Daniel McElhaney worked a variety of jobs before gravitating to construction and now is a Haskell Regional Safety Supervisor.

November 11, 2022

‘Safety Dan’ Values His Army Service and Role in Desert Storm

'We were taught in the military how to accept everybody for who they are and learn how to talk to people. Haskell embodies that,' he says.


Most folks know him as “Safety Dan.” It’s a moniker that fits Daniel McElhaney’s personality and position as a Regional Safety Supervisor, in which he travels the country auditing safety conditions on Haskell projects.

“Every day I come to work, I think safety,” said McElhaney, a Denver-area resident based out of the company’s Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters. “Our job is to find and identify hazards at job sites so that no one gets hurt badly or killed. I know I can find something at a job site that could hurt somebody. Every day I’m proud to strive for a low incident level and the ultimate, zero incidents. Every job is different, so that keeps me hopping.”

McElhaney, 53, grew up in California and Colorado and spent four years in the Army, serving in Desert Storm. He was discharged as a sergeant and said his time in the service prepared him for his career.

“We fought the bad guys and came home,” McElhaney said. “I was in air defense there. It was an honor to go over there and fight for our country. My military career taught me so much about structure and how to lead a team.”

Following his military service, McElhaney worked a variety of jobs. He drove an armored truck and then a semi. He bartended in Las Vegas for six years. He became certified as a nurse’s assistant. Eventually, a role as a millwright led to the ability to read construction documents and an understanding of the importance of site safety. He has been a construction safety professional since 2006 and a Haskell team member since 2021.

“In all of these jobs, particularly bartending, I dealt with a large variety of people from CEOs to people coming off the street simply looking for a glass of water,” McElhaney said. “Different people, but they all deserve the same level of respect.”

McElhaney’s routine is usually a jobsite visit that lasts most of a week. During an October trip to a food manufacturing project in Topeka, Kansas, he met with the on-site safety team and conducted a safety audit, during which he discovered a barricade lacking the proper specifications, made sure cranes and rigging were in order and looked three weeks ahead with the team on upcoming tasks. He then reviewed his report with on-site leadership.

“At Haskell, everybody is the same,” McElhaney said. “Different ethnicities, different people. We were taught in the military how to accept everybody for who they are and learn how to talk to people. Haskell embodies that by being acceptant of who you are. Leading by example is another big takeaway from the military to working here.”

McElhaney said the variety of evaluating a range of job sites kept him engaged, and he has enjoyed his safety career to the extent that he is pursuing a degree at Columbia Southern University in Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene.

“I can come off pretty boisterous,” McElhaney said. “But Haskell accepted me for the interview and who I was. I believe the more veterans you hire, the certain pressures that military guys have taken in during wartime is a positive. It’s great for the company. We’re used to handling just about anything.”

Honoring Our Veterans

Haskell proudly employs veterans of the United States Armed Forces and currently employs more than 100 team members who previously served our country. To commemorate Veterans Day, Haskell.com this week is spotlighting one of them daily. Additionally, Haskell annually presents each veteran on our team with a special thank you gift.

As Haskell grows rapidly across the United States, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region to meet the needs of new and existing clients, veterans continue to play an ever-increasing role. Those who have served our nation understand mission, structure, results and accountability. They are a perfect fit with Haskell’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact us to learn more.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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