Last Word: The Foundation of Safety

One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt which goes: “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This statement exemplifies the most critical aspect of safety and the heart of achieving safety success.
The cliché “Safety starts at the top,” — while critically important — simplifies how safety success is obtained and allows an easy excuse for failure. Often, the owner, CEO, or president subscribe themselves to be the safety driver for the company. Indeed, most individuals in these positions understand the significance of safety to a successful business and gladly assume or feel they need to assume, this designation.
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Mortimer the Sewer Rat (2007 – 2016)

Mortimer the Sewer Rat, the coveted prize of NASTI’s No-Dig Show Educational Fund Auction and famed symbol of trenchless education, has been retired. He was nine. To NASTI members and trenchless professionals, Mortimer has become the headlining act of the No-Dig Show auction each year, with trenchless companies bidding on the stuffed rat as the final auction prize of the night. The demand for Mortimer has result­ed in thousands of dollars donated to NASTI’s Educational Fund, with the money benefitting the Society’s 18 student chapters and numerous education initiatives. Over the years, Mortimer has also traveled the trenchless construction world, making regular ap­pearances on projects with construction crews. Mortimer first entered the spotlight in 2007. During the Western Society for Trenchless Technology’s No-Dig Annual Conference, Dr. Sam Ariaratnam, WES TI chair at the time, organized a Jeopardy game for exhibitors during the conference reception in which ex -hibitors created questions and the participant with the most points won a prize. Jan Gould of the City of Reno, purchased the rat at a Halloween store, created his safety vest and presented him to the Jeopardy game winner Glenn Boyce of McMillen Jacobs Associates. According to records, by 2009, after Akkerman, Inc. won the sewer rat at the auction, Ariaratnam suggested Akkerman give it a name, and “Mortimer” was chosen. Since then, Mortimer has been a sta­ple of the NASTI auction and the trenchless community. In 2016, Mortimer was split between Midwest Mole and Iowa Trenchless. Unfortunately, after a nine-year run and a bit too much jobsite wear and tear, Mortimer succumbed to injuries and was forced into retirement. Not to worry …