Safety Star of the 1st Quarter 2023

Jeremy Presnal

Shermco Industries
Senior Vice President, EHS & Workforce Development
Irving, Texas

How did you get involved in safety?

I really got interested in safety before starting college in the summer of 1997 while working as an intern at a large coal fired power plant that my father worked at as an FGD Production Team Member. Safety has always been a strong value for me growing up, because I genuinely care about the people doing the work. During my college summer season, I interned at the generating station several times and I always enjoyed the orientation training, as well as the focus they put into their annual safety week for employees and their family members. I ended up changing my major in college to Safety Management and was fortunate enough to be blessed with an internship in the Safety Dept. my last year of college and ultimately, was hired on full time as a Safety Specialist at one of the other fossil generating stations after graduation.

What is your most recent safety related work accomplishment or something you’re proud of?

There are many work related accomplishments that I am extremely proud of and have to say that these initiatives were only possible because of the great team members I have worked with and leaders / mentors that I have had in my career. I have truly enjoyed seeing the measurable performance improvements that an organization can make in critical risk reduction areas (e.g., electrical safety, hazardous energy control, fall protection, process safety, etc.) when you get the right people focused on the right thing. I am have also been active in ASSP for many years and in 2021, I was awarded the Utilities Practice Specialty SPY (Safety Professional of the Year) recognition, and is something I am very grateful for.

What has been your favorite aspect of the VPPPA?

My favorite aspect of VPPPA is the professional networking opportunity that each member and participating organization benefits from. I have met so many talented professionals who are willing to share the knowledge, experiences, tools, resources, etc. to help fellow VPP leads with both achieving and maintaining the VPP flag proudly displayed at their respective company. I also feel it is important to point out that VPP was one of the original safety management systems in industry and still to this day provides an effective roadmap for driving and achieving continuous improvement.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in safety?

My number one most important piece of advise to anyone interested in pursuing a career in safety is to find opportunities to get involved with safety committees within either your organization, industrial safety associations, college / university, community, etc. As there are so many great groups out there that to help mentor, develop and export that next generation of safety professionals…. and please get involved because we need you!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Well one recent / fun fact about me is that my wonderful family (wife Kelly, daughter Allison (age 12) and Matthew (age 10) just welcomed a baby boy named Andrew into our lives this year… as well as have two German Shepherd puppies that are all full of energy and love. So lots going on to keep everyone busy. LOL