Clark State faculty member named Safety Leader of the Year

Clark State Community College's Matt Franz. CONTRIBUTED
Clark State Community College's Matt Franz. CONTRIBUTED

The Clark County Safety Council Steering Committee has named Dr. Matt Franz of Clark State Community College with the 2020 Safety Leader of the Year award, according to a release from the school.

Franz, senior vice president of technology, safety and strategic initiatives for Clark State, said he is honored to even be considered for the award.

“I am humbled to be considered among my colleagues who focus on safety throughout Clark County. Safety is a critical part of the work we do at Clark State. We have an exceptional work environment where we are able to maintain a focus on safety while at the same time focusing on serving our students,” he said.

Franz was nominated for the award by Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin.

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“Dr. Matt Franz has led Clark State Community College through a change in institutional culture which now embraces safety and training,” Blondin said. “Higher education institutions often see safety as a strategy to be handled by someone else, but at Clark State, students, faculty and staff believe safety is everyone’s responsibility. That culture coupled with robust planning and training has led to a very safety-centered organization.”

A statement from the Clark County Safety Council Steering Committee stated that Franz’s nomination for the award was a stand-out.

“With your safety leadership, you have created a safety-first culture at Clark State,” the statement said. “Speaking for the Steering Committee, we greatly appreciate safety leaders like you and want to recognize your dedication.”

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Franz said safety at the school has always been a key component of his work, but the pandemic complicated things.

“One of the biggest things I’ve experienced throughout the pandemic was the growth of deeper collaboration within and across the areas I supervise on campus,” he said. “Safety is really not the job of someone else. It is something that everyone needs to own. The internal and external relationships that have been built or grown stronger through this pandemic have really helped the college remain a strong advocate for safety.”

Franz added that the unknowns and evolving guidance of the pandemic also made things even more challenging, but the Clark State team rose to that task.

“Through rapid internal communication, planning and execution, we were able to quickly develop foundational strategies to significantly reduce the risk of pandemic-related issues on campus,” he said. “It is worth restating that this success was really due to the exceptional teamwork at Clark State. I am extremely proud to work here and often use the safety culture here as an example of how safety can be part of everyone’s work without it being onerous or difficult.”

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