Heimdahl Chernault of Edgewater Safety Consulting Is 2023 J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year

Frantz of Archer Daniels Midland & Daboul of Kari-Out Also Place

J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. announced today that Dana Heimdahl Chernault, partner in Edgewater Safety Consulting LLC, and most recently director of safety and risk management with Ceres Environmental Services, Inc. is the 2023 J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year (SPOTY) Award winner. Keith Frantz, DOT compliance manager with Archer Daniels Midland Company, placed second, and Brian Daboul, corporate safety manager for Kari-Out, placed third.

The SPOTY Awards, now in their 21st year, are among the most prestigious recognition for safety professionals, highlighting those who achieve excellence by building a culture and vision for safety and ensuring employees return home each day to their families. The winning safety professionals were selected by a panel from J. J. Keller’s staff of 70+ safety consultants and editors.

First Place: Dana Heimdahl Chernault, Partner, Edgewater Safety Consulting, LLC

Dana Heimdahl Chernault launched Edgewater Safety Consulting, LLC this month. At the time she applied for the 2023 SPOTY Awards, she was director of safety and risk management with Ceres Environmental Services, Inc.  Heimdahl Chernault joined Ceres Environmental Services, Inc. in 2020, when the company was expanding into the field of forestry and utility line clearance, which presents unique hazards. Through a practical, hands-on revamp of Ceres’ safety system, she led the company in building a stronger safety culture, including implementing a nurse case management hotline, a new incident investigation process and a significant reduction in injury rates and workers compensation claims.

Ceres provides professional management and construction service throughout the United States, Caribbean, Pacific and New Zealand, improving communities and helping them recover from disasters.

“Ceres is a project-driven company, and they respond after hurricanes, storms and wildfires,” said Heimdahl Chernault. “There is little time between the execution of a contract and boots on the ground. To see this company grow and thrive in its safety culture was beautiful to see.”

In honor of Heimdahl Chernault as the first-place J. J. Keller SPOTY Award winner, a $2,500 donation will be made to the 501(c)3 organization of her choice – the American Brain Tumor Association – and she will receive a free one-year subscription to the J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE (up to 10 users), $1,200 in free online training from J. J. Keller, and $250 toward J. J. Keller® SAFEGEARTM personal protective equipment.

Second Place: Keith Frantz, DOT Compliance Manager, Archer Daniels Midland Company

Keith Frantz has been with Archer Daniels Midland Company, a leader in global nutrition products and services, for 13 years. He oversees the compliance and safety of approximately 900 drivers who operate under Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. The J. J. Keller judging panel credited Frantz with leading the team to build a fleet compliance program, ultimately driving down the DOT accident rate and sending drivers home safely each day.

“Helping others achieve a safe day is important to us,” said Frantz. “Our focus is on our driving colleagues and the motoring public. We have an ability to impact a large audience. Safety is a tough business. The satisfaction is in the results we see each day, month and year.”

To honor Frantz as the second-place J. J. Keller SPOTY Award winner, J. J. Keller will make a donation in his name to the nonprofit of his choice – the local FFA chapter in Decatur, Illinois – as well as provide a prize package of J. J. Keller products and services.

Third Place: Brian Daboul, Corporate Safety Manager, Kari-Out

Brian Daboul joined Kari-Out, a food and container manufacturer, in 2021. Formalizing the organization’s safety program was his immediate goal in a work environment with powered industrial vehicles, loading docks and machinery. Daboul built a new safety culture from the ground up with the support of Kari-Out leadership and employee participation. As a result, the organization’s recordable injury rate was driven down significantly. Daboul emphasizes continual improvement even within his own base of knowledge.

“I enjoy being able to make the workplace safer and more efficient at the same time by implementing process and changes that better the organization,” he said. “Helping employees go home safe each day drives me to learn more in every area possible. At night I enjoy reading EHS blogs, learning about other companies’ programs and the OSHA CFR, to constantly learn new things and pick up on what I may have overlooked before.”

In honor of Daboul as the third-place J. J. Keller SPOTY Award winner, J. J. Keller will make a donation in his name to the nonprofit organization of his choice – the Mine Hill Fire Department in Mine Hill, New Jersey, where he is a volunteer firefighter – as well as provide a prize package of J. J. Keller products and services.

Free Webcast Scheduled: Hear the Stories of These Outstanding Safety Professionals

Join J. J. Keller and the SPOTY Award winners on Monday, October 30, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. central time, for a free webcast titled Outstanding Stories of Safety: Meet the J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year Winners. Rick Malchow, Industry Business Advisor with J. J. Keller, will interview Heimdahl Chernault, Frantz and Daboul to learn how they have created a safety-first culture with outstanding safety metrics and achievements, and hear about their personal commitment to keeping employees safe. Register here.

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