- Spotlight - Business
Pam Thomas is Working to Keep Everyone Safer at Elior North America
At Elior North America, safety in the workplace is the highest priority. The mission is, return each team member back home in the same, or even an improved condition, as they came into work.
Pam's passion for safety began at a young age, and has permeated into every aspect of her life. A segment safety manager for Summit corrections, Pam's job is 24/7, always ensuring she is available to help team members whenever they need.
Pam recently recently sat down with Elior North America Communications Manager, Michael Steen, to talk about there career path, and how she is working to make Elior North America a safer place for everyone.
MS: Where did you grow up and what was your favorite part about growing up there?
PT: I was raised in South Florida in the city until I turned 11, and then we bought a 100-acre farm in North Florida which totally changed my life. What I enjoyed about it most was taking care of the animals, working the fields, and watching the seeds I planted turned into food, producing crops not only for my family, but for the community too.
MS: Can you tell me a little bit more about your specific role with Elior North America?
PT: I am the safety manager for the Summit segment, and I provide support and direction for everything related to food and occupational safety. It's a fast-paced environment. We have quite a few accounts, so we stay busy in the safety world.
MS: What's your career path been like? How did you get to where you are today at Elior North America?
PT: I started to work at a restaurant at the ripe old age of 11. That started my career in food service, and I could correlate the food going from a seed in the ground, to planting, to the food on the table. That really started my love and passion for food service. I’ve been with the company for eight years, and in the Safety Manager role for two years.
MS: How did you kind of discover your passion or interest to work in safety?
PT: My husband worked at a woodworking company in Kansas and one of his coworkers died in an accident on the job. As the safety manager for Summit, I remember that man every day as I think of our team member’s safety. I create educational training and build standards and policies to reinforce working safely. That is why I'm so passionate about our safety and ensuring that we have all the PPE we need because we want to keep our team safe. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to provide all the tools and training for our team to prevent any accidents from happening.
MS: For someone who may want to follow in your footsteps and find a career in safety, what is the most important attribute someone should have to work in this field?
PT: I think compassion is number one. You have to really care about your team. And we don’t wait for Monday morning at 9 AM. I'm available 24/7 in case our team needs us to provide that support. I think if you have interest in safety, you have to have a willingness to serve your team members and be able to provide strong feedback in order to keep our team safe.
MS: When you're not responding to a crisis or an emergency, what would we find you doing in your free time?
PT: I love volunteering my time to work with the youth in our community and educating them on how to cook safely. I want to provide that instruction and training to fulfill their life and to keep them safe.
MS: What is one thing you think everyone at Elior North America should know about safety
PT: I think it's great that we have a safety and risk team at Elior where, at any level, I can reach out to them for support. I think it's really important that we work together to create a culture of safety, and I'm very happy that we do. You don't find that in every company. I think the one thing I'd like everyone to know is that, at the end of the day, we have to be sure that our team members go home safely the same way they came in.