Editorial: 04.14.2020

Trey Patterson Keeps Safety at the Forefront

trey patterson

Each time Trey Patterson steps onto a Castle jobsite, he’d like to be viewed as a resource, not an obstacle.

“I’m not there to bust chops or just make sure everyone has masks, gloves and glasses on,” he says. “It's really about getting to know the folks and the work so that I can be a helpful resource.”

As senior regional safety manager, Patterson oversees all Castle safety initiatives, working closely with Safety Coordinator Cody Hobbs to support project teams. The scope of his role includes safety orientations, training, incident investigations and program development.

“What I like most is getting out and talking with folks, figuring out what makes them tick and how to best help them succeed,” he says.

Despite his laid-back approach, Patterson never loses sight of why safety is essential. “Obviously we don't want anybody to get injured or not have the ability to provide for their families,” he says. “And owners don't want to work with a contractor that injures people or doesn’t work safely, so the better we do, the better work that we get.”

Growing up in the small town of Jonesburg, Missouri, Patterson developed an interest in construction from his dad, a mechanic who repaired heavy equipment.

After earning a safety management degree at Central Missouri State University (now called the University of Central Missouri), he accepted a position as safety engineer with Nooter Construction, an industrial contractor.

“For three or four years, I traveled the country—coast to coast and border to border,” he says.

Patterson loved the experience, but not the grueling schedule.

While attending a safety conference in San Diego, he ran into Steve Miller, safety director at McCarthy Building Companies. The two had previously worked together when Patterson completed a college internship. “We just started talking and it led to an opportunity for me to put down some roots in St. Louis,” he says. 

Patterson joined McCarthy as safety coordinator in 2007. In this position, he supported numerous projects, including the redevelopment of the Gateway Arch grounds, a joint venture with Castle that paved the way for McCarthy’s acquisition of Castle.

In 2016, Patterson signed on with Castle as its first full-time safety manager, a role that has expanded with the company.

His current position as senior regional safety manager encompasses Castle projects as well as those within the healthcare, commercial and education markets across McCarthy’s central region—from east of Columbia, Missouri, to New York.

On a typical day, Patterson visits at least three or four jobs, although the current COVID-19 crisis has temporarily altered that practice.

“It's been tough” he admits. “We’re leveraging a lot of our technology, but it's not like I can just call a foreman and ask him to FaceTime the job site so we can do a safety audit. I need to be physically present to help the crews out and identify any problems that people may not have noticed yet.”

He believes the crisis will ultimately spark innovation within the construction industry. “I think it will make us better in the long run,” Patterson says. “We will learn different ways to do things and find different tools to help manage our projects.”


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