Ohio – A True Battleground State

by / Monday, June 29, 2015 / Published in Safety

Speaking about a strategy for improving health and safety in the work environment using Teamwork to lead the way!

In recent years, the Buckeye State has gained a reputation and notoriety for being something of a political bellwether. Presidential candidates fight viciously for votes and opinions here, because they know the state’s population – along with its diverse urban and rural areas – makes it a good representation of our nation as a whole.

When it comes to productivity and safety at Ohio’s large coal power plants, the same ideas apply. During my Fitness 4 All 50 States Tour, as I pushed from one end of Ohio to another, I found people of all races, beliefs and backgrounds. And each of them had a unique take on the battle for improving productivity and safety for our health in America. What I found is that where you live does not matter to your health and safety, but there are steps we can all take to be healthier and safer on the job, no matter what zip code we’re in.

Kevin Saunders, Health and Safety Speaker

In this post, I invite readers to assess their own lifestyles and see how their routine and environment contribute to their own health and safety on and off the job. I also provide a few tips on finding those factors that are critical to holding everyone accountable for their safety, the safety of their co-workers and upper management. These are topics I just spoke about to J.M. Stuart Station and the Killen Station last week, as they focused on raising Safety standards and making everyone accountable.

Motivational Speaking Tour with Killen Station Employees

V.P. Mark Miller on left, Kevin Saunders and Killen Station employee Brett Walton, Project Manager

Motivational Speaker Kevin Saunders with Killen Station Employees

Kevin Saunders presented Katie Wallingford and the J.M Stuart with a copy of his book “There’s Always A Way

A key aspect that Mark Miller, V.P. of Ohio Generation, AES, brought up was to break teams into smaller groups and to put forth safety concerns that are issues among the workers in the field. As a team they can work to find the best solution to report to management. When it comes to reducing accidents and maintaining high levels of productivity, safety has to be seen as a primary objective. All levels of workers and management must be vigilant about overcoming challenges on the job on a daily basis in changing and challenging environments. If you or a team member perceives a potential safety threat, it’s better to stop and get people there to make sure before proceeding. In the long run it prevents injury and down time, while contributing to the company’s overall success and its mission to keep Powering the Way for the Future.

I mentioned how Head Coach Bill Snyder of Kansas State University helped lay the foundation with his 16 WGFS – (Wildcat Goals for Success) with great teamwork. These principles led to the “Greatest turnaround in college football history.” He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame – the only active football coach to receive that honor. The stadium he coaches in at Kansas State University is named after him: “The Bill Snyder Family Stadium.” During my speech, I mentioned that “his list of accolades as a coach is so extensive, that my time allotted to speak to you about the importance of safety doesn’t allow for me to mention all of them.” That’s no exaggeration. I also mentioned how many of these goals are very applicable to success in the work being done in the coal industry – at Dayton Power and Light – and at other plants across America.

Kevin Saunders with Coach Bill Snyder

Head Coach, Bill Snyder K-State and Kevin Saunders

Here are a few of Coach Snyder’s WGFS that I covered in my Safety presentation to Dayton Power and Light at their J.M. Stuart and Killen Stations.

  1. Commitment – Commit to being an outstanding team member, and to raising the standards for your entire team by always striving for excellence. It’s the responsibility of every team member – hourly workers, salaried employees, management and ownership – to surpass expectations and make Safety the 1st priority on every job!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  2. Unselfishness – Don’t let any selfish reasons get in the way of the fact that you are a member of a team doing what needs to be done to keep your workplace safe.
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  3. Unity – As a company, you must come together as a Team for safety like never before!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  4. Improve everyday – Regardless of your job title, remember you area part of a team to make safety #1! –As an executive, manager, supervisor, employee or secretary safety always comes first!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  5. Self-Discipline – Do it right as a team member, don’t accept less!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  6. Enthusiasm – As part of a team, be sure to keep the excitement up about SAFETY!
    Especially the importance of winning when it comes to safety!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!
  7. Eliminate Mistakes – Do the job right because as members of a team, when everyone executes their job and completes their assignment, you will be successful as a team!
    Don’t miss taking the necessary steps for safety!
    Why? A. We are a winning team – We put Safety 1st Everyday!

Bob Stoops and Kevin Saunders

Head Coach, Bob Stoops OU and Kevin Saunders

Head Coach Bob Stoops of Oklahoma University also stresses the importance of Teamwork – working together and for a common goal – to be successful. After his 158th career win as the Head Coach, a hard-fought victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, Stoops became the winningest Coach in Oklahoma Coaching history.

Athletic Director Joe Castiglione presented the football commemorating Stoops’ 158 wins and Coach Stoops addressed his team in the locker room. He said, “We have a lot of great leaders here at OU and I coached a lot of great players everyone from the beginning to right now… everyone here in the room, the secretaries, managers, all our coaches and everyone associated with OU football.” Coach Stoops then said, “I can’t do it alone I got NO CHANCE!” It’s about all of us believing in one another working hard, that’s what wins!” “This is a reflection of everyone in this room that’s how I look at it!”

I had the honor to work with both of these legendary coaches – two of the greatest Head Coaches in college football. You, too, can apply their philosophies for success in your own life. I know I told everyone I spoke to at the Ohio plants, “I never met a person from Ohio I didn’t like!” There is a great strength in people from Ohio, one which is instrumental in achieving greatness in sports and at work. In both venues, outstanding teamwork plays a HUGE PART in achieving success. Just 280 miles north was Youngstown, OH, the home town of Bob Stoops and his brother Mike, former Head Coach at Arizona, and now Co-Defensive Coordinator at Oklahoma. Then there was Mark Mangino, who played for and coached at Youngstown State in Youngstown, Ohio. In 2007, Coach Mangino led the University of Kansas to a school-record 12 wins and a share of the Big 12 North Division title, along with many other great accomplishments.

Safety Speaker Kevin Saunders with Killen Station employees

Group picture at the Killen Station

When it comes to putting safety first I encourage all the great employees at Dayton Power and Light to keep leading the industry in safety and in energy!

Personal Note from Kevin Saunders: I was very humbled to have had the honor to speak to the employees and managers of Dayton Power & Light Company. It was a privilege to meet some great people! They are truly committed to and focused on raising Safety standards and making everyone accountable. I challenge everyone to continue to work hard, work as a team and keep Safety First every day!

Keep Going for the GOLD! Never Give Up!
Kevin Saunders, motivational speaker
Kevin Saunders


Kevin Saunders is a World Champion Paralympian, motivational speaker, athlete (with multiple gold medals) and author. Kevin Saunders was the first person with a disability appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness Sports (only 20 people are selected for this nationwide) by the President of the United States. Kevin Saunders was first chosen to be appointed to the prestigious Council by President George H.W. Bush and was the only person reappointed by to this Council by President Bill Clinton and he was reappointed again by President George W. Bush as a constituent expert to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. Learn more about Kevin’s story and accomplishments.


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