Retiring Director of Environmental Safety and Health Chris Bardin said working at Layton has been a great experience.” He’s looking forward to “spending most of my time with my bride of 38 years” Jill (below) and scheduling time around the lives of their grandchildren.

 

After 17 years, Chris Bardin retires as Layton’s Safety Director

Chris Bardin easily summed up his 17 years at Layton.

“This company has been a blessing in our lives and the lives of so many people.”

“Jill and I have never had a bucket list, but we’ve always had a blessings bucket. And it was always overflowing as God blessed us through this company.”

The feeling is certainly mutual.

“We’ll never know the full impact of what Chris achieved, because we can’t measure the incidents that didn’t happen because of his influence,” said Layton President and CEO Dave Layton, as he spoke at Chris’s retirement celebration on June 27.

On behalf of the company and his brother, former CEO Alan S. Layton, Dave praised Chris for elevating Layton’s safety standards and culture.

Chris credits Dave with supporting and pushing for safety as Layton’s top priority. One example was allowing Chris to join a peer group of safety leaders from 25 of the top general contractors in the nation to help better understand best practices for elevating its safety practices. “It was a game changer,” Chris said of the exchange of ideas with other safety officers, and added: “Most of top competitors couldn’t believe the support we had from the Layton company leadership. Some of them are still a little envious.”

After all those years as Director of Environmental Safety and Health, Chris says Layton is embedded in his DNA. “All of the projects are great – when they’re finished. But I don’t really remember the projects. It’s the people and the relationships that stay with you.”

“It is really fun to see how much he enjoys people and how much he cares about the kids,” said Heather Densley, Layton Safety Administrative Specialist, of Chris Bardin’s personal visits to the young artists whose artwork is featured in Layton’s annual Safety Calendar.

“The families in this company that have allowed me to get to know their families, I just cherish that,” Chris said.

“The yearly Safety Calendars allowed me to go into a lot of homes and meet the kids. Then those same kids would come through at Halloween and remember me. Then in subsequent years, they would come back and remember me because I always encouraged them to take two fistfuls of candy.”

“It is really fun to see how much he enjoys people and how much he cares about the kids,” said Heather Densley, Layton Safety Administrative Specialist, of Chris Bardin’s personal visits to the young artists whose artwork is featured in Layton’s annual Safety Calendar.

Safety Administrative Specialist Heather Densley echoed Chris’s statements about the Safety Calendars. “One of my favorite times of year is when the Safety Calendar comes out, because Chris likes to notify and deliver the prizes to the top three winners. It is really fun to see how much he enjoys people and how much he cares about the kids. He asks them all sorts of questions, what they are doing in school, what they like to do, why they drew the picture they did and how things like being safe everywhere is important.”

“Last year when we delivered the prizes, there were some siblings, and at least one neighbor friend. When it was time to take the picture, Chris was surrounded by children, and he was smiling and laughing. It was a lot of fun to see that,” Heather said.

Chris reminisced about a trip he made early on, with Dave Layton and his father and company founder, Alan W. Layton. “It’s always been a favorite memory of mine, just watching father-son, new CEO-past CEO discussions. Plus, it was my first time on a corporate jet.”

Dave Layton poses with Chris and Jill Bardin at Chris’s retirement celebration on June 27. Dave thanked Chris for elevating Layton’s safety processes and culture.

Dave Layton poses with Chris and Jill Bardin at Chris’s retirement celebration on June 27. Dave thanked Chris for elevating Layton’s safety processes and culture.

Chris also spoke about getting to know Dave and Julie Layton. “Dave and Julie extended an invitation to Jill and me to go to a grand opening of a hospital in Texas. It was fun just getting to know them on a personal level. We had some great laughs.”

“I don’t know if it was a blessing, but I appreciate Paige Pryor getting me to join the running team for Ragnar one year. When you spend 24 hours in a van with someone, you get to know them. I enjoyed that weekend for sure. I also won’t ever do it again.”

Any ongoing concerns for safety in construction?

“Owners always seem to want more done with fewer people,” Chris said. Even though Layton and other companies continue to deliver on virtually impossible deadlines, Chris says someday that may implode if owners don’t realize the importance of having enough time and enough people to do the job safely.

It’s also critical to realize the impact of compressed schedules on the lives of the men and women in the field. “When their ‘give-a-damn’ meter gets turned down pretty low it doesn’t matter what our processes are,” Chris said, stressing the importance of work-life balance. He says Layton does a good job with its own employees, but the industry as a whole still has a long way to go.

For those and other challenges, Chris says Layton is in good hands going forward. “The addition of Van (Vice President of Environmental Safety and Health Hendrik van Brenk) is incredible. Van’s a powerhouse and he’s going to take us to the top.”