Staff Spotlight on Jake Taylor

25 Aug
Staff Spotlight: Jake Taylor

Kestrel Tellevate News

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Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with Senior Consultant Jake Taylor, CSP.  Based in KTL’s Madison office, Jake has over 25 years of management experience and has spent the past five years with KTL. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I was born in Blackfoot, Idaho. When I was two, my father, who had just gotten out of the U.S. Navy and my mother, who was an elementary school teacher, moved our family to Wisconsin. I grew up in a small town of around 700 people in Southwestern Wisconsin. After I graduated from high school, I got my B.S. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Zoology and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for five years. 

I wanted something more, so I took a chance and applied at a small family-owned industrial painting company in Wisconsin as the Human Resources/EHS Director and began working there in the early 1990s. There was a lot going on, and I learned “all things EHS” on the fly! It was a great experience and formed the foundation for my career. That job got me involved on the HR side of business, as well. I also served on the Board of Directors for the local Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM); a local family center; and a not-for-profit that ensured individuals with disabilities had a place to learn, work and advance their independence.

I left the painting company after 11 years to focus on expanding my EHS knowledge. I began working in EHS for food manufacturers and food warehousing, underground utilities (e.g., gas, electrical, cable TV), and fiber optics for over a period of about five years. I ended up at a large manufacturing plant that builds semi-trailers, grain hoppers, pups, etc. It was there I was able to learn more about processes like welding, presses, CNC machines, arc flash, and other EHS areas that I had never been exposed to. It was a great learning experience.

From there, I was presented with the opportunity to work for a large plastic thin-gauge thermoformer.    With plants throughout the U.S., I got to travel to the various locations doing all things EHS. I developed a certified ISO 14001 EMS in my position at that company. It was also the company I was working at when I met one of Kestrel’s (now KTL’s) Principals through an association. I ended up joining KTL in April 2015. At this time, I also got my certification as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). 

My areas of expertise as a consultant revolve around EHS on the manufacturing and chemical side—clearly tied to my background working in industry. I am also well-versed in the ISO standards as they relate to safety and GMPs (e.g., 9001, 14001, and 45001) but consider myself a well-rounded EHS professional.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I do a lot of work with the members of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). In fact, I am an NACD Responsible Distribution Adviser, so I have the opportunity to work with many chemical manufacturers, distributors, warehouses, and affiliates on managing their compliance, Responsible Distribution verification, and management systems requirements.

That being said, safety is clearly important for every company, so I do work for every type of client you can think of—refineries, agriculture, food, heavy industry, biotechnology, and universities. The trend in safety right now is a focus on “big data,” so KTL’s expertise in data management is valuable. In addition, developing efficiency tools and dashboards that allow companies to track and manage EHS performance and compliance in real time is changing the EHS profession. It is awesome that KTL can be a leader in designing and implementing those information management systems. It fascinates me to see how the information our tools capture can improve and change any organization.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I like to understand my clients and their organizations the best I can. Learning as much about them as possible helps me to grow—and that also allows me to better help all my clients. I enjoy the fact that I get exposure to so many different companies and get to know their organizations from the inside out. It is this practical education that really helps me to offer up ideas and solutions to my clients. Even more importantly, it is the people that I enjoy the most. Developing close relationships and having clients that keep coming back because of those relationships is very cool.

What do you like to do in your free time?

This may sound cliché, but with everything going on in our world right now, it is family that matters. As our kids grow older (they are 16 and 20), our relationships continue to evolve. Watching our sons grow up—way too fast—is amazing. I am also fortunate that both of my parents are still around and value each day I can spend with them. My job allows me the opportunity to do enough travel, so my free time is often spent on the lake with my wife, at the cabin, listening to old stories from my mother, fishing with my dad, or just “putzing” around in my garden or garage.

Read Jake’s full bio.

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