For our next Day in the Life blog series interview, I reached out to our Safety Compliance and Training Director, Christopher Wagner, to learn more about him and his role at AmeriGas.
Safety is our highest priority here at AmeriGas. Our safety commitment is an ongoing mission that extends to everything we do. Christopher takes great pride in what he does for a living, but he also makes time for a (very delicious) grand chemistry experiment.
Explain your role at AmeriGas.
I am the Director of Safety Compliance and Training for AmeriGas. The purpose of my role is to ensure that we have the most effective safety training programs available for our coworkers to understand and avoid the risks associated with their jobs. My group focuses on the data collected from audits and incidents to watch for trends, and these trends are used to develop programs that allow us to be proactive in our safety program as opposed to reactive. Additionally I lead a team of highly knowledgeable professionals who focus on tracking new and existing regulations to ensure we are always prepared for changes in the codes so we can properly prepare and modify our programs accordingly. The Compliance and Training Group manages all of the companies safety systems and vendors with a constant goal of improvement and simplification in order to better support our customers; the men and women of AmeriGas.
Why is safety so important to AmeriGas?
Safety is extremely important to our AmeriGas family, our customers, the general public, and our industry. We are the leaders in the propane industry when it comes to innovation and development of safety related programs, and we recognize that there is only one natural resource that must always be held as most precious, and that is people. Without the men and women of this great company, our families, our customers, and the public as a whole there would be no need for AmeriGas. It is the faces of these people that we see in our safety program every day. They are the driving force for our policies, programs, and future. We have one acceptable goal and that is Zero. Each and every day that we come to work we strive to send every coworker home in a better state than when they came to work that morning, we strive to have every customer feel that they use the best, safest, and most economical natural resource this country has to offer, and we strive to never allow the job that we do to place anyone, be it a customer, a coworker or a stranger, in danger.
What is a typical day for you like?
One of the best parts of my job is no day falls into a typical routine. I spend a significant amount of time with people every day, be it on email , the phone, or in person. I review a lot of data daily and it is this data that drives my job. As I review different data sets I am able to get a clear picture of where our risk areas lie, and using this picture we set off to make AmeriGas safer. A big portion of this includes development of training programs related to the root causes of our incidents. It is based on this information that I get to do my favorite part of the job, and that is to talk to people. It is amazing how insightful and knowledgeable our coworkers are. There is nothing quite like spending a day in a bobtail or a service truck and truly getting to know the fine women and men of AmeriGas. Here is where the true insight lies. This is the feedback that drives everything. No one knows the risks, near misses, short cuts, and challenges better than our people. It is these same people that help to build and grow our company that also provide the best insight towards how to make the company safer and I take every opportunity I can to listen to them and allow them to teach me.
Busiest time of year for you?
There really is no slow time for safety, not that we have a lot of issues, but safety is a constantly moving target that keeps us on our toes. When working with both compliance and training there is always something in the pipeline that requires revision or production.
Best question you ever received from an employee or customer?
Every question asked is the best! When we receive questions it means people are thinking. I truly believe there is no such thing as a stupid question. If it is not clear, ask; if you disagree, question. This is what drives change and improvement.
Favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of my job is the people, bar none. The ability to interact with our coworkers, our customers, and the general public makes everything worthwhile.
You have visited a lot of AmeriGas local offices. Where was your favorite visit and why?
The amazing thing about AmeriGas is that each and every place we have a district is special in its own way. I know, I know that sounds like the politically correct thing to say, but it is true. Amazingly, each of our districts has their own little slice of heaven that serves something different and enticing, nearby. The people in and around our districts may share a state with others, but the people all have their own special quality. I truly learn something new, everywhere I go. I am blessed to meet new and incredible people and learn new things. It would be impossible to pick just one.
Any hidden skill/talent that you fell that you have mastered?
I am not sure if it is a hidden talent, but I have always had an affinity for chemistry. When my last of 3 children left for college, I was suddenly faced with a big challenge. No more hockey, swimming, track, or soccer. As I sat one day on the couch staring at my computer screen checking email for some type of adventure, I thought what am I going to do with myself? I went into the kitchen and grabbed a bunch of grapes from the refrigerator and sat back down. As I did, I thought to myself, I could make wine, half-jokingly. Thus started my grand chemistry experiment! I now make a substantial amount of wine each year, and since my neighbors, relatives, children, and their friends all grab off the shelves, often even before I even have an opportunity to taste it, I assume it is a talent that I possess. Well that or they just don’t want to complain about free booze.
Helpful hint you could offer to our customers regarding propane?
Propane is not a do-it yourself type of project. In today’s day and age we look for every opportunity to save a few bucks when something needs done. Propane is not the place for this though. When installed properly propane is safe and reliable, but there are a series of tests that the professionals perform in each step of a change, addition or repair. This is not something that can be learned on You-Tube. As I watch the Do-it yourself videos that clutter the internet today I see nothing regarding the tests to actually ensure that you and your family is safe. When you prepare to go on a vacation you don’t build your own plane, do you? Why mess with propane. Let us come out and help, we will do it right, the first time.
What is your “Props to Propane”?
Favorite thing to grill?
Nothing beats a nice juicy steak and some fresh grilled vegetables.
With AmeriGas, you get more than just a propane supplier – you get a propane expert and partner. Since 1959, our mission continues to provide you with the most reliable, safest, and responsive propane service in the nation. Please contact us if you are looking for more information.