CSST Graduate Turned Instructor: “I don’t meet strangers.”
Safety Manager Larry Godfrey, JACOBS Field Services, boisterously shared his story with the classroom after instructing an evening Construction Site Safety Technician (CSST) course on a Monday night. When asked if he was nervous about his first day as an instructor, he immediately shook his head and laughed.
“I don’t have time to be shy in my job,” Godfrey said. “I don’t meet strangers.”
Godfrey started in construction in the early ‘90s, but left at the promise of other careers, one of which was acquiring his barber’s license. He remained in the Barber shop for 10 years before a client mentioned that he was returning to school to enter the safety profession. Godfrey is a graduate of the CSST course himself, finishing the course in 2006 taught by Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation’s Lead Instructor William Fuller.
“He was challenging, but knows how to get the best out of you,” Godfrey said of Fuller.
Soon after, he found out one of his clients was a safety professional and ended up offering him his first opportunity in the field. Now he gets to do what he says he enjoys doing the most – interacting with people on the jobsite and building relationships.
“And that’s what it’s really all about it, caring for people. If you don’t care, then this profession is not for you. That’s the bottom line,” Godfrey said.
His efforts in the field of safety have made a vast difference on his site. By going back to teaching the basics to new professionals in the field, Godfrey and his team has dramatically reduced turnover. In 2014, their company saw 100 people leave, but only 5 have left in 2015. He credits this drastic change to the commitment the team makes for a safety culture.
“When you have young people coming into the industry now, many of them are not mechanically inclined; but when you put the computer in front of them, their world lights up. We have to go back and teach the mechanical aspects of the job in new ways,” Godfrey said.
So that’s what he’s doing, going back to the basics. His larger-than-life personality keeps students on their toes during the 6pm – 10pm CSST course, held two nights a week. Godfrey explained that the course was precisely what he expected, and instructing is something he looks forward to on those evenings.
“I get the opportunity to instill something in an individual and turn the light on for instance. It may be one illustration of the training itself and it makes them ready. I get motivated when I see them learning,” Godfrey said.