#Duckumentary - Jonathan Diaz, CSP

Today we speak with EDA's Safety/QC Director, Jonathan Diaz!

What did you do before your time at EDA?
Before joining EDA I worked for a small safety consulting firm as an Environmental, Health, and Safety Specialist.

What brought you to the construction industry?
I began my safety career in construction down in DC and I loved it. I’ve always been drawn to construction. I don’t think most people view what tradesman do as “art”, but there’s no doubt about it… these craftsmen and women are building some of the worlds most beautiful structures. I’m just glad to be riding their coattails and being able to tell my kids, “Daddy helped build that”.

Can you briefly explain what you do at EDA?
As the Safety Director, I am tasked with observing and analyzing the processes and systems that are provided to the field staff and ensuring that those processes and systems send them home to their families the same way they left in the morning.

What are some things that most people don't know about you?
Unfortunately, I’m sort of an open book, heart on the sleeve type of guy. So, I’d say most people know too much about me.

If you weren’t in the construction industry, where would you be today?
I would most likely be working in environmental safety, dedicating my time and resources to finding alternative solutions to minimize global warming. I think that’s mostly driven by me wanting my children to have a habitable place to live 50 years from now.

If you could work in any other trade or department here at EDA, where would you be?
If I could work in any other trade or department here at EDA, I’d try roofing! There’s a deep sense of camaraderie among roofers, and a high level of respect for the work they’re willing to do day in and day out. It’s one of those jobs where you don’t get a lot of credit, because most people don’t see the finished product. However, its one of the most crucial aspects of the building. It’s a thankless job, one that those in my field can relate to.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in work? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge is changing the narrative and perception of “safety”. I don’t know that I have completely overcome it just yet, it’s a process that never ends. Though one thing that helps is honesty and transparency. I try to show everyone that I serve that I am just like them. We come from the same neighborhoods and have similar life experiences. And I think that a “familiar face” helps open the door to having meaningful safety conversations that become part of everyday operations, as opposed to a means to an end.

What has been the best part about your experience working with EDA?
It’s no secret that the room was split 50/50 when the news came in that EDA would be hiring a full-time safety professional. I don’t know where we stand now, I’ll let the people answer that, but I have a feeling we’re doing better than 50/50 these days. That turnaround has been the best part about working with EDA.

What is your favorite EDA value, and why?

My favorite EDA Value is Strive to Improve. I tend to use the phrase, “I’m a student of the game”, which in essence has the same meaning. I’m always looking for ways to learn and improve my knowledge and approach to my line of work. There’s an understanding throughout the safety industry that if we all do our parts where we are, we could have a collective influence that literally changes the world and saves thousands of lives.