Category: Culture

Posts related to the company’s culture and vision for the future.

What it means to be the Safety Coordinator at a Small Company

Photo of David Langlais in construction hat and safety vest with article title

We sat down with David Langlais, PE to ask him what it’s like to be on the Safety Committee for a small company. David has worked in the construction field and has also been the Safety Committee Chair before becoming its official coordinator. We asked him what it was like to grow in this position and what it means to him.

What does it mean to be the safety coordinator for a business?

In New Hampshire, each Safety Committee within a company is supposed to appoint a person who is going to have current knowledge on safety trends, expectations, et cetera for a company. At Hoyle, Tanner, we call that person the Safety Coordinator. So, I have to have the training, keep up-to-date on policies and procedures in states where we do business, and keep up-to-date with OSHA.

Why do you see a need for this role?

The need is there because we put people out in the field; that’s our biggest risk area. The most dangerous person is the “casual site-visitor” who doesn’t know the changes in the field; is not that familiar with the contractor; not used to sites. We’re standing next to traffic, next to heavy equipment, we’re out in the woods by ourselves near animals and insects and poisonous plants. These are the types of things employees may not think about when they go out in the field.

You’ve been the safety committee chairperson and you’ve really championed and been the voice for safety in our company – bringing it more to the forefront of peoples’ minds. What started you on that path?

Way back – 2009 or 2010, I was on one of the NHDOT construction projects on the I-93 corridor. Someone had questioned the safety vest I was wearing and made a comment about it not being the right type. I think at that point I brought it to the attention of Woody Wilson [one of our most senior Resident Project Representatives], I think, and asked him about it. The person on the site who commented on my vest wasn’t known for being the most serious person, so I couldn’t really tell. Then I looked into more about the vests and how there are different types of safety vests – there are different types for being in the woods, being in traffic. So really it was a collection of things that happened that got me scratching my head, and wondering what are we really training safety-wise here and what should we be aware of that we’re not?

In September of 2014 I was invited to not only join the Safety Committee, but also be the Chair. At that point the committee hadn’t met in 2 years. I believe the Board of Directors and specifically Frank Wells had recommended that I chair the committee because of my construction background, and to bring life back into the committee.

What are some of the things you’ve accomplished?

  1. As a committee, we basically reformatted the whole way we think about safety in the company. We follow all the rules set forth in Lab 600 from the NH Bureau of Labor, which stem from RSA-281-A:64. The State requires that we have a “Joint Loss Management Committee”, and we call ours the Safety Committee (you can rename it).
  2. We’ve reinvigorated the committee – We didn’t have a real presence within the company before. Once we looked at how we’re supposed to organize it based on Lab 600, we saw we had a lot of things we weren’t doing. We discovered we needed a Health & Safety Manual – we didn’t have one, or one that we could find. We had some of the elements but nothing to the level of what we’ve developed. That’s been the biggest thing we’ve accomplished.
  3. We’ve also made sure field personnel are represented. They are our biggest risk and we need to make sure they have the right equipment and training to do their job safely.
  4. We assisted the Benefits Committee in developing the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Benefit Program, which reimburses employees for certain PPE items that are not required to be provided by the company. 

What are the ultimate goals or principles you’re working towards?

Our ultimate goal is to ensure safety is a part of our everyday lives within the company. The next thing we want to roll out are job hazard analysis sheets. The purpose is to anticipate hazards in the field and be prepared for them before you go out there. That way, we get people trained and get them the tools they need to anticipate safety concerns and be prepared to mitigate them. And not just the full-time field personnel. The hazard analysis sheets apply to everyone – young engineers on bridges. Roadside investigations for preliminary design. Joanne [an environmental coordinator] flagging wetlands. Anyone who leaves the office and goes into the “field” wherever that may be.

The other goal is to incorporate safety into how we plan and estimate our projects – like we do for Quality Assurance / Quality Control. Integrate it into our process.

Given the current situation with COVID, how has your role changed – or how has it not changed?

I’ve become busier [laughs]. We get updated stuff on COVID every day. Trying to keep ahead of what the requirements are is a challenge. I get a lot of info in Massachusetts being that I’m active in ACEC-MA in their Health and Safety Forum (co-chair).

Abbie Goodman [Executive Director of ACEC-MA] called me on Friday with some questions regarding what Massachusetts is implementing for construction for COVID. I also talked to Abbie [on Monday] morning. Basically, the information about COVID trickles down from the governor to our clients to us and our consultant peers. They want to continue with construction – it’s listed as an essential service- but we also have to follow CDC guidelines. Each state also has different rules with regard to construction. In Vermont, construction is not considered essential unless it’s directly related to helping with the virus. Some contractors are not allowed to leave states now if they live in Vermont but work in New Hampshire, which is an issue we’ve been dealing with.

And who’s essential and who’s not? And if we’re essential, which rules do we follow? Those are the kinds of things we’ve been thinking about. Especially now, with construction season upon us.

Are you mostly worrying about construction safety during COVID, or everything at once?

For me, it’s construction stuff because the company COVID-19 team is worrying about the other pieces. How do we build confidence in our employees that their environment is safer than they think? How do we verify that our field personnel are okay before they go out in the field? Also, as I said before, it’s different between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Massachusetts set out rules specifically addressing going out into the field during this pandemic, but New Hampshire said it’s up to each business to police themselves. So unless NHDOT comes out with something that says “here’s how you have to arrive to our site,” we’re still working on this.

Is the company doing anything different (aside from working from home) now that we’re in this situation?

We’re handling it the way the CDC recommends.

What does your day-to-day look like right now?

I’m managing a couple of projects but aside from that I’m getting interrupted by COVID-related information. Every few days new information comes in. So right now, it’s a matter of trying to see what the latest and greatest is so we can make sure we’re following it and that our employees are prepared for it.

Is there anything that intimidates or overwhelms you about being safety coordinator?

I would say that I embrace the position. I’d say if anything, I’d like to have more training and have safety more prominent in our company. Part of that has to do with the size of our company. I communicate with peers in ACEC who have much larger companies, so their initiatives dwarf what we do. Their top safety personnel have different backgrounds. So that part gets a little overwhelming. Or not overwhelming, but I wish we were there. Don’t get me wrong, we’re safe, and we’re doing what we need to for state compliance, and we put smart people in the field. We don’t do a lot of labor-related, safety-type stuff. We don’t have field crews that do labor which makes it a lot easier (like drilling crews or survey crews) – more of that background than office background. Some of that can be more difficult to manage. So, no, I’m not overwhelmed by my role as much as I am of the information that I’d like to put out.

Why you do keep showing up for this role, personally?

I think part of it goes back to the training aspect. The person who’s designated by the committee to be the coordinator has to have a certain level of training. When this originally came up, I received OSHA training for construction safety. So really, I’m the most trained person in the company when it comes to this. And again, we’re not quite where I’d like us to be, and no one else currently has the training to take my place. I’m happy to do it, and I push for it because I feel like I’ve got more work to do in this role.

Would you call yourself a safety enthusiast?

I would say I’ve grown into being a safety enthusiast. I was recognized as having the experience and then the question was, do I have the willingness? And the answer was yes. So now there are aspects of safety I’m very enthusiastic about. I think the toughest part [about being asked to make it more active] is balancing the focus between office personnel and field personnel. So, I’ve found that I rely on other committee members to worry about office personnel, and I worry about the field personnel.

This role has also helped me to not take my construction and my safety background for granted. And I think that’s something we kind of did as a company; we trusted field employees to have the safety knowledge. The full-time ones probably did, but it’s really the part-timers who are more concerning. What’s their experience? What’s their knowledge? Are they aware of their surroundings?

Has your enthusiasm encouraged anyone else? If not enthusiasm, what would it be?

Absolutely. If not mine, then the committee’s. The fact that we were able to gather people to work on the manual and the people who have stayed on the committee. We’ve rotated in and out a few people. We’ve got our quarterly Bee Safe newsletter; we’ve been participating in health and safety week in August which is something we didn’t do before but it’ll be our second or third year this year. I’ve conducted a couple trainings now; I’d like to do more. Gotten more people trained in the OSHA 10-hour course which is big. It’s something we’re trying to get field personnel to have. Building in small procedures and practices – yeah it’s definitely paying off. Not as fast as I’d like, but it’s one of the challenges of being a small business.

Questions about safety? Want to learn from the best? Reach out to David Langlais, PE.

A Tribute to Our Roots

Hoyle, Tanner founders gathering around a document signing

As we begin our 47th year in business, we pay tribute to our founders who exemplified courage, resilience, commitment and innovation while building the solid foundation from which the company operates today.

Doug Hoyle was a lot of different things — a graduate of Brown University, a Korean War veteran, a licensed pilot, an avid skier, motor sport enthusiast and co-founder of a company that still bears his name. Although his list of personal accomplishments is long, throughout his career, his key interest remained the same: to be recognized as Chief Engineer. In 1973, Doug Hoyle along with John Tanner and Bill Thomas founded the engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc. and opened an office in the Ammon Terminal building at Manchester Airport. This marked the beginning of what now has become a very successful 46-year history in the civil engineering business.

Together, the original team of three built Hoyle, Tanner from the ground up; their individual beliefs, experiences, talents and business strategies complemented each other nicely.

Doug would take the lead for the company in the field of environmental engineering. Doug understood that by utilizing the availability of funding from the federally-sponsored Clean Water Act of the1960s, water quality could be significantly improved, and this was to be especially relevant to the many municipalities in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. This work would become an important source of repeat business for the company, as well as establishing a reputation for high quality engineering in environmental services.

John Tanner also recognized the importance of a reliable source of funding for projects. His interest was in public transportation; he utilized the federally-funded Airport Development Aid Program which assisted airports by providing funds to finance capital improvements and maintenance projects. John led the way in this effort and was instrumental in building a national reputation for Hoyle, Tanner within the aviation industry. Unlike the other two founders, Bill Thomas was not an engineer but an experienced and insightful businessman who played a crucial role in business development, serving as the face of the company, and playing an instrumental role in important business decisions that affected Hoyle, Tanner’s future. Their personalities interwove together perfectly.

Doug Hoyle, a man of unwavering honesty and integrity, was a competent and traditional professional who made rational and calculated decisions. His pride was not in the name on the door but instead in his duty as Chief Engineer.

John Tanner was a gifted manager and a natural leader. John was always forward-thinking with big ideas and an ability to listen to a room full of people and distill a complex discussion to its core elements.

Bill Thomas was very personable; a natural conversationalist at ease in any social or business situation. Bill possessed the sound judgement and insights that would help to establish the firm’s culture and guide the company through future technological changes.

Together, the founders created a company culture of customer-driven quality and professionalism that is still very much in evidence at Hoyle, Tanner today. For 46 years, the company has been resilient and adaptive, embracing challenges and taking measured risks that are in the best interest of both our clients and our employees. Engineering is a continuously evolving industry. Hoyle, Tanner’s ability to adapt, anticipate these changes and persevere is something that has been with us since we first started in 1973 and that will continue to see us through our 100th year in business.

Founders black and white photo with names

This piece was written by Grace Mulleavey and Frank Wells.

Volunteers: Making a Difference for our Children

Manchester Police ACERT Teddy Bear drive

Here at Hoyle, Tanner, we are continually impressed by the dedication and hard work of our employees – not just in the office, but in the community.

One of the benefits of working at Hoyle, Tanner is the volunteer program: Employees can spend 8 paid hours at a charity or cause they care about. Since the beginning of 2019, we have had 11 employees volunteer time at many different organizations; total volunteered hours are up to 50 that are documented.

But it’s not just this year that our employees have been exemplary citizens in their communities. In 2017, we had 22 employees volunteer or donate to more than 15 causes. In 2018, we documented 148.5 hours that people spent volunteering at organizations outside of the office per the volunteer time benefit.

Over the past months, a great concentration of our volunteering efforts has gone towards helping children. From kindergarten to college, our employees have worked with children and students on varying levels. Below is a snapshot of all the ways Hoyle, Tanner employees have helped our youth this year:
Hoyle, Tanner employees pictured with students in various volunteer efforts

  • Nicole Crawford worked with a group of UNH students to expose them to engineering on an airport project. Aside from providing students with hands-on experience before they graduate, this project highlighted one of New Hampshire’s largest recent aviation infrastructure projects and gave them some insight into working on complicated, multi-disciplined, and customer-focused airfield projects.
  • Audrey Beaulac, PE, CPSWQ and Matthew Low, PE went to Middle School at Parkside in Manchester to listen to an inspired group of 7th graders present their projects on stormwater treatment. The projects were focused on improving water quality around their school knowing that the school’s parking and recreational areas will be upgraded this summer based upon Hoyle, Tanner’s recent design.
  • Bow High School has a program that allows students a day out of the classroom to job shadow. Kyle visited our headquarters on May 23 to job shadow each of our technical disciplines in the engineering industry. He had the opportunity to meet with eight different engineers to learn about their day-to-day work.
  • After a public plea by the local police department, Hoyle, Tanner employees donated teddy bears to the Manchester NH Police Department. Officers keep the stuffed animals in their cars so that when the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT) respond to difficult situations, they can give children something to comfort them.
  • On April 24, Dave Langlais, PE, volunteered at the Sophomore Career Expo at Tyngsboro High School. He spoke to students about the different types of jobs that are available in the engineering industry. Dave then illustrated his own personal career path, training programs, and education as well as how he has become a respected, well-liked leader of our Massachusetts office.
    • On March 14, Dave Langlais served as the 5th grade judge for the school-wide science fair where the students present projects that they have worked on over the past couple of months. They are judged on use of the scientific method, presentation, originality, and knowledge and understanding of the research they did to support their project. Projects covered a wide variety of topics including corrosion, teeth, kinetic energy, evaporation, Vitamin C, and fertilizer to name just a few.
  • On March 22, one of our junior aviation engineers, Taylor Kirk, visited his former high school. Biddeford Regional Center of Technology -Engineering & Architectural Design welcomed him back as he spoke with engineering and architectural design students. Taylor presented exciting aviation projects he has worked on over the past year to inspire students to take an interest in aviation engineering.

We are committed to bettering our communities through volunteering. We are proud of our employees for their interest and guidance as we secure a brighter future for younger generations.

Social Media for Everyone

Recently, I had the opportunity to share my understanding of various social media platforms and the benefits that municipalities can derive through their use at the New Hampshire Public Works Association‘s March Technical Meeting. Various public works directors were in attendance and joining the conversation about the different platforms available and how they could potentially implement social media platforms in their municipalities to further their community engagement and outreach efforts.

I was joined during the questions and answers portion of the presentation by Public Works Directors Scott Kinmond (of the Town of Moultonborough) and Kürt Blomquist  (of the City of Keene). Each shared their experience with various social media platforms through a public works perspective and offered the benefits their departments have seen through social media implementation.

The presentation is available for download below and additional contact information can be found at the end of the presentation video.

Learning Continued

Like many other companies, Hoyle, Tanner remains committed to the ongoing education of its employees. One of the great benefits offered to full-time employees is the Education Cost Reimbursement, which encourages the employee, through financial assistance, to further their education. The dedication to this program started at its conception in 1999, and continues to offer many of our employees the advantage of personal and professional development.Everyone furthers their education for different reasons, and here is what the assistance has meant to some of its participants:

“I joined Hoyle, Tanner after earning a broad Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree, and this programinspired me to earn my Master’s Degree. Taking specialized classes in my field has helped me tremendously in my professional and technical development. Hoyle, Tanner is a company that understands the benefits of having a well-educated staff.”            Joe Ripley

“Hoyle, Tanner’s education reimbursement program allowed me to complete a Masters of Business Administration degree at a reasonable pace while still working full time.  The classes have been invaluable in better understanding the business side of the engineering services we provide.”           – Sean James

“Hoyle, Tanner’s tuition reimbursement program allowed me to pursue my BSCE degree at night while still working full time.  As a Resident Engineer, this allows me to better serve our clients in the field by giving me a better fundamental understanding of the engineering process.”          – Shawn Reynolds

“I have been working towards the completion of my Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management over the past two years. It has been exciting to learn new skills that we are not taught in an engineering program. The greatest value has been gaining an appreciation of what our other departments necessary to run the business. As we all know, education isn’t free so [financially] offsetting any part of the costs is a huge benefit while raising a family, and one of the reasons that coming back to Hoyle, Tanner was very appealing. I am grateful and excited to be part of a company that supports professional development and encourages employees to better themselves.“         – Jason Ayotte

“When I joined Hoyle, Tanner I was working full-time while going to school full-time. I only had a few classes left to complete my Bachelor’s Degree, and this program allowed me to complete those classes without applying for additional student loans. The improved skills and capabilities I developed during those final classes have been implemented throughout my work throughout the company.”           – Nichole Davis

As our vision statement affirms, “We continue to build a corporate culture that honors and values the individuality and strengths of our team members and our clients.” To find out more about our benefits or to apply to an open position visit our Careers Page!

To Blog or Not to Blog… This is Your Answer

Recently, we have found ourselves asking the questions of whether or not to blog; who would be interested in what we have to say; and would we have “followers”? An idea was posed to incorporate a more personal touch to our social media stream on Facebook allowing our fans to see the more compassionate, community-engaged side of our company. The first step in this process has been to incorporate an employee spotlight that has little to do with what the employee actually works on and more about WHO they are.

Well the response we got on our first post about Jeff Collins spoke volumes to us, showing us that our clients/contacts/fans/followers (whatever you want to label them as) wants to get to know the more personal side. Reaching more than 651 people (and counting) with that post made us realize that there is more to each and every one of our employees, more than just bridges or treatment facilities, etc. and that all of you want to really know us, which is what makes us different. Hoyle, Tanner is the company it is because of our clients, employees, and communities! Welcome to our blog, we can’t wait for you to get to know us better and for us to get to know you all.