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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

From Drag Strip to Classroom, Safety Is His Game!

From Drag Strip to Classroom, Safety Is His Game!
by William L. Bulla

VAROOOOM, VAROOOM! The roar of the car engine as it is revved up is an exciting moment for its driver, Tom Minnick. It is now just seconds from that thrilling moment when he will be hurtling down that quarter mile track at a speed of 150 miles per hour--a trip of only 8.8 seconds. Many hours, days and weeks of preparation are required to prepare the car for that few seconds of excitement. The partnership of Tom Minnick and Mike Grimm began in 1961 with a 55 Chevy. This relationship lasted for 5-years, before Minnick's job took him to other parts of the world. Ten years ago, he rejoined Grimm and new partner Buck Kees to form the Minnick, Kees and Grimm Race Team. Today Tom Minnick races a '67 Camero with Kees as his crew chief and Grimm as a crew member.
In addition to being a licensed amateur drag racer, Tom Minnick is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Thomas L. Minnick has over 25 years experience as a Safety Practitioner and over 20 years experience as a Certified Safety Professional of the Americas practicing Safety for the Department of Defense where he developed and implemented programs and policy that reduced the frequency, severity, and cost of mishaps and occupational health illnesses.
Minnick has worked in the private sector, as well as the public sector where he was Director of Programs for Safety and Environmental Protection for Naval Network Warfare Command. He developed many training programs including a video of "Driving in Greece", "Tower Climbing & Rescue", "Electrical Energy Control at the Power Panel", "Motor Vehicle Mishap Prevention", "10 Things All Supervisors Need To Know About Safety", and "Collateral Duty Safety Training" to name a few.
Minnick's work in safety has included positions as Industrial Hygienist, Safety Specialist, Safety Engineer, Safety Manager, Safety Director, Fire Prevention Engineer and Hazardous Material Control Manager.
He has developed "Minnick's Theorem on Safety Behavior." This states that the amount of safety behavior or awareness people direct to any task is in direct proportion to their perception of how hazardous that particular task may be.
As an example he said, " Handling a loaded firearm is done with great care and attention knowing (having the perception) that it has the potential of causing death or serious harm. If that perception is not there, the safety behavior is greatly diminished. Only after understanding why we do things can we change how we do things."
When his crew chief's, grandson was killed in a motor vehicle mishap, Minnick was asked to make a presentation to the boy's classmates at Musselman High School in Martinsburg. Thus was created his "Motor Vehicle Mishap Prevention for Teenagers" presentation. This presentation is something every teenager should sit through. Minnick gains their attention about auto safety, because they learn that he is a drag racer and talking to them as an experienced driver. Tom is available to make this presentation to schools and youth groups in our tri-state area.
Born in Washington, D.C., Minnick moved to Martinsburg in 1950, where he grew up. After high school he served 4-years in the Navy, returning home to go to work for Corning. In 1971, when the Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was enacted, Minnick's supervisor at Corning notified him he would be the Safety Specialist at the Martinsburg plant. With this new role facing him, Minnick began taking safety courses at Shepherd College. He first acquired a Fire Service and Safety Technology Certificate, then an AAS Degree in Fire Service Technology, and went on to graduate with a B.A. Degree with concentrated studies in Occupational Safety and Health.
This year, Minnick will be teaching a six-class safety certification program at Hagerstown Community College.
Tennis plays another important role in Tom Minnick's life. He started playing the game at age thirty-five and developed into a better than average amateur player. In fact, in his travels all over the world he has won amateur tournaments in Greece, London, The Bahamas, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia and numerous other locations. Minnick has won 20 tournaments in the past 20 years in the "Over 40 Year Old" amateur classification.
Minnick, a AAA Defensive Driver Instructor, is available to share his "Motor Vehicle Mishap Prevention for Teenagers" presentation with youth groups throughout the tri-state area. This presentation addresses auto safety and could be instrumental in preserving the lives of our young drivers. As a drag racer he can address the topic of speed and gain the attention and respect of our teen drivers with his auto safety presentation. Groups or organizations working with youth may contact Mr. Minnick at TM Safety Services, 301-797-1648.

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