More than two dozen counties and four outstanding individuals were recognized with TAC Risk Management Pool (TAC RMP) Awards for promoting safe workplaces and reducing risk in their operations.
Making a Difference Award
The Making a Difference Award is earned by an individual who exhibits strong leadership in promoting risk control efforts within the workplace and is not limited to safety activities. Candidates for the award dedicate themselves to the mission of risk control, show creativity and lead others to risk management success within their organization. The Making a Difference Award is open to any employee of a member county whose actions truly deserve high praise. Elected and appointed officials are also eligible.
Southeast Region: Ryan Garza
Bee County deputy emergency management coordinator
Before Garza's arrival, each Bee County department conducted its own training. Garza developed standardized training topics with key points for all departments to use. He monitors and reviews the training and created the Annual Refresher Training Program, where one day out of the year, the entire county is trained on topics such as fire extinguisher usage, hazardous materials and general safety habits in the workplace.
In 2019, he initiated and implemented a Stop the Bleed campaign and instructed 95% of county staff members in the course. The program teaches county workers how to apply bandages and tourniquets in the event of serious injury and until the arrival of emergency medical services. He also sourced and purchased Stop the Bleed kits for every county department and vehicle. He purchased in bulk and assembled the kits himself, saving the county $2,500. He also instructs Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training for county employees. Ryan’s forward, out-of-the-box thinking has elevated Bee County's safety program for all county employees.
Southwest Region: Juanita Barrera
Val Verde County human resources director
Barrera is an associate of the International Public Management Association with over 30 years of experience in human resources. She has developed a daylong orientation for new employees that includes HR benefits information, safety videos, customer service training and introductions with department heads and elected officials. In addition to her HR duties, she also handles workers' compensation and the county wellness program, including Airrosti, flu shots and health screenings. Her efforts have netted 471 training hours for Val Verde County employees. For the last two years, she has managed the TAC Risk Management Pool's Employee Safety Equipment Program for the county, ordering and distributing all the equipment and ensuring that it is used properly. In 2019 she implemented "Popcorn Friday" to promote openness so employees will feel free to report HR, risk and wellness needs. In her spare time she has coordinated the county's role in the new U.S. Department of Transportation Clearinghouse. While performing her duties, she still finds time to attend commissioners court meetings and keep the court informed on HR and risk management issues affecting the county. Barrera is a great representative for TAC's Making a Difference Award.
Northeast Region: Tom Watt
Grayson County sheriff
Watt is the former chief of police in Sherman, and he has been in law enforcement his entire adult life. He served on the Sherman force for 31 years, the last eight as the chief. Elected as sheriff in 2016, he worked with the retiring sheriff to become acclimated with county operations before he was sworn in. Watt immediately implemented weekly policy review meetings to ensure all the agency's policies and procedures were correct, up to date and followed. With his extensive law enforcement and administrative background, he recognized the importance of a collaborative approach to operating successfully and within budget. His agency and staff maintain a positive working relationship with the news media, the community, other elected officials, department heads and employees. Watt proactively works with TAC Risk Management Services when starting new programs by inquiring about coverage and liability implications. Driver safety claims were addressed with trainings, awareness and the utilization of the TAC RMP driving simulators in 2019. Safety, training and fit for duty are extremely important to the Sheriff’s Office, and that emphasis has resulted in fewer claims in workers’ compensation and in zero paid law-enforcement-liability claims. Watt and his team in Grayson County are truly making a difference, and we appreciate everything they do to keep all of us safe and protected.
Northwest Region: Carol Williams
Garza County judge's assistant
Garza County has always had a strong safety culture and excellent safety record. What it didn’t have was someone to lead the effort and take the program to the next level. This year the difference was Williams, who worked tirelessly to establish a formal Accident Prevention Plan and safety committee. She made sure the safety program was discussed and approved in the commissioners court, and because of her commitment, the county has a workers' compensation loss ratio of 11% for 2019. The county’s Automobile and Public Officials liability coverages have not had a claim or loss in three years. One of the major projects currently underway is a fire escape ladder to be mounted to the exterior of the Garza County Courthouse. Another new initiative is the use of a vehicle accident form that provides detailed instructions to employees on what to do in the event of a crash. The form, packaged with a pen, is placed inside the glove box of all county vehicles. Williams also helps to coordinate the county’s employee and safety committee training. With her enthusiasm and tireless work, she is definitely making a difference in Garza County.
Safety Achievement Award
Excellence in Safety Award
Jim Wells County
Val Verde County