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It’s often said that life is a marathon, not a sprint. A stumble out of the gate, at the mid-way point, or even near the finish line, is not what settles the race. What matters is perseverance, dedication, and overcoming adversity. Life is about running well, not about running fast.
As a former nationally-ranked 110-meter hurdler, S.A.F.E. Structure Designs founder and CEO Johnny Buscema knows a great deal about races. He also knows about perseverance, both as an athlete and as an executive in a company driven to be the best of its kind.
When his track and field career ended after a fluke accident in 2000, Buscema took his competitive fire and channeled it into the business world, where he quickly found success as an entrepreneur.
“Through life experiences I have grown to have an appreciation for the journey and not just the destination,” he said. “As I look forward and strive towards the goal, I let go of what’s behind me. You can’t hold on to what’s behind you with one hand and expect to grab on to what’s ahead of you with both hands. By accepting these challenges and exercising perseverance, we learn that we must let it go before we can move on.”
S.A.F.E. Structure Designs is Buscema’s latest venture, a company committed to producing safety-first, customizable, lean equipment that not only exceeds expectations for quality, service, and production delivery time, but is also ergonomically sound.
The company makes custom aircraft maintenance stands, fall protection platforms, access platforms, hangar equipment and specialty tooling, and has quickly gathered an impressive list of clients.
The United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy both use S.A.F.E. products, and last year the company was awarded a contract to redesign and supply the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater, Florida, with new and improved ergonomic hangar equipment–cowlings racks, blade racks and work tables — for the MH-60 Jayhawk.
Every time S.A.F.E. works with a customer, it takes them through an extensive design process that allows S.A.F.E. to create a solution-driven custom product that meets the client’s exact specifications. The company believes this sets it apart from the competition because S.A.F.E. is committed to providing its customers the highest-quality, custom made products.
S.A.F.E. is an acronym for Safety-first Access Fall protection Equipment, and the company serves both the helicopter and fixed-wing markets, as well as the marine, railroad, heavy equipment and industrial sectors.
With a focus on producing quality products and delivering them quickly to customers, S.A.F.E. Structure Designs has strategically diversified its production shops throughout the United States. That diversification allows the company to move production closer to individual clients, improves quality control and reduces both delivery time and delivery costs.
Buscema is able to manage the flow and workload of each production shop, and all of S.A.F.E. Structure Designs’ manufacturing occurs in the United States.
“The whole trick to this model is quality control, a combination of the right set of eyes [and] utilizing the right technology,” said Buscema.
Buscema is also working to grow the company organically around a business model that ensures it can be run independently. “It makes the company more efficient,” he said. “The company will grow and survive with or without me because of the way I’m setting it up. You pull me out of the equation, and my team can still perform.”
Another key to S.A.F.E. Structure Designs’ success has been its lean manufacturing model, which has impressed clients and created new opportunities for the company.
“It opened up the world with our value added process of designing, engineering and manufacturing,” said Buscema. “Civilian, military and government customers rely on us in other sectors outside of aviation. Recently we were awarded a contract to build ship brows for the Navy and channel markers for the U.S. Coast Guard.
“My vision for the future of the company is to provide our customers with value added quality ergonomic products that benefit our customers by providing a safer and more efficient working environment,” he said.
“I am not motivated and focused on cutting corners to increase the bottom line. The driving factors for me are to build relationships with customers centered on their appreciation for our attention to detail and satisfaction and to creating a workplace where my team loves what they do. That love inevitably radiates out to their familiesin a positive way, and our company becomes the source of everyone’s light. My team is the foundation of our success.”
Adversity in life led Buscema to embrace faith in Christ, and faith is part of what has helped him persevere. As S.A.F.E. Structure Designs continues to strive for excellence and soar to the top of the industry with the highest-quality products, the company is building a business based on strong values.
Honor, integrity, and faith are at the core of the company’s approach to business, and Buscema is grateful for the opportunity to promote those values in the workplace. He has learned a great deal about races over the years, and a great deal about perseverance.
“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” he said. “The lessons I have obtained along the way of my journey have given me wisdom in areas of life that I can use to benefit those around me.”
If you would like to see your company featured in Insight, contact Derek Kast at [email protected].