Doug Stiffarm

By Jena Williams

So says Doug Stiffarm, this year’s winner of the Safety Professional of the Year award at the Washington Trucking Associations’ Day with the Winners.

As a second generation truck driver and a 27-year employee of Miles Resources (formerly Woodworth & Co.), Doug has worked his way up through the ranks and understands the concerns of employees at all levels. After working as driver, paving foreman, dispatcher, and purchasing manager, he applied for and accepted the challenge of a leadership role in safety in 2004. Doug believes doing your best, being respectful and accountable are especially important in the trucking industry.

When asked about his philosophy on safety, Doug said, “Safety is not an act or a rule. It is personal to each employee. I believe we all want to go home each night as healthy as we came to work.”  He has an open-door policy regarding safety, “God gave us two ears for a reason – we need to listen 50 percent more than we talk. You will be amazed how much you can learn.”

Doug teaches his new employees to never to be in a hurry, never second guess yourself, and always trust your gut as it is usually right. He also tells them to listen to the senior drivers because they have seen and experienced it all.

“You drive a rolling billboard and your actions, both good and bad, will reflect on your company’s success and failures,” he says.

When new federal or state legislation changes a policy or practice, Doug takes the time to explain and educate employees. He says it can be a challenge to get experienced employees to change a routine practice that they have never been hurt doing, but open communication and thorough training makes buy-in easier.

Doug is modest about his win, crediting all safety professionals for their efforts to keep trucking industry workers safe.

“I come to work each day to learn how to be better. I am successful at safety not because of me personally, but because of the people who work safely each day.”

The Safety Professional of the Year award is presented to the safety professional whose company and colleagues believe that he or she has made an impact on safety in their company and in the industry. The individual must have a passion for safety that is shown by their dedication and ethics.