Team Services LLC, a Baton Rouge, La.-based provider of tankerman services all across the Gulf Coast region, is big on culture—a focus on teamwork, family, safety and excellence. It’s a culture that was started by Team Services founder Jim Fletcher, and one that’s carried on by his daughters and his sons-in-law, Brian Richard, the company’s chief financial officer and owner, and Derek Freeman, chief operating officer and owner.
“Team Services really focused on the culture and maintaining a culture of safety, so that the guys in the field know that we support their attention to detail, doing the right thing, and going into ‘stop work’ when they need to,” Freeman said. “It goes back to continuously improving and monitoring that culture to make sure we have the right safety training programs in place to keep people safe and make people feel comfortable when they have to make a judgment call and go into ‘stop work.’”
For the third time in five years, Team Services’ dedication to safely delivering tankerman services has garnered a safety award from American Equity Underwriters Inc. (AEU). Each year, AEU looks at the safety programs and performance of the members of the American Longshore Mutual Association (ALMA), the group self-insurance fund that provides USL&H coverage of which AEU is program administrator. AEU chooses award winners based on three factors: frequency of lost-time cases, severity of lost-time cases and the performance of a company’s safety program.
AEU announced its 2021 award winners earlier this summer. Team Services previously received the AEU Safety Award in 2019 and 2016.
Richard and Freeman said a crucial part of the company’s safety culture is each person approaching every job with fresh eyes and a firm commitment to safe operations.
“It really is a demonstration of us using our safety management system, our procedures and policies, and of the guys in the field recognizing that, even though it may be the same situation, there is a new set of hazards, because they’re in a different place, on a different river, in different water conditions or using different equipment,” Richard said. “If they trust and follow the policies and procedures in place, they’re going to set themselves up for a fulfilling day where they’ve helped the economy move along by accomplishing a complete transfer and getting home the same way they showed up.”
Besides following its safety management system and building a company culture of safety, Team Services has also served as a pilot company for AEU LEAD, a program dedicated to leadership development among middle managers. Team Services has also participated in AEU’s LOOK program that’s focused on reducing incidents through enhanced situational awareness.
Now, Team Services is building on the company’s safety culture by launching its own certified dangerous liquids (DL) school, with plans to also develop an in-house firefighting school. The DL school will be based at Team Services’ Baton Rouge headquarters and eventually expand to the company’s Houston office as well.
Freeman said it’s all about growing a new generation of tankermen at a time of great need throughout the industry.
“It goes back to our culture and trusting those processes and procedures, so that we can develop personnel that our customers can trust in,” he said. “The industry is in desperate need of personnel support. Our goal is to provide this for the industry, so they can trust in us, trust in the product we’re putting out there and know that their equipment and their customer’s product is in safe hands.”
Initially, the school will train Team Services tankermen only, but the company hopes to eventually provide that service to the industry as a whole. In doing so, Team Services is continuing Fletcher’s vision for safety and excellence through teamwork and family.
“We go back to our culture of family first and recognizing what the waterways can do for bringing opportunity and support to a family, while also supporting our country’s infrastructure and energy needs,” Richard said. “We’re really proud to keep that tradition going.”
Caption for photo: Katie and David Freeman (center) receiving American Equity Underwriters safety award.