What it Takes to be an Influential Team Leader

NOVEMBER 2022 – When it comes to building morale, improving safety culture, or identifying solutions at the Omaha Repair and Maintenance Terminal, Plant Manager Travis Bost leans on Maintenance Mechanic Dave Mathews and Material Handler Don Brayman. 

These Watco veterans work behind the scenes at the facility to keep operations humming. For Mathews, this means repairing equipment that team members regularly use. As a material handler, Brayman makes sure the frontline team members have all the materials they need to do their jobs. 

“They both set the precedence for the other guys,” Bost said. “They are dependable, honest, humble, and selfless men.”

On two different occasions Mathews and Brayman individually treated the entire team to lunch. They didn’t do it for attention; they worked with Bost separately to arrange catering unbeknownst to their teammates. 

And when team members need to talk, vent, or ask questions, they go directly to Mathews and Brayman. According to Bost, the team trusts and respects both leaders. He said, “They want to keep the team happy, focused, and together. Whatever the situation is, Dave and Donnie approach it with an attitude of ‘we are going to get through this.’”

Mathews and Brayman are also generous with their time. Whether it’s helping one another or any other team member, they’re known to pitch in to get the job done. To Bost, their commitment leads to a collaborative, safe workplace.

“These guys are always willing to be an extra set of hands,” Bost said. “From a safety perspective, more hands can prevent near misses and injuries on the job.” 

They are also dedicated to their work. As a member of the shop’s Team Safety & Improvement Committee, Brayman is a voice for building a stronger safety culture. After discovering areas of the shop that were overlooked, he recently took the initiative to clean and organize the workspace.

Bost can always depend on Mathews, even if it’s his day off. He said, “Dave always wants the guys to know they are supported.” 

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