Some people go into business to get rich, but not me, and that’s a good thing because this isn’t the best economy for making a living off regulatory compliance. In fact, as I reflect on this third year of my one man business, I realize that in each different year there has been one company or person that has kept me from going under. While I like to think that I provided excellent service in return for their money, I still owe them some thanks. And as I sit on the porch swing pondering this, I realize that I owe thanks a lot further back than just the last two and half years. So…
Thank you Badger, for the frustrating but valuable “three yeah buts” rule. It taught me to do a better job of making my point right away, as well as the futility of fighting upper management.
Thank you pioneering parcel carrier, for the best benefits I ever had at any job. But more important to my career and my current business, thanks for teaching me carrier operations and a carrier perspective on dangerous goods.
Thank you temporary agency, for placing me in an assignment with a shipper who had just discovered the need for transport compliance. I was placed into a situation where all the employees had to teach each other directly out of the regulations. Knowing how to navigate through DG regs is a crucial skill, and I think learning it the hard way makes me more confident doing it today.
Thank you grizzled HazMat instructor, for being so wary of the pitfalls of exceptions. You taught me the importance of getting the basics of compliance down first, and to have a good solid base of fundamentals before venturing into more complicated ways of compliance.
Thank you contract employer, for letting me join the emergency response team of our customer. Aside from the thrill (and fear) of dressing up in a ‘moon suit’ to respond to chemical releases, it helped me to viscerally understand just what hazard communication is intended for.
Thank you giant chemical company, for hiring me to do classifications and to train your warehouses. I learned logistics and supply chains, and got exposed through your suppliers to the whole gambit of regulatory knowledge and ignorance, and their concomitant compliance and non-compliance.
Thank you huge pharmaceutical company, for allowing me contact with your scientists. Not only was it intellectually stimulating in and of itself, I also learned a lot about classification by analogy and by chemical family, and by intended method of action. Because much of my classification work comes from customers in ‘non-R.E.A.C.H.’ countries, being able to use scientific judgment to predict what the absent test data would likely be is an important skill.
Thank you volunteer fire department, for letting me be a member for three years. I know I was on the road a lot and missed many practices, but it was wonderful to be taught more about the perspective of responders.
Thank you magazine publisher, for a monthly column. Regular visits to my porch help keep me open-minded and trying to consider things from multiple perspectives.
I could keep going, but I suppose we all could. None of us got where we are today without help, whether professional trainers, networks, mentors, jobs, bosses, colleagues or experiences. I suppose this has a relationship to COSTHA’s initiative to enhance the image of Dangerous Goods (HazMat) professionals. One doesn’t get to be an effective, compliant DG professional on one’s own, regardless of the number of training courses taken, or university degrees earned. It takes practice, experience, and a lot of support to become a true DG professional (and goodness knows, I hope I’m closing in on it). So thank you to everyone who has helped, or is helping, others be successful in the DG field. You are crucial to the continued safe transport of HazMat/DG worldwide.
Again, I personally feel like I have had, and continue to have, a lot of people behind me. There may be only one owner and only one paid employee of my company, me, but I am not unassisted. I have decades of mentoring and experiences behind me, supporting me. To hell with this “I might survive” statement.

Written 3/9/2013 for HCB Magazine