Committee Chair Helps Steer Changes

March 2022 — Amanda Thomas is a Customer Service Representative (CSR) at the Hawesville Marine Terminal in Kentucky who’s making a difference after taking on the role of Team Safety and Improvement Committee (TSIC) chair. 

One person who’s noticed her impact is Chris Maxwell, an assistant vice president of operations. Maxwell is based in Mississippi but was on site one day in Hawesville. “I was just visiting with her and she brings up the TSIC,” he says. “I learned that she ran it. She walked me through everything — pulling out meeting notes, minutes, and an agenda. I said, ‘That is amazing. You are literally the only one I have seen out of all my facilities that is doing this.’ I was just so impressed that our CSR there cared enough to take this on.” 

Thomas took over the committee in March 2021. “It really took off when we put her in charge,” says Terminal Manager Mitchell Christenson. “She was very excited to do it. She holds a monthly meeting and has detailed, consistent guidelines to keep the meeting orderly and focused.” 

Christenson notes a couple of key results from Thomas’ leadership: heightened incident awareness and more teammate involvement. 

He points to Thomas’ role in helping stem equipment-damage incidents. He said she was instrumental in setting up a “30-day countdown” to have a daily focus of getting through each 24 hours, from Day 30 to Day 1, without incident. Since the countdowns began, there has been only one incident of property damage.

And she invites new-hires to her committee meetings, which Christenson says ”does a lot for buy-in and shows new hires that Watco really means what they say about safety being a priority.”

The TSIC impact might begin with safety, but it extends beyond. Thomas and the TSIC have begun supporting the community as a unit representing Watco. They’ve hosted a table with giveaways at the county fair, given away candy at a trick-or-treat event, and collected toys to donate at Christmas.

Maxwell has his own list of overall positive outcomes: people having a voice and ownership, group buy-in and cooperation, unity, positive morale, better production for the customer, and fewer incidents and injuries. 

His ultimate assessment? “It’s just good all the way around.”

See more stories