Memories can change our lives. They can warm our hearts and teach us valuable lessons. In the case of Steve Halverson, one memory in particular, is helping him teach an important lesson to others about safety. When he was 18, he was spending the summer on the job at the family business before heading off to college. It was during that summer that he experienced an accident. He wasn’t hurt, but it was a close call that could have cost him his life and it literally took his breath away. At 18, Steve felt invincible as most 18 year olds do, but in that instant, he knew he might not see 19.
It happened because his supervisor was trying to meet a challenge and stay on schedule. Tasked with emptying a holding silo of grain, the enormous spout they were using was shifting in the wind, making it very difficult. So Steve’s boss realigned the pulley that held up the spout, attached a rope to the spout and handed it to Steve to steady it. He said, “Whatever you do, don’t let go!” He did not let go and you may have guessed by now that an 18 year old was no match for a carload full of grain. So, up he went and down came the very heavy spout full of grain, missing him by only a few feet.
That memory changed his professional life and permanently etched an important lesson in his mind: Safe choices can be the difference between life and death. Steve Halverson knows that first hand and he works every day to make sure that every member of the Halverson team does too. Since he has taken the helm of the company, his personal story underpins every discussion about safety. It inspires his team members and reinforces how seriously he expects them to treat and practice safety.
In an industry built on both brawn and brains, shifting a mindset about safety is a process that happens over time. Steve’s commitment to safety is born from personal experience and continues through the lives of those for whom he is responsible. As the supervisor for every member of The Halverson Company team, he won’t ever ask them to do things he knows aren’t safe.