Community//

Adam Lee Bates: “Strive to be better today than you were yesterday & plan to be better tomorrow than you were today”

One of the most basic elements of change in an organization is to continue to practice leadership. Leaders need to be able to inspire their teams and organization to continue to push forward. Be better today than you were yesterday, plan to be better tomorrow than you were today. Lead by example and show humility […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

One of the most basic elements of change in an organization is to continue to practice leadership. Leaders need to be able to inspire their teams and organization to continue to push forward. Be better today than you were yesterday, plan to be better tomorrow than you were today. Lead by example and show humility along the way. There needs to be a sense of empathy and integrity personally and professionally. Leaders need to balance results beyond the numbers or beyond a policy.

While values are great to have written down on a corporate document, they must be actionable. It’s surprising to see how many people within organizations do not understand their WHY. As a leader, listen and engage your team to understand their WHY. You will gain trust and empathy through this process.


As a part of my series about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Lee Bates.

Adam is a Senior Executive with 17+ Years experience as a results-oriented Environmental, Health, Safety, Security, Sustainability & Risk Management Leader. Adam currently serves as Managing Director at A&C Enterprise Solutions LLC.

A&C Enterprise Solutions is a global solutions-based organization focused on delivering for their clients in the areas of Environmental, Health, Safety, Security, Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). As a global solution-based organization, they put the values and needs of the clients as their top priority. The A&C Enterprise Solutions Team aims to be the next generation of world-class solutions focused on delivering the WHY for your organization in an ever changing business environment.

He has Significant experience leading global change and implementing new processes for large scale clients. Broadly focused on continuous improvement to drive dramatic improvements in key environmental, health, safety, sustainability and risk management key elements. Adam is a very data-driven hands-on business leader with deep expertise in global issues and operations who applies a ‘big picture’ outlook to ensure a holistic approach.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Mycareer path is a bit unique. When I was younger just starting college, my main career path was to be a cardiologist. About halfway through my school, I decided to change to general business. At that point in my school, I was not aware of what an Environmental, Health and Safety Profession could be. I attended The University of Findlay and graduated with my undergraduate degree in business, but I knew I wanted to keep continuing to go to school. I feel I am a lifelong student. I met with a professor at the University of Findlay (Dr. Murphy) and knew from that moment this career field was what I was meant to do for a living. It allows me to work with and help people. People are what drives me to make a difference. To me, it’s about making a shift from Numbers to Names. In the Environmental, Health and Safety Profession, there are families behind what drives me to be better every day. The unique aspects of my career are that I also get to have an entrepreneurial spirit from the business aspect. While good leaders have a strong understanding of the profession, it’s the great leaders that have been able to fully integrate the profession into a business. This to me is creating a legacy for generations to come.

It is frustrating sometimes that my career path even exist. When I look at what I do, at a very high level it’s to keep people safe. My job exist because people are getting hurt, thus demonstrating the need for my profession.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

At A&C Enterprise Solutions, we have a laser focus on delivering the needs of our customers. Because of this focus, we are constantly pushing the envelope forward with a leadership perspective. Our continued drive allows us to adapt at a very agile level for clients all over the world. Over my career, I have had the privilege to work in many countries all over the world, meet thousands of people in many different cultures. At A&C Enterprise Solutions, we get to expand on this impact in a time the world needs more empathy & humility. I can say at this point in my personal career, the pure opportunity to represent Authority Magazine is an extreme privilege. I cannot overstate the feeling I have to be sitting here today with the opportunity to represent Authority Magazine alongside all the other phenomenal professionals that have been featured in the magazine as well.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

There are two larger projects that we are working on globally to support our clients in making a shift forward on their journey’s. One project is a global Active Shooter/Situational Awareness Program. This program has many layers to ensure we are continuing to integrate this program into the organization’s needs in the future. This project is a significant investment for the organization for their people. The organization understands the society we live in today and has a vision for continually improving for their people.

The next significant project is an incident claim lifecycle as part of an overall Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) System. The organization came to us with an understanding that they needed help in an overall strategic plan and vision to manage their risk(s). The ERM approach is critically important as we sit today with all the uncertainty around COVID 19. The ERM will help outline the overall impacts to the organization. As part of the ERM there is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) pillar that ensures the organization has as plan to prepare for disasters at a local or global level. And Yes; a COVID 19 Pandemic is included as part of the plan.

Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?

I feel that it would be closer to 3 in 4 not being happy in the US Workforce. To me it’s that high due to several reasons around empathy and trust. To many people are put in leadership roles with only the ability to manage with an agenda. What I mean by this is managers in leadership roles are not able to see their valued asset of their people. They see them as headcount and only as a number. To me it’s about names, not numbers. People in these roles only know how to manage a function and not lead people. This is a totally different mindset and this is impacting organizations at the highest level. I have personally experienced this feeling multiple times and am speaking to it from experiences, but these same experiences have shaped me who I am today as a leader.

Making an organizational character shift takes commitment and trust for and from your team. This does not happen in a once a week meeting over the phone. You need to take time and energy to make this happen. Going through a situation that you have a terrible manager will teach you a lot about yourself personally. Taking these circumstances and learning how to move forward is critical to ensure you can transfer the negative effects of these situations into professional development as a core leader.

Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?

Many organizations view their employees a number. I feel society today with the COVID-19 Pandemic separates the companies that have character over culture. Is it the dollar over people, do you look at profit first? Values posted on a wall or talked about by senior leadership will say different things each day, but reality is that the values most organizations enlist throughout the workforce is much different. It is very frustrating to see people put in leadership roles that impact their employees’ lives in a negative way.

My profession is and has been built on a mentality of humility and empathy. These values are truly at the core of all EHS Professionals. Just as safety will impact the quality of a company, it also impacts the productivity of that same company and their people. I can promise that if you have an unhappy workforce, it will impact all elements of your business. When an organization understands the WHY which is foundationally built by its employees as heartbeats, not numbers; there will be a much higher seismic shift within the success rate. So yes, it does impact productivity, profitability, and wellbeing.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?

There are several things leaders can do to improve their company culture. For me, I look at organizations and how they go beyond the culture discussion. Each day millions of us wake up and go into our office of employment and that is a phrase I use loosely as each of you have a different term for what you call your office. Your office may be defined as a construction site, corporate building or oil field; all equally important within context of what I will highlight in this discussion. What happens when the day comes where the values of your employer start to impact your personal values? What do you do?

The perspective I am going to overview is not intended to be another organizational catch phrase, but rather a new perspective on value(s) with what I’ve learned in my career. In society today there is a lot of work and thought development around the term “culture”, but I would like to take it further organizational character. Culture is used in organizations because it is a common nomenclature. All organizations have a culture, good or bad; it does exist. I know I will get many professionals, organizations and long-time culture advocates to disagree with me, but it’s truly Character over Culture. It’s simple to me; 1. Give your time and energy to your team 2. Be empathetic and show humility to not only them but their families 3. Listen more than you talk 4. Give honest guidance on what will help the team improve each day (at all levels) and 5. Lead by example, you will always get the level you are willing to demonstrate.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?

One of the most basic elements of change in an organization is to continue to practice leadership. Leaders need to be able to inspire their teams and organization to continue to push forward. Be better today than you were yesterday, plan to be better tomorrow than you were today. Lead by example and show humility along the way. There needs to be a sense of empathy and integrity personally and professionally. Leaders need to balance results beyond the numbers or beyond a policy.

While values are great to have written down on a corporate document, they must be actionable. It’s surprising to see how many people within organizations do not understand their WHY. As a leader, listen and engage your team to understand their WHY. You will gain trust and empathy through this process.

How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?

As Managing Director at A&C Enterprise Solutions, we are built on the values of Empathy, Humility, Integrity and Passion. These values were chosen as our core values because they are actionable values that I expect to come through in every aspect of our business. This is not just on how we treat our customers, but also our employees as well through the details of our work. I feel number one is to listen. Many of us have the quick jump to always insert words/or input. Try not speaking and just listen. Absorb what and why something is being said. It helps give an understanding of what true actions are needed. I was taught early in my career you will always learn a lot more by just listening. Be that sponge and just listen.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Over my career, there are several leaders that have had a significant impact on me personally and professionally. All these individuals have impacted me in different ways. From the start of my career, Mike Gregory took a chance on me coming out of college and gave me my start in the EHS Profession. Now he is at Ohio State University Hospital leading the COVID-19 Pandemic Response as their Director of Emergency Management. F

Kevin Trares at Midway Products Group helped me gain a more well-rounded corporate understanding of the business. He showed me how empathy and humility can positively impact my career.

Steve Galle showed me what it meant to be a leader from a servant leadership aspect. He always told me you will get the level you demonstrate and lead by this value.

Phil Kortokrax believed in my vision for what world class truly can be in a global organization. He gave me an opportunity to grow personally under his guidance as a top-level executive.

There are many other leaders that I owe a lot to, some I have not personally met. Many of these people have influenced me unknowingly. Some of these influencers are global leaders that hopefully one day I will have the ability to meet in person (Thank You Simon Sinek).

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

This is a question that is at the core of my profession for me every day. I feel what I do is for people, Environmental, Health and Safety is for people. With all we have going on in the world today, health and safety is for people. I feel there is no greater feeling than being part of what gets to help send people home to their families. I feel our world has and will be changed for generations with what has been occurring with the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s going to be the small things that we took for granted. The fast forward for me at A&C Enterprise Solutions is the hope that I get to be part of helping organizations move forward with their WHY. I don’t work for the numbers; I work and have built A&C Enterprise Solutions to be part of making the world better for the names (families). This question is what drives me every. I always feel like I’m not doing enough and want to do more within my career to be the best and leave a long legacy for who’s next in the profession.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Empathy and Humility are at the core of who I am. As I said earlier, these values I feel are what my profession is built on. My biggest life lesson came from my father, he taught me my values and how to live them each day within my profession as well with my family. It’s personal to me; my profession is not built on numbers but rather names. It’s not a quote, but rather a way of life; he always used to say, “Be Kind”. Each day I hope I am making him proud as he looks down upon my family and I.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

In a world that we live in today with all the suffering and chaos around COVID 19, I believe the pandemic has highlighted the good in people. For me, my career goals align with what I want my legacy to be for many generations. Generationally inspiration can inspire a global movement. I believe the greatest thought provoker of this vision is Simon Sinek. This is critically important to me because Simon is inspiring a movement that is helping the world and organizations of the world find their WHY.

My WHY of my career is my family and the families of everyone that my work can impact. I hope that as we move forward over the next several months organizations will be able to reflect on the WHY and truly implement lessons learned proactively because there is no greater asset an organization has than its people. It’s people over profit. Give time and energy, I promise it will help make the world a better place.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Bob Weiler of Brimstone Consulting: “Create a vision”

by Charlie Katz
Community//

Lessons In Leadership: One On One With Rear Admiral Marc Purcell

by Adam Mendler
Community//

Tips From The Top: One On One With Pam Maynard

by Adam Mendler
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.