Bryan’s BlogCategory: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Jan 5, 2018 | Updated: Jan 25, 2018 Read more: Health & Safety
Bryan Richards, the author of “Bryan’s Blog” and co-founder of Arinite, passed away on the 28th September 2017 after a short and very unexpected illness. It is a loss that his family, friends, business partners, colleagues and customers will feel deeply for many years to come.
I last saw Bryan on the 11th September, a day we’d set aside to review the previous 6 years and lay out plans for the next 2. It was a slightly disjointed day as we held our meeting on the train to and from Frinton, where we had a long relaxing lunch at the yacht club with Vince Summers.
Vince was the founder of Data Sound, the company where Bryan worked, and where he, Brendan Tuite and I first met. Vince said of Bryan:
“When he arrived at Data Sound for his interview it was in the days of us trying to build the Health & Safety division. He was clearly special and better qualified than anyone we’d seen. I would have bitten his hand off to join us and he always justified the choice.”
Bryan was undoubtedly the rock on which Data Sound’s services were built. But when the company was sold and sold again Bryan became a little disillusioned. Bryan and I recognised there was a market opportunity to create an innovative health and safety company and I knew that we had a far greater chance of success if Bryan was involved. He was:
- Respected by, looked up to, and a mentor to, his fellow consultants
- He was a creator and an innovator
- He was trusted and relied upon by his customers.
- He was passionate about creating safer healthier working environments.
Those fortunate enough to have attended one of Bryan’s training classes or who were party to his recommendations or advice, found his passion for the subject infectious, emerging not only better informed about health and safety but often feeling better about themselves and the world they lived in.
It was a gift Bryan shared with thousands of people during his career. Kevin Irwin, one of Bryan’s long time colleagues, sums it up very well:
“I was amazed at his enthusiasm for his work. In the 12 or so years that I knew Bryan, his professionalism and enthusiasm never waned.”
He was also a talented if somewhat reluctant salesman. Brendan, who worked with Bryan for 15 glorious years, said:
“Bryan told me many times he was not a salesperson but you could not get a better health and safety wingman in a sales call. He was a fantastic sales person, although he was happiest when clients took advice that helped create safer working environments. And he encouraged business owners to recognise that good health and safety is good for business”
Bryan’s personal objective for the company was to create a legacy that embodied his principles and passion for health and safety, and that would survive and thrive beyond his involvement. It is something he repeated consistently each time we reviewed our long term plans. Last month was no different.
And, despite leaving us way too soon, both Brendan and I know that the legacy he dreamed of and worked so hard for is assured.
Bryan was driven by his passion and the associated timelines and goals he set himself. He seemed most creative when working towards completion of a task or project by a specific date, especially if this was helping a client with a particular health and safety question. In the first 4 months after we set up Arinite he created the forms, processes and procedures, as part of an integrated system, that would allow us to provide health and safety services.
Shortly thereafter, Arinite’s first ever contract came from Steve Royce at the NHS, who said of Bryan:
“I had the privilege of knowing Bryan for a number of years and always found him engaging in conversation. He had a wealth of knowledge and experience, and his commitment to his profession was unparalleled in his quest for health and safety perfection”.
Over the last 5 years, with input from a growing group of Arinite consultants, evolving legislation and client feedback, Bryan continuously enhanced and kept the systems up to date. Those systems hold a significant part of Bryan’s knowledge base and are used by all of Arinite’s consultants today and by many of the clients, including Rob Guest at Greenshields JCB who found Bryan to be “extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and very easy to work with”.
Another part of Bryan’s knowledge base is captured in many of his health and safety insights, answers to the hundreds of health and safety questions he has been asked, fact sheets and monthly blogs, which collectively make up the Arinite website. Many other websites refer to those Arinite web pages as a critically important information source.
Today, if you Google “health and safety consultants” from any country, Arinite’s website will appear in the first few results on page 1. As a result of this we get calls from around the world, from the press, and from television on a regular basis.
I remember a few years ago when a delegation arrived from China to sit down with Bryan. They wanted his advice on adopting safe working practices in their own country.
Last year when Arinite secured its largest contract to date, Bryan’s passion was a contributing factor again. Rachel Peacock, the CEO of Making Space said:
“Bryan’s passion and knowledge when we met last year were key factors in me wanting to appoint Arinite”.
Arguably the greatest body of work Bryan created over the last 5 years are the 75 fact sheets, each one covering a health and safety topic on a single page. In typical Bryan fashion they are a riot of eye catching colour, flow charts, diagrams, pictures, anecdotes, legislation and best practice.
They are used and highly valued by all of our clients, and also provide Brendan with a significant competitive advantage when looking for new business.
This year those 75 fact sheets will be published in a book and made available on Amazon.
All proceeds from the sale of that book and any subsequent versions will go to a foundation we intend to establish in Bryan’s name. The foundation will focus on sharing Bryan’s passion for creating safer working practices, perhaps in countries where people are less protected than in the UK.
Through the company that Bryan co-founded, his knowledge and passion for creating a healthier safer working environment is now a global phenomenon.
The company has a secure future. We have the resources and talent to ensure it survives and builds on the legacy that Bryan created.
Very recently, coming full circle, a friend of Bryan’s asked for his advice on setting up their own company. The philosophy Bryan shared is a very simple one:
“Find something you are passionate about, focus on creating a legacy that will survive you, and the rest will take care of itself”.
Bryan lived his life that way – with passion and commitment – to his running and cycling, to his hockey, to health and safety, and most of all to his family.
I was incredibly privileged and fortunate to have met Bryan and share a small part of his life.
Although he leaves us with a massive void to fill, thousands of people will continue to benefit from his legacy.
Live your life Bryan’s way, with passion and commitment. And create your own legacy.