Though SafetyCulture is headquartered 9,000 miles away, its new North American hub in Kansas City is being intentional about driving positive local change — particularly in education, said Ross Reed.
“We really want to get into the community to make an impact,” said Reed, SafetyCulture’s North American president. “We’re going to continue to get out into the schools with STEM initiatives and education. Because, ultimately, we can continue to relocate people here but to keep the momentum, we need more people in tech that have STEM education. There are a lot of good people here doing that.”
That community-first approach is an important part of the Townsville, Australia-based tech firm’s first steps to settle into its Kansas City home after relocating from Silicon Valley, Reed said.
SafetyCulture created a variety of mobile tools to help companies digitize safety processes, checks and inspections, as well as improve communication and collect better data. Construction, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and logistics firms are among the industries that SafetyCulture serves. SafetyCulture is used by thousands of organizations in 150 countries, Reed said.
The tech tools aim to curb the roughly 5,700 workplace injuries that occur each day on average across the world, Reed said. It also can help with workplace improvements, he added.
“It could be as general as a simple site inspection, where you go through a checklist ‘Are people wearing hard hats? Are people wearing harnesses? Are there sharp objects covered?” Reed said. “It’s not only for safety but quality, too. Why did it take the worker 12 minutes to turn over a room in one city and 30 minutes in another city? You can benchmark that data to see who’s working efficiently and in a smart fashion.”
Directly engaging with the community is also a significant part of the firm’s large hiring effort currently underway, Reed said.
After relocating its North American office from San Francisco to Kansas City in 2017, the company plans to quadruple its staff from 15 to 60 people, he added. The company operates in Plexpod Westport Commons, where it recently rented more space at the massive coworking facility.
Kansas City and the broader region provide not only a deep pool of committed tech talent but also a culture that values innovation and creativity, Reed said.
“A lot of people think that there’s a monopoly on good ideas out of San Francisco,” Reed said. “San Francisco has some challenges right now with recruiting the right people with the right core values that fit what we want to do with our company. After a year, we just weren’t feeling the energy in San Francisco. … Kansas City has great values, it’s a great place to raise a family and that’s important.”
SafetyCulture now has 165 employees around the world with offices in Townsville, Manchester, Sydney and Kansas City. The company is looking to hire marketers, customer support employees and account executives.