When Joann Blayney was hired by Safety Dynamics Group in 1985, she started as a secretary with little background in safety training and management. After moving up in the company, she took ownership of the business in 2000.
Initially, Blayney’s main motivator for joining Safety Dynamics was her family. “What appealed to me about it was I had two little kids, and the man I went to work for was amazing. He didn’t have a problem when sometimes in the summer I would bring the kids to work,” she recalled. Plus the business was located within walking distance from her home.
“Safety was something I knew nothing about, but once I got into it, it began to get more exciting,” she said. In the mid 1980s, Safety Dynamics Group was primarily focused on providing CPR training for hospitals and small businesses. As federal and state workplace safety regulations became more stringent, particularly under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the company evolved to include comprehensive services to help businesses learn about and comply with new standards.
In the late ’80s, OSHA developed the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standards, which required businesses and organizations to adhere to certain hazardous waste cleanup procedures and respond to emergencies in particular ways. Safety Dynamics Group began training companies to properly comply with the standards, which significantly grew the business. “At that time, we trained all of the Texaco locations on the West Coast all the way to Alaska and Hawaii. That was a huge amount of growth for the company,” Blayney said.
As the safety regulatory environment underwent these changes, Blayney began taking on projects at work. “Going out and training people in CPR and hazardous materials management was just fascinating. I also learned how to write safety programs, which was a whole new area for me,” she said. After three years at Safety Dynamics, the owner gifted Blayney with 20 percent of the company. Several years later, he gifted her with another 20 percent. When he retired in 2000, she purchased the company.
The transition into owning her own business was fairly smooth, thanks to the clientele she had developed. “I was well entrenched in the business. I knew what I was doing. My clients were solid, and we had great accounts,” she said.
In a line of business dominated by regulations, Blayney said her biggest challenge is keeping up with changes to laws as well as new legislation. “The challenge is staying ahead of the game and keeping up with the changes in OSHA.”
Blayney continues to grow the business by expanding the services it provides. About six years ago, Safety Dynamics began providing businesses with onsite safety personnel and supervisors. She also opened a second location in Escondido last year, which serves San Diego County.
In the future, Blayney hopes to continue expanding her businesses by opening an office in the Bay Area.