What Does Success Look Like To You? – Bryan Winquist

What Does Success Look Like To You? – Bryan Winquist

Bryan Winquist is a seasoned environmental health and safety manager with a rich background in emergency services. He began his career as a firefighter and paramedic, roles that shaped his passion for safety and preventative care. Bryan holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin, which paved the way for his transition to safety management. Currently, he serves as the Complex Safety Manager at Tyson Foods, where he champions sustainable and safe workplace practices. Outside of his corporate role, Bryan passionately manages Nubian Meadows Farm in Somerville, Tennessee, practicing sustainable agriculture and raising Angus cattle. Committed to lifelong learning, Bryan is also an active member of the National Fire Protection Association, constantly enhancing his skills to better serve his community and protect the environment.

Q&A with Bryan Winquist

Bryan, can you tell us about your career transition from being a firefighter and paramedic to an environmental health and safety manager?

Absolutely. My career began in emergency services, where I developed a deep understanding of safety and the immediate effects of environmental hazards on public health. This background sparked my interest in preventative measures and led me to pursue a career in environmental health and safety. It was a natural progression for me, moving from responding to emergencies to preventing them, especially in a workplace setting at Tyson Foods.

What motivated you to take up sustainable farming alongside your role at Tyson Foods?

I’ve always felt a strong connection to the land, which is something that my career in safety management actually deepens. Managing Nubian Meadows Farm allows me to implement sustainable and safe farming practices firsthand. It’s incredibly rewarding to apply my professional skills to my personal passion for agriculture, and it’s also a fantastic way to stay connected to the environment and community.

How do you integrate your knowledge of safety into your farming practices?

Safety is universal, whether you’re in a factory or on a farm. On my farm, I implement rigorous safety protocols similar to those at Tyson Foods. This includes everything from safely handling equipment and chemicals to ensuring the health and safety of the livestock. Additionally, I focus on sustainable agriculture practices that protect the environment, such as soil health and water conservation, which inherently promote safety by fostering a healthier ecosystem.

What challenges have you faced in promoting sustainability within Tyson Foods, and how have you addressed them?

One of the biggest challenges is often cultural resistance to change and the initial cost associated with implementing sustainable practices. To address this, I focus on education and demonstrating the long-term benefits, not just for the environment but also for our bottom line—like reducing waste and improving efficiency. Getting buy-in from all levels of the organization is crucial, and it starts with clear communication and measurable benefits.

Can you share a particular success story where you were able to make a significant impact through your role?

Certainly! One of the initiatives I’m most proud of involved redesigning our waste management processes at Tyson Foods. By introducing more comprehensive recycling protocols and reducing unnecessary packaging materials, we significantly decreased our waste output. This project not only helped us reduce costs but also strengthened our commitment to environmental stewardship, which is a core component of our corporate responsibility.

What advice would you give to young professionals interested in a career in environmental health and safety?

My advice would be to stay curious and always be learning. The fields of environmental health and safety are constantly evolving, and staying informed about new laws, technologies, and strategies is crucial. Also, develop your communication skills; being able to effectively convey the importance of EHS initiatives is key to gaining buy-in and implementing successful programs.

Looking to the future, what new initiatives or goals are you excited about at Tyson Foods or on your farm?

I’m particularly excited about exploring more advanced renewable energy sources at both Tyson Foods and on my farm. Harnessing solar energy and possibly wind where applicable will not only reduce our carbon footprint but also potentially create energy independence in the long run. It’s about setting a sustainable example in the industry and personally contributing to a healthier planet.

Lastly, what do you find most fulfilling about your work in both environmental health and safety and sustainable farming?

The most fulfilling aspect is knowing that I am making a tangible difference. Whether it’s improving safety standards to protect our employees at Tyson Foods or nurturing the land responsibly at Nubian Meadows Farm, it’s all about creating a safer, healthier, and more sustainable world for future generations. The impact of these efforts, seeing real changes and improvements, is incredibly rewarding.