How long have you worked at the U of L?
I just celebrated my two-year anniversary in February.
As Chief Safety Officer, what are your main duties?
With the assistance of my team, we are responsible for program development related to the Campus Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management disciplines. Essentially, we assist the University in identifying and addressing its risks and vulnerabilities in order to avoid unanticipated losses. Specifically, my duties include establishing and maintaining safety policies and programs, security duties and responses, administering the University's insurance program, and helping the University develop emergency response plans and respond to emergency situations such as COVID 19.
How have your duties changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
They’ve changed significantly. The proactive programming that would normally take up the majority of the Campus Safety Team's time has been put on the backburner. Since the onset of the COVID 19 Health Emergency in January of this year, our all-consuming focus has been on the response to the next set of challenges. Those challenges continue daily and are expected to continue for a significant amount of time.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from this situation?
I’ve learned how awesome my team is and how dedicated the entire University community is to the response effort. It has also been encouraging to learn how the efforts of the dedicated professionals on the Campus Safety team, now and in the past, have contributed to the success of the response and how the progress that has been made in pursuit of our risk management goals can now be viewed as the fruits of our labour.
The issues associated with the COVID response have underscored my personal belief that we have to continue, and potentially double down on, our efforts to ask the important questions: What if something negative happens related to the business activities we consider daily? How should we prepare ourselves, how can we avoid losses and how can we recover if we can’t?
Despite the incredible challenges the unprecedented issues of the past few weeks have posed, the University has professionally responded to each significant issue while continuing to focus on the needs of our students, staff and faculty and protect them from the health risks that have become so dire. It is with this approach that we, along with all of the U of L community, will continue to support the University's goals, as the challenges ahead are expected to be at least as significant as those we have already endured.