“She walked over to me with a friend and said,
‘This is the guy I’ve been telling you about. He’s my Safety Net.’”
Ed smiles as he says it, “So she thinks of me of as her Safety Net… that’s pretty cool.”
His client was talking specifically about how Ed kept her out of danger when complying with
affirmative action laws, but “Safety Net” captures the work and personality of this TurboExec on many levels.
Yes, a Safety Net must be flexible enough to cushion a blow – but it must also be very strong.
“I heard a quote the other day that really resonated with me,” notes Ed: “‘Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.’
“Just because I’m going to be nice to you — because that’s the way I think people should be treated —
doesn’t mean I won’t tell you the truth, even when it’s not what you want to hear.”
Kindness with strength.
That duality in Ed points to another unusual feature in his background.
Approachability with authority.
“Before I joined the HR team at UPS, I was actually a driver. So literally from one day to the next I traded the brown uniform for a tie. There was another driver, a colleague I was friends with, and when I put on the tie, he stopped talking to me completely.
“Finally I asked him, ‘What’s the problem? Why won’t you talk to me’ and he snapped back, ‘You got to put me on the clock to talk to you.’ In his eyes, management was the enemy of workers. That was a huge lesson to me that you can’t control other people. It also showed me the mine fields you have to negotiate in the culture of an organization.”
Ed took this lesson on organizational culture with him and applies it throughout his work. “You can get a lot done just by being on the shop floor, getting to know people, walking around. I’ve been there at 3 AM, just drinking my coffee, shooting the bull. That’s how you really see what’s going on.”
Ed does not stop at the shop floor. “I was talking to a potential client and suggested that we take a walk on the shop floor. He answered, ‘Sure, I do it all the time myself.’
“When we were out there, though, I could tell he never goes out there, just from the stunned and worried looks on people’s faces. I told him, “Look, if you’re not going to be straight with me, we can’t work together.”
Here you see Ed’s approachability with authority. He can relate to the people on the floor and get their truth. And he tells that truth to management, so together they can make things better.
“As an Eagle Scout, I learned to leave things better than I found them, and that still drives me today.”
Leaving things better than he found them – that applies to people as well as organizations.
“At one client, I brought in a new HR director and in the beginning she relied on me pretty heavily to learn how to use the tools I put into place. I also helped her learn how to work with an all-male group of supervisors who were much older than she.
“It’s fun when you develop somebody and see what they’ve been able to become.
It’s the mixture of the personal and technical that attracted Ed to human resources in the first place.
“At first I thought wanted to be a math teacher and coach high school baseball. Then I discovered the ‘Occupational Safety and Hygiene Management’ major and fell in love with it. I get to combine the technical ‘cross your t’s and dot your i’s’ with the personal.”
That points to the final piece that makes Ed so effective as a Safety Net.
“I’m known for covering all the bases. My clients are used to hearing me ask, ‘Just to make sure, have you considered this angle?’
“It’s my way of being conscious of alternatives without being judgmental.”
Kindness with strength. Approachability with authority. And the safety that comes from covering all your bases. That is Ed’s formula for leaving each client better than he found them.
Ed holds a B.S. in Occupational Safety and Hygiene Management, and an M.S. in Safety Sciences, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), a Compensation Professional (CCP), a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Hazard Control Manager (CHCM). He’s also an Official Member of the Forbes Coaches Council.
When he’s not working with clients, Ed can be found teaching at Millersville University or speaking at Human Resources conferences, seminars and in professional development sessions. In his free time, Ed enjoys time with family, travel, golf, the outdoors and Notre Dame and Baltimore Ravens football.
In the midst of people chaos, the TurboExecs get things back on track and put you in the driver’s seat. With more management horsepower for your business – when you need it.