Bob Kunz, corporate safety director at Dimeo Construction Co.’s Providence office, was recently named the 2012 Construction Safety Professional of the Year by the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut. The award honors a leading individual from the commercial construction industry who has demonstrated skills, integrity and responsibility in his or her career. Kunz was presented the award during AGC’s eighth annual Industry Recognition Awards Dinner in October. He has been employed with Dimeo since 2007 and has worked as a safety professional since 1992.
PBN: Tell us a little bit about what your job as corporate safety director entails.
KUNZ: As corporate safety director, I work with a staff of five site-safety managers in support of our safety program at the operational, or project level. I also support our marketing and pre-construction teams. The level of support ranges, but often includes interviews with clients and/or perspective clients, development of site-specific safety plans and technical resource during constructability review and planning. I also work with our executives to develop and provide continuing safety education for our employees, as well as develop and implement safety programs.
PBN: How do you think your area of the industry has changed in the last decade or so?
KUNZ: There is no question that safety professionals have benefited enormously through the advancement of technology – in particular, access to information. I have maintained throughout my career that the position is 95 percent communication and 5 percent technical ability (admittedly, that 5 percent is weighted very heavily). The 95 percent is based upon having access to information – being able to obtain knowledge. The Internet, for example, provides access to operating manuals, OSHA regulations and interpretations, training material, material safety data sheets, and Web-based software allows safety professionals to draw instantly from safety-observation history. There is no question that my effectiveness has increased with the advancement of technology.
PBN: When you’re not in the office, how do you enjoy spending your time?
KUNZ: I spend all my time with my family and friends. I live in Pawtuxet Village with my wife and two daughters. Our oldest is in her freshman year of college and our youngest is a sophomore in high school. We live a simple life, but there is nothing like a night out with friends, taking in a high school field hockey game, a parents’ weekend, an overnight adventure to Boston or just relaxing at home. •