A Safe Bet: Navigating Change with Caterpillar Safety Services

February 1, 2022

Change is difficult. There’s no doubt about it. How do you get your leaders, team and colleagues to buy in on an idea and rally around it? It takes a lot of patience and a lot of work – but that’s the focus of our Caterpillar Safety Services business.

The Safety Services team’s goal is to help companies completely turn around their safety culture.

“To be successful, the recipe has to be good on both sides,” says Caterpillar Safety Services Lead Consultant Todd Efird. “We have to deliver the work well, but our customers have to listen to our advice and execute it well.”

However, when a customer goes all in right from the beginning it makes a world of difference.

Opportunity for (ZIP)™ process

It all started in 2018, when a Caterpillar Safety Services presentation caught the attention of Cory Danner, President of Arcosa Aggregates at Dallas, Texas-based Arcosa, provider of infrastructure-related products serving construction, engineered structures, and transportation markets.


The presentation led to a Zero Incident Performance Process (ZIP)™ contract deal between Caterpillar Safety Services and Arcosa. The ZIP process, designed to change a culture from its current standing to an improved position, typically involves engaging employees at all levels of the organization and taking a positive approach to safety. For example, instead of looking at what went wrong, the focus shifts to recognizing what is being done right, including proactive safety activities.

At that point, Arcosa and their leadership, specifically two individuals, Cory Danner, President of Arcosa Aggregates and Reid Essl, President of Arcosa Construction Products Group, were 100% onboard.

A safety culture to believe in

“I’ve executed this no differently than I have with any others, but they just believe in it,” says Efird.

“These two guys, Cory Danner and Reid Essl, have visibly demonstrated their involvement and commitment to this at a higher level – and that, in my opinion, is what has helped driven our success,” Efird continues. “They are there at every meeting. They start the meetings. They kick off the meetings. They hold people accountable at a higher level than I’ve ever seen. We told them what they would get if they used our recipe and took our advice. They’ve taken the entire enchilada and they’ve just done it.”

Arcosa has seen so much success, the leaders have even gone as far as referring Caterpillar Safety Services to outside organizations.

Waiting for the ‘Aha!’ moment

While the team is thankful for the collaboration from Arcosa, they recognize not every deal is the same. Sometimes a customer isn’t looking for an end-to-end solution.

“If we get the basics started, they realize along the journey that they should have listened, and they add it,” Efird explains. “It puts pressure on us to show them the value. They’ve got to have the ‘aha!’ moment themselves and come back and say, ‘Oh, this is what you meant when you had this in the contract.’”

However, it’s not always easy.

“You need to have the patience to wait for the lightbulb to come on,” Efird reveals.

Over the years, Arcosa has continued to grow and expand by acquiring new businesses and employees, and the company continues to bring Caterpillar Safety Services along for the journey.