As a career firefighter in southern Indiana for 15 years, Jay Ising also served as the fire department Chaplain. He’s currently a regional safety manager for a large grocery warehouse with more than 800 employees.
Why did you choose your profession?
Starting as a career firefighter, safety has been in the bloodstream for quite some time. When operating as a firefighter you develop a sense of working hard to keep everyone as safe as possible. Through training and experience in the fire service, safety becomes ingrained into your thought process, as well as your heart.
Working now as a Regional Safety Manager, my hope is to pour my compassion for safety into the training of others about safety and risk management.
What is the most important thing to do to be effective in your role?
I believe that safety is a commitment, a desire to keep you and others safe from risk. We all know that there is no such thing as a risk free environment, but what we do know is that through training and practice we can reduce the risk of injury in our everyday work lives.
Leadership in safety starts with a commitment to the folks your serve, not losing sight of the big goal in that everyone goes home safe to the most important of all, family.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you, and how did you approach it with your role?
A number of different things have happened over the course my involvement with safety, but a few do standout as game-changers. One of the best ways to reduce risk is to utilize your own experiences from the past, so that history may not repeat itself. It is always important for me to keep things in perspective and understand priorities in the course of my journey, keeping in mind that family is at the top.
What do you want everyone to know about safety?
Safety is a priority but there are times that it can become overdone. Too many times you hear a company say “safety first,” but the question is; “Is it truly first?” Safety is a portion of the rope that builds a company, while it may be one of the stronger twines that bind; it is not the only thing in business.
Take safety as it comes at you and understand that it can be frustrating at times, but victorious other times. Live in the moment always.
What is your superpower?
I have never thought of having a superpower, but I would say it is my wife and children. They are the driving force behind why I do what I do. With their support I have the ability to commit as a safety manager and be an effective leader in the workplace. Without this superpower, I would only be mediocre at best.