59 

It’s an emotional roller coaster, because I'm like, sad. But then you say, like, leadership connecting the heart in the mind, and then I'm inspired. And I want that on a T shirt. So, you know, I think but you know, and so such is leadership, right, it is a bit of an emotional journey, which I want to talk about a little bit. You know, how does one get on the path to leadership? And essentially, what I'm asking is, you know, some people say leaders aren't made they're born, which, you know, I have some thoughts about that. But this is not my question. This is yours. But how does one get on that path to leadership? I mean, do you have to be born on February 24th? Or, like, can you truly have that mentorship and kind of be molded?


Jarrod Tomassi  36:52 

Yeah, so think about leadership in a couple of ways. So, there are folks who are vice presidents of an accounting team that lead them? Um, so do you need to be Type A in accounting? I don't think so. I don't. I think Matter of fact, a lot of my friends who are accounting are quite introverted. There's not a lot of, you know, rallying in their team, huddles, and inspirational big talks, not because they don't know how it's because I don't think I don't think it's quite need it? I just… maybe not? So, do you need to be Type A? No, no matter of fact a Type A might actually be a double-edged sword. You might want to be a Type A in the fire department. But you know, then again, some Type A's not… I think you need to be like a Type A/B, you know,


Lauren Brizendine  37:57 

Ok I like that. Type A- or a Type B+.


Jarrod Tomassi  38:02 

Yeah. So, how do you so I just wanted to go there first, you don't need to be strong and intimidating or whatever. You know, actually, I think those are some of the some of the things that you shouldn't be. I think you need to be courageous. Yeah, I think you need to be able to have conversations with people about performance, that are uncomfortable without being intimidating. So, if I sat you down and said, Hey, you know, do you have a moment that we can talk? I'm already asking you a question that they could say no to. And most people are told that no, come to my office and sit. No, that's very rude. And that's not how you start a conversation. It's can I have some of your time because I'd like to share some things with you. The other part of that is when you're about to share that you got to you got to set it up as in this affects me, you know, it's a difference between I'm angry with you or I'm disappointed. Um so before I go into that rabbit trail, courage is where I think most leaders rise. The other part of that is hard work. You know, if you're not courageous and working hard, I think I think that's not gonna, you're not gonna get followed. So, you're very courageous. You have great conversations with me, but you leave before I do and show up later and you don't produce as much.


Lauren Brizendine  39:28 



Jarrod Tomassi  39:29 

So, it's Yeah, it's low. Think about an athlete. You know, we the only way you win is through courage and hard work. Yeah. That's it. That's it, you know, so I'd say that if you want to become a leader, be courageous and not aggressive, and be prepared to work harder than anybody on your team.


Lauren Brizendine  39:56 

Yes. And I am glad you're breaking down some of those stereotypes too because to your point, I think leadership is sometimes portrayed, like you said, as more of like a general in an army, you know, someone who's very, you know, Type A tight, you know, just, I think Napoleon Bonaparte, you know, just a leader who's a little intimidating. So, I like how you're really breaking this down that, you know, that's not what it's about.


Jarrod Tomassi  40:32 

Yeah, yeah, you know, there's a, there's a, so if you look at the military, so I came from the military, um, there are different sections of the military that people see and tend to believe, you know, that the mud, so the majority of the military needs young men and women to go to high risk places, with a potential losing life, and to take another that there is not a lot of influential leadership in that because there's not a lot of time to talk and discuss what to do and how you want to do it. When, when, when bullets are flying at you. Yeah, that type of leadership works in certain areas of the battlefield. At the end of the day, though, you do have to bunk up and you do have to be with one another. And so, there's a lot if you watch a lot of military shows, there's a lot of lot of love, and a lot of servant leadership, meaning we know each other intimately. And so, you know, at the end of the day, we know each other's you know, husbands, wives, kids, birthdays, everything we're family. And so, we go, we, you know, we look, we walk off the battlefield into a tent with one another for months on a time. That works in a family, there's some dysfunction in a family that will always be forgiven. It's much different than showing up at six o'clock and going home at five and having nothing to do with your team member and at the end of the day. Um, because there's no room for all that healing to happen over lunches and dinners and outings and, and recreation, you know. So, I just wanted to take the perspective, you gotta remember these folks, you see that yellin’ and stuff. Once the battle is over, there's hugging. Now, there's another part of the part of the military that you don't see. And that's if you've watched a lot of these special forces teams. They, they treat each other a lot different. They're a well-oiled machine that needs a function like one. And there is no yelling, and there's no there isn't that dictator like authoritarian leadership. Because you know who's in charge? You don't… you don't challenge that, and no one has to say who they are. And they are well-oiled. So, they know their boundaries. They know, they've already stormed, they've already had all those hard conversations over yours that you don't see. And so, you know, a lot, you don't have to be Type A you know, you just don't and, and Type A isn't doesn't mean you're mean, it just means that you're a little bit, you know, more extroverted than an introvert, it's…


Lauren Brizendine  43:33 

Thank you, thank you for standing up for us Type A personalities because I was I was starting to get sad. I was like, maybe I'm not a good leader.

Well, I do want to start transitioning into our fun thing, because first of all, this has been an absolute pleasure. And you have said so many things, so many quotable quotes, at least to me, whether it's, you know, leadership connects the heart and the mind or just now talking about how leadership is essentially service in some ways, you know, in the love part of leadership and, and how it takes courage and hard work. And, I mean, like I said, I'm gonna need all these on a T shirt.

But the idea of leadership quotes is kind of what spawned our fun thing that I am going to call, you know, leadership advice. And basically, what I'm gonna do is read a few quotes from some very, you know, notable leaders throughout history. And I'll give you multiple choice because, you know, I don't know that I could match, you know, Mother Teresa with all of her wonderful quotes, but I will give you kind of a multiple choice and matching the leader with their quote. So that could be our little fun thing to end with. Does that sound fun?


Jarrod Tomassi  44:58 

It does. I'm nervous.


Lauren Brizendine  45:00 

Yeah, you know, I think you're gonna do fine, I think you're gonna do fine. So, I'm going to start I don't know if this is an easy one or a hard one. So, I'm just gonna start, but the quote is,

“The nation will find it very hard to look up to leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.”

Was it:

Margaret Mead that said that,

General Montgomery that said that,

or Sir Winston Churchill that said that?


Jarrod Tomassi  45:35 

I'm gonna go with Sir Winston Churchill.


Lauren Brizendine  45:38 

Ding Ding. Okay, so I'm so excited about this. They can put a bell in post-production. So, I don't even need to have a bell. But you are correct. So very good job. All right.


Jarrod Tomassi  45:50 

He likes to say nation. That's why.


Lauren Brizendine  45:53 

Okay, you know, I feel like that's why I kind of picked that one. Because I was like, I feel like he could actually get this one because there was enough context clues. I feel like for you to get it. So, you know, and I want you to succeed. So, I'm trying to kind of pick, I don't wanna say the easy ones, but just the ones that are kind of calling out to me. So excellent job.

Our second quote, now, this one's interesting. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Was that Lao Zhu?
(I hope I'm saying that correctly. And if not, I'm sure I'll hear about how I said it incorrectly.)

Is that a proverb?

Or was that Steve Jobs?


Jarrod Tomassi  46:45 

Can you repeat it?


Lauren Brizendine  46:46 

The quote is “Where there is no vision the people perish.”


Jarrod Tomassi  46:53 

Yeah, it's not a proverb. I would think that… I’m thinking more art of war, but that's Sun Tzu. I'm gonna go with Steve Jobs.


Lauren Brizendine  47:07 

Actually, it is a proverb. It's Proverbs 29:18.


Jarrod Tomassi  47:15 

It is! Oh, my good… I'm gonna have to look it up. Because I love the book of Proverbs. I just don't remember it saying that. I wonder what I wonder what Bible type it is.


Lauren Brizendine  47:27 

Yeah, you know, it didn't really give. It didn't really say but I just thought you know, maybe he'll know this one because it's short. And I feel like proverbs are typically short. So that was, you know, I but very educated guess though, as well.


Jarrod Tomassi  47:45 

Fun. No, it's fun. It's fun.


Lauren Brizendine  47:46 

Yeah, I'm learning a lot about you know, all I didn't realize their leadership quotes were really everywhere you look. Which leads me to our next one, which is, “We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”

 Was that Nelson Mandela that said that?

Was it Bill Gates?

Or was it Whoopi Goldberg?


Jarrod Tomassi  48:16 

Wow. Man, that's a cool quote. We're talking about that South Africa right. Nelson Mandela that South Africa.


Lauren Brizendine  48:29 

I think that's where he was. Are you saying he said the quote?


Jarrod Tomassi  48:35 

I'm thinking I'm gonna get I'm done literally guessing. I'm saying Nelson Mandela.


Lauren Brizendine  48:38 

Okay, great guess but it is actually…


Jarrod Tomassi  48:42 

I don't get the bell.


Lauren Brizendine  48:43 

You don't get the bell. Maybe they'll put a buzzer? Maybe not. I'll try to I'll tell him stay away from the buzzer. It’s actually Whoopi Goldberg. Which…


Jarrod Tomassi  48:54 

How funny.


Lauren Brizendine  48:56 

I when I saw that. She said that. I was like I have to. I have to use that one. Because I think it's a great one.


Jarrod Tomassi  49:06 

It is fun. It's a good one.


Lauren Brizendine  49:08 

Yeah, I'm gonna I want that one on a T shirt. So, for everyone keeping up with all my T shirt requests. Please add that.

Okay, well, I am going to try to end on one more. And let me see if I can find one. That I just feel kind of. You know, there's so many, like, if I'm being 100% honest. It's hard to choose just one because I could just play this game. You know? Like, I can have a whole podcast of just doing this, but I am going to end on... Let's see. Let's see. Let's see. Oh my god. It's um, I'm like pressured. I'm just trying to pick one. Okay. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or…”


Jarrod Tomassi  50:07 

Andrew Carnegie.


Lauren Brizendine  50:09 

Oh, my goodness, I you know what I knew you would get that one. That's what I was looking for the perfect one that I was like, I know, he's gonna just know this because he probably has it on a T shirt. So…


Jarrod Tomassi  50:19 

I knew that one, I was surprised I knew that one.


Lauren Brizendine  50:23 

And wait…


Jarrod Tomassi  50:25 

Go ahead and say the whole thing.


Lauren Brizendine  50:26 

Yeah, I'll finish reading the quote, by Andrew Carnegie, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” So, I thought that was a good also kind of wrapping up exactly everything we talked about. So, it was like, I don't know if there's like an explosive bell that can go off. Now, I think I'm just making too many requests for our sound team. But good job on answering that. And thank you for playing our fun game.


Jarrod Tomassi  51:00 

Very fun. Thank you.


Lauren Brizendine  51:02 

Well, I just want to thank you for not just playing our fun game, but also for talking about safety and leadership. If I'm being honest, this has been one of my favorite recordings to date, just because I feel not only very passionate about the topic of leadership, but also any opportunity I have to further my education, in learning about safety is very important to me, because I think for me in my role to understand more about the end users who use our product is just so critical. So, having you to really shed insight has just been fantastic in so many ways. So, I really appreciate you.


Jarrod Tomassi  51:53 

Yeah, thank you for having me. Really fun. I can't believe it's been an hour already.



Special thanks to Jared Tomassi, Safety Director for talking to us today about safety and leadership.


If you enjoyed listening to the safety in podcast today, be sure to like, review, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Also, if you're interested in being a guest on our show, please email That's marketing at L A P C



Since this is a safety podcast, we should probably mention this disclaimer. The Safety And… podcast is recorded and made available by Lapco Manufacturing Inc. solely for informational and entertainment purposes. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be considered by any listener as professional provision and/or direct a specific course of action. The statements, comments, views, and opinions expressed here, including by speakers who are not employees or agents of Lapco, are not necessarily those of Lapco and may not be current. This podcast may not be reproduced, redistributed, published, copied, or duplicated in any form by any means without written consent from Lapco Manufacturing, Inc.

This is Lauren Brizendine with Lapco Manufacturing and remember safety doesn’t happen by accident. Stay safe and see you next time on the Safety And… Podcast.

The Safety And… podcast is produced by LAPCO Manufacturing with marketing and media by Lauren Brizendine and Tiffany Giroir, audio engineering by Christopher Hamlin, and music by Smokehouse Beats.


That's easy. Cool.