July 4, 2016 – Long Beach, CA, USA – In a recent conversation, Irwin Industries’ CEO Ricardo Teamor shared his valuable executive-level insight into the operation of a large industrial construction and maintenance company, the future of the energy industry and how to build and maintain a vibrant safety culture.
What is the biggest challenge Ricardo Teamor faces in running a large industrial construction and maintenance company?
By far the biggest challenge is the pace of change – both within the industrial construction and maintenance industry as well as in the industries we serve, which are primarily energy related, such as oil & gas and power generation. I think when the general public hears the phrase “rapidly changing industry,” the first thing that comes to mind, understandably, is Silicon Valley. But, change is happening everywhere, and it’s true that much of this change, though not all of it, is driven by technology.
Especially in the energy sector, the changes we have seen in the past five to ten years have been remarkable. There’s the steady rise of renewables; new oil and gas recovery methods; the rise of natural gas and corresponding decline in coal as a percentage of our power generation feedstock portfolio; the emergence of electric and autonomous vehicles; dramatic swings in the price of oil. Keeping up with all of these changes while making smart, timely strategic decisions can be challenging. But, that’s the business we’re in. It’s what we do, and I personally wouldn’t have it any other way.
Where do you Ricardo feel the energy industry is headed?
Right now, of course, everybody is talking about the price of oil and the impact of low prices on all areas of the petroleum industry: upstream, midstream and downstream. In time, I anticipate prices to stabilize again at a more sustainable level, but in the short term, the market is in the midst of significant upheaval. In the meantime, we have been fortunate to have made some in roads into the emerging biofuels industry. Last year, Irwin Industries converted part of an existing petroleum refinery to biofuel production, and we’re talking with some other companies in the biofuels sector which have some very interesting and significant projects planned.
In power generation, we’ll continue to see coal losing market share to natural gas and renewable generation. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 18GW of generation capacity were retired in 2015, and more than 80 percent of that was coal-fired. Nearly two-thirds of new generation in 2016 will be renewable, with natural gas making up most of the difference. That said, coal generation still comprises nearly 40 percent of all generation in this country, which represents a sizeable market for maintenance and retrofit projects.
On top of everything I just mentioned, the United States has in recent years experienced a dramatic decline in the number of available qualified craft people. For example, the American Welding Society (AWS) has predicted a shortage of 300,000 welders by 2020, and there is great opportunity for companies like Irwin Industries to help fulfill this unmet demand. For almost 100 years, we have been supplying highly skilled, trained and experienced craft people to industry, and I anticipate continued growth in this part of our business.
How do you Ricardo Teamor address safety at such a large scale?
Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our employees and others who share our jobsites. To ensure no one gets hurt, we have nurtured a culture which values safety and which rewards and recognizes employees who embody that value. We have a full-time Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) staff and a comprehensive EH&S manual and program; however, a culture of safety can only be achieved when all employees at all levels within the company refuse to compromise or take risks with the safety of ourselves or others. This commitment starts with me.
The cornerstone of our EH&S program is what we call the “Four Aces,” which stands for: Attitude, Awareness, Action and Accountability. The Four Aces program provides a structured set of resources to all supervisors at all Irwin Industries jobsites to help them engage the people under their supervision in safety. We further reinforce the program with jobsite banners, hard hat stickers, special giveaways for safe work recognition and other ongoing initiatives to help keep safety at the top of everyone’s mind every day.
Are there any new technology initiatives Irwin is taking to stay ahead of the curve?
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in almost every aspect of our business. As I have said, everyone at Irwin Industries works hard every day to ensure that no one ever gets hurt, and that’s why one of our biggest new initiatives is rolling out a predictive safety data platform across the company. Basically, our field supervision and EH&S professionals will be able to use the system to track key metrics on every jobsite. Using their phones or tablets, they’ll log things like safe work performance above and beyond the call of duty, areas for improvement, jobsite assessment results, training records and so on. The software will then analyze this data and automatically flag jobsites, teams or procedures which may benefit from enhanced guidance, oversight, training or other action in order to prevent incidents before they occur.
We have also been getting actively involved in using social media and other electronic communications to engage with our employees, customers and others on an ongoing basis. One program, which I believe is unique to Irwin Industries, is what we call “#SafetyDaily,” which pushes out a daily safety thought or tip to our employees and other interested parties every morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We started publishing it several years ago as a daily email and then expanded to include our Twitter and Facebook feeds. #SafetyDaily has become quite popular, and our subscriber and follower lists continue to grow.
Learn more about #SafetyDaily here: http://www.irwinindustries.com/safetydaily/
For more information, please visit www.ricardoteamor.net
About Irwin Industries, Inc.
Led by CEO Ricardo Teamor, Irwin Industries, Inc. is a full-service construction, maintenance, outage, turnaround and fabrication company serving the energy and industrial infrastructure markets in the United States since 1922. Founded in Signal Hill, CA and headquartered in Long Beach, CA, Irwin Industries also maintains offices in Martinez, CA, Oxnard, CA, Kapolei, HI, Denver, CO and Summerville, SC.
Company Name: Irwin Industries
Contact Person: Adam LeVrier, Park Energy Group
Phone: (310) 233-3017
City: Long Beach
Country: United States