Jared Meyer, 35
Corporate Safety Manager
Jared didn’t plan to have a career in electrical distribution. A Pittsburgh native, his intended path was going into law enforcement. “I earned my bachelor’s degree in criminology, with a minor in safety sciences,” he recalled. But after graduation he found greater passion in the health and safety field so he returned to IUP to earn a Master’s degree in Safety Science. “After graduation, I worked in heavy manufacturing until the 2009 downturn, when I turned to safety consulting work with major turnarounds and power plant outages,” Jared said. “One project was at a nuclear power plant in eastern Pennsylvania where a growth opportunity came up to work directly within the high standards of the nuclear industry.” After four formative years, Jared moved back home to the Pittsburgh area to settle down with his wife and family, working as a corporate safety engineer with Westinghouse Electric Company.
Feeling confident in the safety field and after solid mentoring in entry to mid-level roles, Jared said “I wanted to lead my own program and steer an organization. I wanted to feel like the company’s performance were more of a direct result of the plans and actions that I put in place.” In 2017 that desire led Jared to WESCO to build the foundation of a strong safety program designed to mature the safety culture and send everybody home injury free each day. The first few years were challenging, but as steady improvements were made and relationships were built and leveraged with WESCO’s incredibly talented business unit leaders, safety performance turned around with a 35% improvement in 2019. “Safety performance is built directly into the business objectives and the core values of the company,” he noted.
Of course, in early 2020, health and safety became top of mind for everyone—especially so for a safety manager, when COVID-19 introduced pandemic management to everyone’s plate. “As safety professionals, we are leaned on to help ensure the business remains successful and our employees are kept safe” said Jared, noting that injury performance throughout 2020 has continued to improve. “I was concerned that it would be a significant distraction—and more distractions, typically lead to more injuries. But it’s been nearly the opposite thanks to everybody being hyper-aware of personal health and safety.”
As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough to keep him on his toes, Jared is also navigating what the recent merger of WESCO and Anixter will bring to the organization. “I’m really excited for the next chapter,” he said. “It’s a rare opportunity to bring two great companies together and really build upon both leading safety programs. [Anixter] has an excellent safety program with programs and structure that complement our safety culture well, so it’ll be a motivating next few years.”
Asked what advice he would give to those entering electrical distribution, “Keep an open mind,” said Jared. “The times that I was most uncomfortable in a project, task or a career move are the times I’ve grown the most. When I first came out of college with a safety degree, I remember going to career fairs thinking ‘I’m not moving away from the Pittsburgh area.’ I later realized I really limited myself by not being more open minded. Don’t get set in your ways, especially if an opportunity comes up. Don’t just look at why you can’t do it, consider what it might bring you—even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable.”
Each year tED magazine recognizes 30 of the industry’s best and brightest under the age of 35. Please visit tedmag.com/30Under35 for nomination information and updates about the 2021 program. Questions can be sent to tED Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged with 2020 30 Under 35, 30 under 35