Kim Gamet, former safety specialist for Henry Ford Hospital, joins the Associated Builders and Contractors Southeastern Chapter team to provide safety services and training for its membership.
No stranger to a construction site, when Gamet arrived on a project, the first thing she did was sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with the superintendent. She understood the power of trust and relationships. From her first moment on the site, that team understood she was there to keep them all out of trouble.
“I learned in the military that you have to trust and believe in your team,” Gamet said. “I make it a priority to get to know them and make sure that they know I have their best interest at heart. It is not an easy job to do, especially when you know some of your decisions may impact the bottom line of a project, but when you weigh that with the safety of the crew working there it is a easy call to make.”
Gamet who served in the Navy, and then as a police officer, has always had the slogan “serve and protect” in her blood. She took that motto with her to the world of occupational safety, earning her degree at Columbia Southern University and working as safety specialist for a number of major general contractors and sub-contractors in southeast Michigan. It was that work that led her to work at Henry Ford Hospital, but she admittedly missed working out in the “trenches.”
“Once you have set foot on a job site and your safety senses kick in, it is a very rewarding experience,” Gamet said. “I am always happy to find an issue before it becomes one or feel gratified that the company has already addressed safety concerns in their bid and are in compliance. There is no downside to this job, it is diverse, and each day has its own challenges, but it makes it interesting and rewarding, as well.”
According to ABC SEMI President and CEO Keith Ledbetter, when he met Gamet, it was her never-ending passion for safety that struck him most.
“Nothing is more critical than to love what you are doing from first light until you go to bed,” said Ledbetter. “On weekends, these folks will drive a bit slower by a worksite or stop when they see someone on a ladder at the mall and offer to help hold that ladder. Kim is that type of person and that is what will make her a valuable asset to our association and it’s reaffirmed dedication to safety.”
Gamet says that safety runs in her family having both a father and a uncle involved in safety for the skilled trades. She has seen firsthand that when something goes horribly wrong on a job and someone gets hurt, safety professionals will carry some of that burden. They will own at least a part of the incident, thinking they could have done more.
“Someone once asked me if I thought that all accidents are avoidable,” said Gamet. “My answer was a resounding—Yes! You have to believe that! With proper planning and foresight into each project you can eliminate the threats to safety. If anyone feels there is any room for an accident to occur, they really should not be in this line of work.”
Gamet believes her military experience is a gift. As a veteran, she is used to working in a tight system and under a strict chain of command. It is that type of discipline that lends itself well to the unyielding world of occupational safety.
“Kim is a dedicated person,” said Ledbetter. “Her experience and training have compelled her to accept nothing short of perfection in her job. And, in a world where mistakes can create injuries or cost lives, it is a must for someone in her line of work. I encourage our members to take advantage of the safety training and services that our chapter is offering its members. You will find that having an ongoing safety program in place with your company will not only make sense, but dollars and cents.”
Gamet is married with four children and, when not focused on safety, spends time outdoors with her family.