While working as Organizational Development & Safety Director for a multinational company, Steve saw how poor ergonomics led to bad outcomes for people and for companies. He observed how most companies respond to ergonomic illnesses: they hire consultants to evaluate specific incidents and suggest corrective measures, but they rarely consider the point of origin. In other words, companies tend to focus on symptoms rather than causes—thus poor ergonomics continue to harm people’s wellbeing.
Year after year, poor ergonomics cause nearly one-third of all non-fatal workplace disabilities across all industries in the US*. People continue to suffer—despite ergonomics illnesses being 100% preventable!—and companies continue to pay the high price in lost productivity, lower morale, and higher insurance premiums.
Steve had a better idea.
His background in Quality Systems Management and Lean principles told him that integrating good ergonomics across a company’s systems and culture would not only help prevent ergonomics illnesses—it would increase efficiency across the entire organization. Both people and companies would prosper.* - Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index
In 2000, Steve founded Ergonauts Performance Technology to realize his idea.
More than just seizing a commercial opportunity, he founded Ergonauts to improve the quality of life for millions of people by helping companies solve a costly business problem by putting human wellbeing first. Moreover, Steve wanted to create a company that embodies what he learned growing up working alongside his family on their Kentucky farm—that not only is there dignity in all legitimate work, but that the nature of work is fun.
He built Ergonauts on three imperatives that blend his personal values and his professional passion: Honor their humanity. The nature of work is fun. Always be learning, teaching, and improving.
A prolific relationship-builder and pioneer in Lean Ergonomics, Steve recruited some of the best minds from an array of ergonomics specialties and related disciplines, and they applied Lean principles to create a systems-based approach to ergonomics that’s defining the field.
Shortly after its inception, Ergonauts began working with the University of Kentucky College of Engineering and Toyota’s True Lean™ Systems Program as an education provider. Steve co-developed the curriculum and leads the Certification in Lean Ergonomics course, helping participants master Lean Ergonomics principles and embed them in their companies across industries and geographies.