Our commitment to health and safety has never been more critical than the last year, as the world contended with the COVID-19 pandemic. In a stroke of excellent timing, Canton Larson joined Sentry Equipment in 2019 as an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Specialist. This role became essential in leading the company through the crisis.
“COVID increased the focus on hygiene and how to navigate safely during a pandemic. Now, safety is evolving and making new waves at work. By hiring a full-time employee, Sentry Equipment took safety to the forefront. We’re taking steps away from being reactive to proactive,” explains Canton.
Since 1924, Sentry Equipment has been dedicated to protecting the people, products and environments that matter the most. When Dick Henszey bought the family business in 1959, he renamed it Sentry Equipment because our products “guarded” material integrity and boiler systems against corrosion. Today, our motto is “to safeguard people and processes for a better world,” and every employee-owner strives to reach this goal.
Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Specialist
Three things he’d take on a deserted island: “If food and water aren’t a problem, I’d take a football for entertainment, a fishing pole, and a boat to get off the island.”
What does he do when he’s not working? “I like to hunt and fish, do CrossFit, play softball on a tournament team, play volleyball, and play video games.”
If you could be or do anything else, what would it be? “I’d be a hunting guide or doing something outdoors. Or maybe I’d be an athletic trainer since that was my original college major.”
Safeguarding Sentry Equipment
His day usually starts with reviewing the latest safety best practices and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) information to ensure our products and processes meet these guidelines. Then, he might focus on 5S, a system for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently, effectively and safely. Or he might inspect the equipment, evaluate first-aid practices, assess product labeling, review evacuation plans, attend safety committee meetings, or manage hazardous waste procedures.
He regularly collaborates with other employee-owners to ensure safety practices are practical and consistently applied. “I love when the shop employee-owners provide input because they’re where safety is most important,” he says.
Although this is his first job out of college, Canton feels his contributions are valued and respected even though he’s relatively new to the industry. “It’s exciting to be greeted with respect and confidence that you can do your job, especially when you’re so young. People from the ground level to executives value and hear your opinions and are willing to try them out,” he says. “I have the great ability to learn from seasoned vets to be a better employee. There are wonderful mentors here who aren’t afraid to allow me to make mistakes and learn new things.”
Those mentors have been incredibly supportive as Canton learns on the job, in arguably the most stressful year in recent history. “Coming in green out of college and turning classroom experience into the business and practical experience is the biggest challenge,” he says. “There are often processes and approvals that aren’t addressed in a textbook and need to be learned and applied to safety programs.”
As a proudly employee-owned company, Sentry believes that employee ownership makes a difference.
Employee-owners share in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which means we share the benefits of our hard work, positive results and continual improvement and innovation. Canton says this creates a strong company culture supported by a team of diverse professionals all working toward the same goal – protecting people and processes.
“The people at Sentry Equipment make the job enjoyable. Our employees driven and motivated to do the right thing, are often forward-thinking, and open-minded to new ideas,” he says. “Everyone feels like they are part of something bigger, and there’s a strong sense of accountability and teamwork.”
Employee-Owner Profiles is a regular feature that highlights members of our team. As an employee-owned company, Sentry Equipment believes that employee ownership makes a difference. Our employee-owners are dedicated to hard work, positive results and continual improvement and innovation to provide our customers the highest quality products and services.