Get to Know Superintendent Mike Schlotfeldt

Mike Schlotfeldt, a superintendent out of the INW, was recognized in our Safety Excellence Recognition (SER) program for demonstrating our Wait-a-Second pillar while on the job. Mike noticed a couple of employees had gotten themselves into a fall hazard situation. He immediately asked the employees and project team to meet in the job trailer and went through the fall-protection plan again to make sure everyone understood how to prevent fall hazards and how to respond when falls occur. The outcome is representative of how a situation like this should be handled.

In the Q&A below, learn more about Mike’s role at McKinstry and how he chooses to own safety every day.

Learn More About Mike’s Experience

What is your role at McKinstry/ how did you get there?

I am a general superintendent in Spokane/Sheet Metal by trade. I started working for McKinstry in 2008 for New Construction. From 2015-2017 I transferred into Shop & Logistics overseeing the Logistics Dept. From 2017-2022 I was a sheet metal general foreman for a couple of our bigger projects in Seattle. In June of 2022 I started the position I’m in now, and my family and I are enjoying living in Medical Lake.

Why do you choose to “own safety?”

I choose to own safety because I want everyone to go home safe to their families. We lost a fellow tradesperson on a job I’m working on, and it hit me and our McKinstry team a lot harder than expected. It was a real eye opener and reminder of how dangerous construction can be. That’s why safe work planning is important. Stick to the plan and Wait-a-Second if conditions change. We need to always look out for each other and never take short cuts.

How do you “own safety” on the job?

Lead by example. Hold each other accountable. One thing I’ve been working on is getting our team to talk about the risks that come with each task. It’s easy to tell someone to do a task, but if you take five minutes and talk about possible hazards, you could reduce injuries or save a life.

How would you describe McKinstry’s safety culture?

McKinstry’s safety culture, in my opinion, is stronger than that of any other contractor around. McKinstry encourages everyone to stand up and speak up when it comes to safety.

What do you feel is the best way to encourage safety awareness?

Communication! Communication is key to creating a safe work environment. You also need to gain buy-in from everyone. If you don’t, you’re at risk.

What do you do when you’re not working/ what’s one thing about you that would surprise other people?

We try to spend as much time as we can camping at Lake Chelan. If not there, I’m at home working around the property.

The SER program is a way for employees to be recognized for safety contributions to McKinstry’s overall safety goals. Employees can be recognized for acts big and small that embody the four tenets of our safety program or for personal contributions toward the attainment of our safety goals.

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