Safety processes ground everything we do at Milliken —from the associates we hire to the day-to-day management of our more than 35 manufacturing facilities. We are honored to have people on the Milliken team with a dedicated passion for safety, and ultimately, paving the way for innovative thinking.
In honor of his commitment to these safety practices, Sammy Davis was awarded last month as a Manufacturing Employee of the Year, in the Large Company/Support category, by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The awards program recognizes the important contributions honorees have made to their employers, customers and communities.
Sammy’s career, starting from his first years with the company as a production associate in 1978, highlights his progression through Milliken. From a production associate, he joined the start-up team for the newly built Milliken Allen plant in Blacksburg, South Carolina, where he became the plant facilitator by 2011 and is now the plant Safety and Training Facilitator, a role he essentially created.
Sammy is a recognized safety and training advocate at Milliken. He speaks at Milliken Safety Performance events and has spoken at the South Carolina Manufacturers Association Safety Conference. Drawing on his formative years as a production associate, Sammy witnessed firsthand how vitally important safety is in a manufacturing setting. Often times, when he speaks to audiences on safety practices, he draws from these experiences to showcase how doing things the right way far exceeds doing things the easy way.
While his current role mainly focuses on implementing safety protocol at Milliken’s Allen plant, his impact on associate safety goes well beyond this definition. An advocate for his fellow associates, Sammy constantly looks for creative ways to engage others in safety and health processes. He relies on associates volunteering to collaborate with him on various safety and health or training projects — a tangible example of the trust he instills among associates. He has also inspired associates to take ownership of not only their personal safety but of the safety of their fellow associates, too.
A collaborative and cooperative leader, Sammy leads by example and puts the team first. In 2017, he was part of a volunteer group asked to pilot a behavior-based safety process called SAFESTART, which provides personal accountability education centered on safety and health. Once a certified SAFESTART instructor, he took what he learned to found the Allen Plant Mentor Process for new hires. The mentorship program highlights Sammy’s “get it done” attitude, stepping up to take charge and implement real change. Additionally, every new hire at the Allen plant spends a full week with Sammy, and associates consistently share that they hope to emulate his dedication to safety and health efforts.
In the beginning of 2017, Sammy embarked on a year-long project to streamline job certifications and safety training. He invested personal time and brought innovative thinking to the program’s development, updating a plant protocol previously in effect for more than 25 years. By advocating for and implementing an electronic skill certification testing and tracking system, Sammy saves the Allen plant more than 1,000 hours a year in associate time. The process is currently being implemented at two other locations within the Milliken chemical division.
Sammy has helped contribute to a number of company and plant recognitions, namely the 2017 South Carolina Manufacturers Association (SCMA) Plant Safety Award at the Allen Plant, as well as Milliken’s induction into the Hall of Fame of the America’s Safest Companies List presented by EHS Today magazine.
Sammy Davis is one of many examples of Milliken associates leading the way in their respective fields. Explore other inspiring associate spotlights here.