“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,” Hemingway once said. “You have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” Reliant on the strength of foot to pedal, cyclists accelerate forward, enjoying a unique view of the world. While the notion of coasting through mountain trails inspires a sense of excitement, it can instill a bit of fear, too. Incurring serious injury is always a possibility, so safety is paramount. Through a lifetime of cycling and a career spanning 25 years as a safety professional, Andrew Montgomery knows a thing or two about taking precautions.
Andrew grew up traversing trails in the backwoods of Michigan. Off the bike, he spent time salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, or flying around the country for family vacations. “We were a very active family,” he recalls with a smile. His father managed a manufacturing plant. Andrew found himself drawn to industrial manufacturing, as well. After high school, he enrolled in Grand Valley State University, just outside Grand Rapids.
He studied Occupational Health and Safety and was hired by Display Pack, a family-owned thermoformer of food, retail, specialty and industrial products. “I began in maintenance, but was able to get my feet wet in many aspects of manufacturing,” he notes. “Eventually, they created a safety manager position for me.” After ten years with Display Pack, Andrew would go on to spearhead safety programs in companies including Risk Consultants, Magna Donnelly and Johnson Controls.
We met Andrew last December. Today, as Laddawn’s EHS Manager, Andrew works to sustain and grow our culture of safety. He creates, oversees and implements safety training programs for all Laddawn manufacturing and warehousing facilities. Eager to engage with employees, Andrew understands what they deal with on a daily basis and he includes them in the decision-making process. “Everyone has a stake in the success of our EHS culture as a business,” Andrew asserts. “Policies are important, but they don’t do any good unless our employees are empowered to implement them.”
With a wife, two daughters, and three dogs at home, there isn’t much time to fish these days. Still, Andrew is an avid cyclist, swapping dirt trails for asphalt ones. Competing in a few road races a year, he clocks around 800 miles annually. Laddawn is lucky to have someone like Andrew, tightening our helmets to ensure a safe ride.