As we continue to celebrate #ConstructionSafetyWeek, our employee spotlight introduces us to WMJ Safety Manager James Kiegel.
James has been working in the construction industry for over thirty years. He has experience directing full scope construction projects that include new construction as well as renovation work. His career began while he was still in high school, working part time for a carpenter every day after school. James then did carpentry for houses on a naval base before moving to framing commercial buildings.
James then joined another regional construction firm working as a concrete superintendent. After getting the call for a job he had always wanted, James spent nine years working on the assembly line at the Ford Norfolk Assembly plant before it closed, while maintaining a side concrete and masonry business.
After the Ford plant closed, James returned to the world of construction, rejoining his old company as a superintendent. In 2008, James transferred into his company’s safety department, receiving his Construction Health and Safety Technician certification and, beginning his career as a construction safety professional.
Kiegel joined WMJ in 2017, immediately getting to work on several jobsites throughout the Tidewater area of Virginia. As a WMJ Safety Manager, James provides oversight and training for superintendents, field staff and trade partners. He ensures strict compliance with approved safety plans.
“I am our eyes and ears for safety on a job-site,” said Kiegel. “I am constantly on the lookout to keep our people safe. I enjoy getting to coach and teach people proper safety techniques, knowing I am making an impact not only on the jobsite but also in their lives.”
Since joining WMJ, James has noticed an improvement in safety standards on construction sites.
“Getting superintendents their OSHA 30 training more frequently has made an impact,” said Kiegel. “Buy-in from people on the job-site has also helped. We make sure our interns have their OSHA 10 certification, getting them started thinking about safety early on makes a big difference.”
“I have a passion for educating the people on our job-sites. Training is the best way to prevent an accident and my goal is always to make sure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.”
When James isn’t keeping WMJ job-sites safe, he enjoys spending time with his nephews and getting out on the water – either in Virginia Beach or in the Outer Banks. James also enjoys working out when he can and is currently working on renovating his home which keeps him plenty busy.