Interview with Matt Airhart, President and COO, VelocityEHS
Matt is the President & COO of VelocityEHS which is one of the largest, most-respected environment, health and safety (EHS) software companies. he helped build KMI, an Oakville, Ontario-based EHS software provider, from startup over a decade ago to acquisition by MSDSonline in 2014. Together, KMI and MSDSonline became VelocityEHS and subsequently acquired several other leading companies including Human Tech (ergonomics), Spiramid (industrial hygiene and occupational health), ChemTel (emergency response services), and e3 (environmental compliance) to name a few. Together, through continuous integration, product innovation and an organization-wide focus on customer success, we have built VelocityEHS into one of the most trusted and highest-rated brands in our industry.
He thrives on building high-performing teams and solving complex business challenges and get to indulge that passion on a daily basis. From the executive team, through senior leadership, to the newest hires, they have over 500 highly energized, creative professionals who know they are helping thousands of companies be safer and more sustainable.
How does the acquisition of Meercat RiskView expand VelocityEHS’ capabilities?
Matt: VelocityEHS’ acquisition of Meercat, an Australian-based risk and control assurance software solution provider, is a game changer. It extends VelocityEHS’ existing risk management capabilities to provide an even better end-to-end experience for the industry’s largest EHS software community. Those capabilities include bowtie risk assessments, risk analysis and control assurance tools that get to the heart of minimizing human error, increasing decision making confidence, and efficiently deploying programs in multi-site and enterprise environments. The existing Meercat RiskView community, and others in the Pacific Rim, can now gain synergies with VelocityEHS’ comprehensive suite of solutions, including the industry’s top chemical management, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and incident management products, to help them meet their occupational health, safety and sustainability goals.
Why was this particular acquisition so important to VelocityEHS?
Matt: Software is almost meaningless without the right people behind it. In addition to strengthening the VelocityEHS risk management products, and expanding our presence in Australia and along the greater Pacific Rim, the Meercat acquisition brings into the VelocityEHS family the Meercat team, led by Alex Apostolou. Alex and team have a deep understanding of the pressures that Risk Managers feel today, and extensive experience helping them solve their toughest risk management concerns. Together, we are going to better serve the growing VelocityEHS customer base in the region, and we are also going to meet the increased global market demand for the risk management solutions built by Alex and his team.
What do you feel companies continue to get wrong when it comes to their risk management strategy?
Matt: Many businesses have risk strategies in place today that were considered best practice not that long ago. However, today, those strategies may be self-limiting. So much has changed, even in just the last year or two. Compromises a business might have had to make in the past, about how far to extend their risk management tools, or who to involve — those limitations no longer exist. Software has evolved and become affordable enough that strategies once reserved for only the biggest companies are now available to any company. Today, a company does not have to rely on a small handful of people to run dynamic and comprehensive risk analysis, like bowties. Thanks to the marriage of cloud, mobile and data technologies, an effective bowtie can be created by anyone, in any industry, for any risk, and now anywhere in real time. Businesses can share ownership for risk and achieve greater visibility and control, and standardize conventions across all locations and support site specialisation. They can also automate quantitative models that recalculate risk ratings in real-time using input from critical control verification results. So, it’s not about what people are doing wrong, it’s about businesses not understanding the incredible resources that are available to them for less money and energy than they are currently spending just to preserve the status quo.
From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge/key focus in the health and safety industry?
Matt: Not getting distracted. Technology is driving forward, and it’s exciting. But, not all technological advancements warrant the same kind of attention and investment. Drones and IOT have their place in EHS; however, rather than getting distracted by the latest gadget or toy, most companies today would be better off continuing to focus on people and the simple things the company can do to make their peoples’ day-to-day tasks easier. Technology is worthless if it’s too complex and complicated for you or your workers to use. EHS software should be robust enough to meet business objectives and compliance needs, yet easy enough for frontline employees to use. Similarly, EHS directors are swimming in data, but pulling together even the most basic of reports is often a painstaking task, especially when you are trying to organize data from locations all over the world, with metrics and calculations unique to each jurisdiction. Too many people are being led astray by their technology. Technology should not be making risk management harder, rather simplifying it. EHS is pretty simple when boiled down to its essence; identify, prioritize and manage risks before there is harm to people, property or the environment.
What do you hope attendees will take away after meeting with you on-site at the OHS Leaders’ Summit Australia?
Matt: At VelocityEHS, we don’t want to be your vendor. We want to be your partner. After talking to us, I hope attendees have a better understanding that our solutions are the best in the industry, not because they’re the most elaborate or expensive, but because our focus has always been on simplicity and value and delivering solutions you and your people will actually understand and use. We’ve stripped away what’s unnecessary so you have the right information when you need it, in a way that makes sense and is actionable. We want attendees to know that on the other side of our software and services are people whose passion is making workplaces safer and more sustainable, and that your success is our success.
Trusted by more than 18,000 customers worldwide, VelocityEHS helps you reach your EHS goals faster with quick implementations, affordable solutions and unparalleled customer support. We deliver a comprehensive cloud-based environment, health and safety (EHS) software platform. Our easy-to-use software applications are designed based on industry best-practice principles to help you solve complex business challenges in simple ways. Recognized by the EHS industry’s top independent analysts, including leading scores in the Verdantix 2019 Green Quadrant Analysis, VelocityEHS is the global leader in cloud EHS software solutions.
VelocityEHS is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with locations in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Tampa, Florida; Oakville, Ontario; London, England; and Perth, Western Australia.