FORT BENNING, Georgia (June 4, 2018) --Civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Alabama (South), Jeff Coleman, served as the keynote speaker for today's kickoff of the 2018 Army Safety and Occupational Health Emerging Leader Summit.

The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center annually organizes a weeklong safety summit to equip safety professionals at all levels with pertinent skills and knowledge to advise their commanders.

"I would like to congratulate every safety professional here, and in the Army, for what you do," Coleman said. "We've had an incredible decade of performance, and we need to continue down the pathway of creating a culture of safety that allows us to get better and not be content, but rather be committed to the mission."

Coleman illustrated parallels of safety between his civilian business, Coleman Worldwide Moving, and the Army, stressing the importance of cultivating an organization-wide safety culture.

"I'm responsible for a significant fleet of transport trucks, which can potentially cause significant destruction if involved in an accident," said Coleman. "So from my perspective as a business leader, safety is all about culture. It's ingrained in all facets of our business. It's not something that we do and it's not a program or initiative, but it's ingrained in our DNA."

Coleman stressed the importance of collaboration and how the summit is an opportune venue to promote and facilitate coaching, mentorship, peer-to-peer interaction and information sharing among members of the Army Safety community.

"We need to simplify what we do in a challenging environment. I encourage you, as emerging leaders, to collaborate," he said. "We have to work together and share best practices in these types of events. It's a great opportunity to share initiatives and ideas as we innovate and find better, more efficient ways to create a safety culture.

"This is a very exciting time in the U.S. Army, in the ability that we have to make change, not only in readiness but what we're doing in modernization. I'm very proud to be a part of that effort."

Coleman left audience members with a challenge.

"Do not be content in what you do and do not rest on your laurels," he said."Given the successful 10-year safety run our Army had, it's easy at some point to be content.

"Don't be content. Rather, be committed in what you do in sustaining our Army's readiness."