As a Quality Specialist for Flagger Force, Danny Rice brings years of military training to the front lines of work zones in the greater Baltimore/Washington region. Recently, Flagger Force met with Danny to discuss his past experiences and to learn a bit more about his current role within the company.
Flagger Force: Danny, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us
today. Can you tell us how your career with Flagger Force started?
Danny: I served over 20 years in the military, active duty. After spending about seven years working as a defense contractor, I was laid off. My wife and I were driving past a Flagger Force work zone and saw their trucks. I immediately thought, I love being outdoors; I can do that! I pulled over and approached a flagger who was monitoring the work zone and asked him if he knew if the company was hiring. He directed me to the website listed on the side of the truck, and within a short time, I started out as a Crew Member with the Baltimore Operations & Training Facility. I have been with Flagger Force for about two and a half years and have really enjoyed meeting new people and working in different places.
Flagger Force: Thank you for your service, Danny! Can you tell us a bit more about your experience in the military?
Danny: I have seen so many things in my life thanks to the military. I traveled a lot: Korea, Japan, most of Europe, Iraq, and more. Over the two decades that I was in the military, I learned discipline, respect, and what it means to be a leader. In my military career I was in charge of a company of soldiers, about 150 people. We relied on one another to get our job done each day and come home safely, in a similar way to Flagger Force.
Flagger Force: Would you say you were able to bring a lot of your experiences from the military and apply them to your position at Flagger Force?
Danny: Without question. Being able to make decisions quickly and safely, staying determined throughout the day, and having respect for others are just a few that come to mind. I stand up for the safety and values of our company. This is especially relevant in an active work zone, where hesitation can cause injury to the client, my crew, and the public.
Flagger Force: How do you communicate to clients the importance of properly setting up a work zone?
Danny: I am over 50 years old, and I do not like to waste time or energy doing things twice, so I prefer to do things right the first time. Most of the time, we hear the client say, “We are only working here five minutes.” The five minutes turn into two hours, and the crew is rushed to set up, leaving the client unprotected. Safety is in the best interest of the company, the client, my crew, and the public. Safety is non-negotiable. First, I share with the client the typicals that we are using for that particular setup and then explain our Flagger Force best practices. I think being able to explain to the client the reasoning behind the decisions we make helps them trust me and our company as the experts.
Flagger Force: Have you faced any other challenges in the field?
Danny: When I first started, I found learning all the setups for the state very difficult, and of course, working with many different personalities. Unfortunately, I have come across a few people who aren’t as determined as I am to set up a work zone properly. Those individuals don’t last too long. It is the folks who take the time to learn from the books, and from the other Crew Leaders and Advanced Crew Leaders who have a lot of knowledge, that last at Flagger Force.
Flagger Force: You are in a new role with Flagger Force. Can you tell us what that is?
Danny: Recently, I have been honored with the new position of Quality Specialist for Baltimore. It is a part of Flagger Force’s Quality Department initiative that launched in the beginning of 2016. Every day, I check in with various work zone setups and make observations on the site. I have noticed a lot of positive changes since we implemented this. For example, there has been a large decrease in personal protective equipment (PPE) violations in our market. On the flip side, one thing we can improve on is starting off every job with a quality pre-job brief. The lead on the job needs to communicate with other members of the crew what exactly the job entails, how traffic will be directed, and additional information. I always say a pre-job brief needs to happen every day, every time.
Flagger Force: When you are not working at Flagger Force, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Danny: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Watching the Kansas City Chiefs for football, the Boston Celtics for basketball, and since I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, my favorite college football team is the Crimson Tide from the University of Alabama. When sports aren’t on, I spend a lot of time giving back to my community. I am a member of the Shriners, which manages the Shriners Hospitals for Children. I also am a member of my local Masonic Lodge, where we do a lot of collection of donations for the Boys & Girls Club in the area. I try to take the time to coach and mentor young individuals in the organization to assure them that they have what it takes to advance in the cause.
Flagger Force: Danny, you have shared so much with us today, but we have one last question for you. If you could give a piece of advice to a newly hired Crew Member, what would it be?
Danny: Anytime I meet a new employee of Flagger Force, I encourage them to always stay aware of their surroundings. You never know when conditions could change around you. I also share with them my experience learning the typicals, and some best practices that have helped me the most throughout my time here.